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What Happens When a Child Isn’t Sponsored?
Posted By Amber Van Schooneveld On May 20, 2013 @ 12:58 am In Children in Poverty | 17 Comments
A question we sometimes hear from sponsors is,
“What happens to unsponsored children?”
Do they have to wait to receive benefits until a sponsor is found? What if someone stops sponsoring — does that child lose benefits until a new sponsor is found?
The answer to those questions is a resounding “No!”
We have some generous supporters who give to the Unsponsored Children’s Fund .
Through this fund, children begin to receive benefits as soon as they are registered in our sponsorship program. It can take months — and sometimes even over a year — for a child to be sponsored.
Until a sponsor is found, these children receive the same care that sponsored children  receive, including medical care, educational opportunities, nutritious meals, and a chance to learn about God’s love for them.
When someone stops sponsoring, this fund also fills the gap so children can continue to receive support until a new sponsor is found.
For 9-year-old Happy*, this fund helped save her life.
She lived in one of the poorest villages in Togo. Happy’s father had four wives and too many kids to care for. The children were left to fend for themselves. Happy would eat clay for lack of any real food to fill her stomach. When her aunt Dunya came to visit, she found Happy with red hair and a bloated belly from malnutrition and parasites.
Dunya rescued Happy from this situation and took her home with her to the village of Hohotoé, with plans to return for Happy’s sister. But when Dunya returned, Happy’s sister had already died.
Happy’s aunt and uncle did their best to provide for her. But her uncle is an out-of-work driver and her aunt’s business making mats doesn’t earn much, so although Happy’s situation was far better than it was at home, there were still many things they couldn’t provide for Happy.
Several months after she arrived in Hohotoé, Happy was registered at one of our child development centers. When she arrived at the center, she was obviously ill, so the staff ensured that she received the medical treatment she needed for parasites.
She also receives supplementary food through the center to help her overcome malnutrition.
And this year, Happy will start school, something she couldn’t have dreamed of at home in the village.
We have provided her with a school bag, uniforms, notebooks, slates, books and pens.
Happy is still unsponsored, and all this has been provided through the Unsponsored Children’s Fund. She waits with great hope for the day she’ll have a sponsor and will receive personal, loving support through letters.
Tutors at the child development centers know how discouraging it can be for unsponsored children when other kids receive letters and they don’t. So they put extra care into letting these children know that they are special and loved.
The tutors also pray with the children as they wait for sponsors.
They see the huge difference that a loving sponsor makes in the life of a child, and they beseech God to bring sponsors to all of the children still waiting.
But until a sponsor is found, the Unsponsored Children’s Fund  allows vulnerable children like Happy to begin flourishing in God’s love with the support they need.
*Happy’s story courtesy of Bernard Gbaga, Field Communications Specialist.
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