4 Ways Poverty Harms Children

When you sponsor a child for $32 a month, you may wonder if that really makes a difference. Does your monthly gift really change anything?

The answer is yes! Your gift joins other efforts to save children both physically and spiritually.

Children in our sponsorship programs come from situations of severe poverty. What does that mean? It's hard to grasp the reality: poverty kills over 20,000 children each day. They die of water borne diseases, lack of sanitation, malnutrition, AIDS, and violence. Poverty strikes innocent children with a deadly impact.

An important part of the International Needs child sponsorship program is the commitment to address the issue of poverty while sharing the love of Jesus Christ with your child. We aren't able to do this alone, and it continues to amaze us how God uses many hands to work in the lives of these chidren.

1. Water-borne Diseases: Clean Water Saves Lives

In 2008, the Aquascape Foundation was formed and in 2009 they partners for the first time with International Needs to install a 10,000 gallon rain xchange rainwater harvesting system in Ghana (West Africa). In a matter of 8 months, the foundation formed a team, raised the funds, and got on a plane to Ghana. Now the village of Kuve/Agave has a reliable supply of safe, clean water.

The Aquascape Foundation went on to do similar projects in Colombia (South America) and Uganda (East Africa). Thousands of people now have access to water that will not make them sick. Praise the Lord! The Aquascape Foundation continues its partnership to bring safe water to villages with International Needs schools. Read more about the Aquascape Foundation story of bringing water to communtiies around the world.


2. Malnutrition: Nutritious Food Builds Healthy Bodies

Severe hunger and malnutrition is something you cannot understand until you've experienced it. Children who live in poverty may have access to simple meals at home, but these meals are usually made up of low nutrient foods like rice and cornmeal because that's all the family can afford. Protein and nutrients vital for a growing body are missing from the impoverished child's diet.

International Needs schools include a daily hot meal for each child. The meal includes a healthy balance of protein and nutrients. Children who enter the sponsorship program often have noticeable signs of malnutrition such as large patches of hair missing from their heads. Six months and many healthy meals later, the child's full head of hair and growing body are victorious reminders of what good nutrition can do!


3. Medical Care: Protects and Heals

Imagine this: because you were born in a rural area to an impoverished family, you have never been to a doctor. If there was a doctor in your area, you could not afford a visit even if your life depended on it. There is no credit. There is no health insurance. There are no choices.

This is a reality for many of the children who enter our sponsorship program. They have never been to see a doctor. They haven't been immunized and are at risk for diseases we no longer have to worry about in the United States. Even something as "common" as an ear infection can be deadly when you don't have access to life-saving things like antiboitics.

International Needs sponsorship programs provide a basic level of medical care that saves children's lives. When there is a special need for surgery or treatment, International Needs walks alongside the family and helps them to access the care they need. The message to each child and family is this: you are not alone!


4. No Choice: Having Choice Provides Dignity

Children living in poverty don't have choices. If there is food, they eat. If there isn't, they don't eat. "What do you want to be when you grow up?" doesn't make much sense - they don't see a choice in the matter. They want to live and they don't want to die.

International Needs sponsorships are designed to break the cycle of "no choice" through education. Having a sponsor gives the child an education which will help them to get a good job as an adult. Being able to read, write, and problem-solve opens up a world of choice and hope.

There is an inherent dignity in having "choice." An important choice each child has the opportunity to make is whether to follow Jesus Christ. There is a Haiatian proverb that says "an empty stomach has no ears." Our passionate commitment to provide for the physical needs of the child is vital in getting them to hear the message of gospel. If the throat is thirsty, the body is sick, or the stomach is empty, we are ready to serve. And we are ready to serve because Jesus loves us and wants us to share His love with these children.

Yes, your sponsorship makes a difference. Your sponsorship allows a child to have ears to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.