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Frequently Asked Questions

Sponsor a Child

Sponsoring a child is one of the easiest ways to make a difference for children living in poverty. Your monthly contribution will not only help to change the life of your sponsored child, but the well-being of their family and the entire community.

Your generosity will change lives by providing support in education, health, food and nutrition, clean water and sanitation and youth development and vocational skills training.

You will have the opportunity to develop a unique and long-lasting relationship with the child you have sponsored by exchanging letters and pictures over the years and you will receive annual reports on how the child and their local community initiatives are progressing. And if you decide to visit your sponsored child, we will help you plan your trip of a lifetime.

As the future of children is ultimately linked to the situation in their community, ChildFund Australia sponsorship contributions are pooled with funds from other sponsors to help benefit all children and families in the community. This includes enrolled children who are awaiting a sponsor.

Sponsorship contributions help provide education, healthcare, food, safe drinking water, vocational training and income generation skills and child protection services for the child, family and community. The exact blend of program work depends on the needs and context of each individual community, so some or all programs may be active in your sponsored child’s area at any one time.

Active community participation and empowerment is encouraged within ChildFund project areas. Whilst children are at the centre of the locally developed initiatives, the emphasis is on encouraging self-help by providing families and communities with the means to reshape their future.

ChildFund Australia currently offer new child sponsorships in the following countries: Cambodia, Vietnam, The Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia.

When you become a ChildFund supporter, you will receive a sponsorship welcome pack containing:

  • A photo and profile of your sponsored child
  • An outline of your child’s community and the programs being funded through sponsorship
  • A welcome booklet
  • A postcard to share with your sponsored child

Throughout the year, you should receive at least 2 letters from your sponsored child, as well as an annual child progress report with an update on your sponsored child and the ChildFund program’s activities. This will provide you with detailed information about your sponsored child’s development, living circumstances and educational progress. Additional correspondence between you and your sponsored child will also give you an idea of your sponsored child’s hobbies, interests, schoolwork and dreams for the future.

If you would like further information about your sponsored child, please write to the relevant country office and they will answer your questions in as much detail as possible. Contact details for the country office are included inside your child profile. For more specific information about ChildFund programs in your child’s community, please refer to the information inside your child profile.

Yes please. It is not possible to meet the needs of a sponsored child and their community without sponsoring on a regular basis. Most sponsors pay monthly. If you prefer to pay annually or quarterly, please contact Supporter Relations on 1800 023 600.

Child sponsorship provides stable and consistent funding for programs that improve conditions for the children and their families, and the sustainable development of the broader community. We ask all of our sponsors to consider their sponsorship as an ongoing commitment lasting several years, preferably until their child graduates.

We also understand financial circumstances change for sponsors as well, so please contact us immediately if you are struggling to meet your monthly sponsorship payments.

There are several payment methods you can use. If you are able to pay by credit card, this is greatly appreciated as it reduces ChildFund’s administration costs.

To pay by monthly direct debit from your bank, please call Supporter Relations on 1800 023 600 with your account details to hand.

All sponsorship donations over $2 are tax-deductible and GST-free. You will receive an annual contribution summary each July for taxation purposes. Gifts – for birthdays and Christmas – are not tax-deductible.

Yes, many ChildFund Australia sponsors are community groups, businesses, organisations and schools. However, we recommend that your group chooses a contact person to write to your sponsored child as this will prevent any confusion.

Our sponsorship program identifies the children and families most in need of assistance within a sponsorship community based on various criteria including family income, assets, number and age of children and desire to participate. The sponsorship program is completely inclusive, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, disabilities, culture or beliefs.  

ChildFund country offices, staffed with highly qualified local people, regularly evaluate the programs, double check family circumstances and offer guidance and training to local volunteers in the communities. The emphasis is on providing self-help and opportunities to communities, while also nurturing the health and nutrition of children, and developing the skills that will equip them for happy and productive adult lives.

Due to the large number of developing countries in need of assistance, members of the ChildFund network carry out fundraising activities for several different countries, so that collectively we can support as many children in as many regions as possible. Australians can only sponsor children in the countries listed on our website. These countries also reflect our policy of concentrating our efforts in the Asia-Pacific region.  

There are also some countries where, due to an unstable political environment or recent natural disaster, ChildFund cannot implement a child sponsorship program. Instead, assistance is offered through our other regular giving programs (Global Community and Project Humanity), livelihood or micro-finance programs, child centered spaces in displaced persons camps, or emergency aid and assistance.

Most children will graduate from the sponsorship program between the ages of 18 and 24. It is quite common for children to start school later (due to finances or availability of school in their community) so many young people are still finishing high school in their early twenties. Also, many youth remain sponsored while they are completing higher education or are actively involved in the program activities through livelihood and vocational programs, youth leadership and mentoring the younger sponsored children.

Aside from graduating, children may also leave the sponsorship program earlier for other reasons, for example if their family moves away from the community to improve their economic situation, or if their family’s situation improves so significantly they no longer require support.

Your sponsored child’s community may also reach the point where they become self-supporting and no longer require help from ChildFund Australia. This is the ultimate goal for ChildFund and demonstrates that your sponsorship has truly helped to benefit your sponsored child and their entire community.

If there is a change to your sponsored child or their community’s circumstances, we will notify you as soon as possible and hope that you will continue to sponsor another child.

We strongly encourage sponsors to communicate with their sponsored children. It builds friendships, self-esteem and basic literacy for children, and keeps you in touch with their lives and progress.  Please click here for all the information you need to get started.

