“Come soon and meet us!” says Manjumatha. Madhumitha adds, “We would be happy!” Madhumitha is a 12-year-old girl at the Melpattambakkam boarding school in India who dreams of one day becoming a doctor. Less than an hour away, Manjumatha is a seven-year-old girl at the Siloam boarding school. She doesn’t know what she wants to be yet, but loves to draw and play with all her other “sisters” at Siloam.
Madhumitha and Manjumatha don’t know each other, but they share an important person in their life, Barbara Tickner, the sponsor whose gifts help them attend school. Without the financial support that Barbara provides, these two girls would likely have to walk quite a distance to a village school, or perhaps wouldn’t be able to attend school at all.
They were delighted when Barbara visited them last February, so they could express their appreciation and love. Meeting Barbara and giving her a hug made Madhumitha “feel very happy, giving [her] energy to continue through the school year.” Manjumatha loved meeting “Mumsie”, as the girls started referring to Barbara, and now affectionately call her.
Loving relationships like the ones between these girls and Barbara transform the boundaries between sponsor and student. It’s a human- to-human connection that we see Jesus making with so many people throughout the gospels, despite the cultural or religious boundaries that are meant to keep them separate.
The Effect of Sponsorship
Studies have found that sponsored students:
- Are 12-18% more likely to finish secondary school;
- Are more than 6% more likely to find middle-class jobs;
- And make more than 17% higher incomes than their peers who aren’t sponsored.
This is explained, in part, by the increased self-esteem, optimism and aspirations that come from dreaming about their future.
Source: Wydick, B., Glewwe, P., & Rutledge, L. (2017). Does Child Sponsorship Pay Off in Adulthood? An International Study of Impacts on Income and Wealth. The World Bank Economic Review, 434-458.