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World Vision Myanmar staff member in white polo shirt
15 May 2024

The impact of Child Sponsorship

A former sponsored child shares how Child Sponsorship shaped his dreams.

Meet Htoo, 28, who lives in a village in southwest Myanmar.  

Htoo is a dedicated World Vision team member, impacting lives in his community. He’s doing vital work that will change the lives of children and their families for years to come. 

Htoo is passionate about his work. Maybe especially so because at one time he was one of these children. Thanks to Child Sponsorship, Htoo has overcome obstacles that would have kept him from completing his education, reducing his ability to break the cycle of poverty and choose a path of his own making.  

Where it all began 

Let's go back to 2004, the year World Vision launched a sponsorship programme in Htoo’s village. 

“I still remember my mother attending meetings with community leaders,” he says, “where World Vision discussed the needs of our village.  

“It was during one of these meetings that I was chosen to be a sponsored child at the age of eight.”  

This marked the beginning of a transformative journey for Htoo, spanning eight years. 

How Child Sponsorship changed Htoo's life

Child Sponsorship brought various benefits to Htoo. He learned about general health, received household essentials like mosquito nets, and had opportunities to attend youth events, taking part in dancing or entering drawing competitions. 

Reflecting on these, Htoo says, “I truly believe that being part of this sponsorship programme made me more sociable and confident.” 

He also hugely values his sponsor. “One memory from my childhood stands out vividly,” he shares. "Receiving a birthday card from my donor with his picture on it. It was a special moment for me, knowing that someone far away cared about me.” 

Smiling World Vision staff member in white polo shirt, sitting on red moped with river and trees in background
Htoo says it’s thanks to World Vision’s support that he could complete his education without worries

Child Sponsorship covered the cost of education 

Htoo lives in a tight-knit family, sharing strong bonds with his elder brother, sister and parents. He attended primary school in his village, middle school in a neighbouring village, then, for high school, he travelled by boat to a town 15 minutes away. 

Although Htoo’s parents worked hard to meet their children’s basic needs, they struggled financially throughout his childhood. If it weren’t for Child Sponsorship, covering the cost of Htoo’s education would have been too big a challenge.  

“Thanks to World Vision’s support, I could complete my education without worries,” says Htoo, who graduated from university in 2021, majoring in history. 

His family were able to focus on providing nutritious meals

Because of his sponsor, Htoo’s parents could focus on putting enough nutritious food on the table, knowing his tuition fees were covered. They also received skills training and financial support for their farming business, which aimed to help the family break the cycle of poverty and hunger.

He started working for World Vision in Myanmar 

Htoo’s childhood dream had been to play football professionally, but Child Sponsorship sparked a new interest in community development work.  

After high school, Htoo began volunteering on various World Vision nutrition projects. Now, he is a proud staff member of World Vision and has a steady income to support his family. 

As a Community Development Facilitator, Htoo’s work focuses on improving nutrition for pregnant and breastfeeding women and children under two. 

“We collaborate with organisations like the World Food Programme to distribute fortified food and educate the community on health and nutrition,” he says. 

Reflecting on the impact World Vision has made on his community, Htoo says, “Both children and adults in my community have gained essential skills and knowledge through World Vision’s initiatives. I've personally witnessed significant improvements in our social and economic situation of my village, with better access to healthcare, education and livelihood opportunities.” 

Htoo’s mission in his home village is clear: to ensure that every child under the age of two receives proper nutrition and develops healthy habits. 

“Despite the progress we've made,” he says, “malnutrition remains a problem in my community, which still faces severe malnutrition... and I'm committed to addressing it.”  

READ MORE: How World Vision combats malnutrition  

World Vision staff member giving community training about nutrition
Htoo is committed to addressing malnutrition in his community

Now, he's inspired to help other children

Htoo has further plans: “I aspire to expand my efforts into livelihood projects, further enhancing the wellbeing of children and their families.” 

He has one final thing to say. “I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to my donor. Though I may not remember his face, his kindness and support will forever hold a special place in my heart. Thank you for believing in me and making a difference in my life.” 

Child Sponsorship can be enough 

World Vision works with families and communities to improve the lives of children living in some of the hardest places. Last year, thanks to UK supporters, we reached over 2.5 million children in 182 projects across 36 countries. Many of these children live in communities impacted by conflict, disaster and climate change – a major driving force of hunger.  

Our ENOUGH campaign seeks to bring an end to child hunger and malnutrition, and you could become a part of this today.  

You could sponsor a child, ensuring they have enough to build a future of their own choice. Enough nutritious food, clean water, an education, and a happy childhood. 

Join other sponsors today and create long-lasting difference in children’s lives. 

Learn more about how Child Sponsorship changes lives