While social messaging sites can be a great way to keep in touch with your friends and family, they are not always safe environments in which to communicate. For children in particular, the dangers are heightened, as ChildFund is unable to monitor online communications. Social media can leave children vulnerable to the following scenarios:

  • Contact from an individual who claims to be the child’s sponsor, but who is unknown to the organisation and with whom the child has no relationship.
  • Communications, content and images which are inappropriate for a child to read or view, and which may also offend their cultural, religious or ethnic sensibilities.

Ultimately, there are few Australian parents who would allow their own child to have online communication with an adult whose identity they are unable to verify. Ensuring the safety and protection of all children living in the communities where we work is of paramount importance to ChildFund, and unfortunately social media sites pose too many risks to children, which we feel negate the benefit of using them for child-sponsor communications.

Risk for sponsors – Using social networking sites can also leave our supporters vulnerable to criminal or unlawful activities by people acting under an alias. For example, an individual who knows your sponsored child may create a false name using that child’s identity, and attempt to defraud or threaten you as the sponsor of that child.

How to contact your child – To ensure the continued safety of communications between sponsored children and ChildFund supporters, we ask everyone to ensure that their correspondence is sent via the relevant ChildFund country office without exception. This ensures that ChildFund can monitor any communications to ensure that both the sponsor and sponsored child are protected from inappropriate content, abuse and any fraudulent activities.

ChildFund Australia policy – As an organisation, it is impossible for us to guarantee the safety of both parties on social networking sites. As such, ChildFund will take any unauthorised contact very seriously. Where a sponsor initiates any contact with their sponsored child within an online environment, they will be asked to cease this form of communication, and reminded that correspondence must go via our country offices. In cases where the unauthorised communication continues, ChildFund may have to resort to cancelling the sponsorship. In instances where a child or their family initiates contact, we will also remind them of correct communication arrangements, and potentially remove the child/family from enrolment if they ignore this request. We hope that you understand our concerns, and support our efforts to keep communications for both parties safe, secure and unexposed to the dangers of outside interference by unknown persons. We are sure you will understand that ChildFund has to act on any matters that might put either sponsors or sponsored children in danger.

ChildFund Australia takes its obligations to keep children safe from harm very seriously, and our sponsors play an important role in this.  You can help us safeguard both your sponsored child and yourself in several ways:

  • Please do not reveal the full name or personal details of your sponsored child.  If you wish to share their photograph with your friends, please only share the front cover of their profile.
  • Only communicate with your sponsored child through our mediated channels. As you would expect, we monitor all correspondence, photos and visits to ensure safety for all concerned. Please hold back from any non-mediated contact via social media, phone calls or other means as this can pose risks.
  • Please be sensitive to the feelings and different cultural background of your sponsored child when you communicate, and avoid delicate subjects like religion or politics. If you are sending a photograph, please ensure it doesn’t highlight material possessions or show people in beach wear.

You can read our full Safeguarding Children policy here.

If your sponsored child is too young to write or they speak another language, please don’t worry as there will be help available from either a family member or ChildFund staff.  This will continue until they feel able and happy to write themselves.   Please be patient and persevere as regular correspondence will help build this confidence.

A complete exchange of letters takes about sixteen weeks (6 – 8 weeks each way). This time allows for translation and transportation to and from the child, who may live in an extremely remote area. We rely on a network of community volunteers to collect the letters and often deliver them on foot to each child.

If you don’t receive a reply from your child in over four months, please call us on 1800 023 600 or email info@childfund.org.au and we will look into this for you.

Children love to receive gifts from their sponsors as it makes them feel valued and important. If you want to include a gift with your letter, we suggest small, flat and inexpensive items like stickers, postcards, bookmarks or stationery that fit in a standard envelope. These are most likely to reach the child intact and without incurring customs duties. Please don’t send parcels of any size, as they are not accepted by any country office.

It’s easy to arrange an annual gift of money to your sponsored child to celebrate their birthday, Christmas or other occasion.  We have an upper limit on gift amounts, and suggest $20 to $50 per gift, with a total upper limit of $100 per child and family each year.

To set up a gift, please call us on 1800 023 600 or email info@childfund.org.au and we can arrange this for you.

Please note: In Cambodia and Vietnam, gifts to children are handled differently – if your sponsored child lives in these countries, our staff will happily discuss the alternatives available with you.

There are two easy ways to send a gift:

If you wish to make a larger gift, we recommend a gift to the community, as this promotes cooperation and harmony. We will consult with the community to ensure your money helps meet a specific need, such as play equipment or a water project.

It’s easy to set up a gift. Simply call us on 1800 023 600 and we’ll talk you through the options in more detail.

Many supporters describe visiting their sponsored child and their community as one of the most enriching and memorable experiences of their life. It also provides you with the unique opportunity to see first-hand the enormous difference that your sponsorship contributions are making in your sponsored child’s community. ChildFund Australia can arrange for you to meet your sponsored child and family in their village. Please email visits@childfund.org.au or call Supporter Relations on 1800 023 600 at least three months ahead of your planned departure date so arrangements can be made.

This is for a number of reasons; we have to undertake an Australian Federal Police Check and this can take up to 8-12 weeks to obtain. We also need to give the National Office enough time to make all the necessary arrangements with your sponsored child’s family for your visit.

The costs vary from visit to visit. You will be required to cover expenses incurred by you, your sponsored child and the national office representative as part of the visit, such as transportation costs, meals or lodging arranged for you by ChildFund. We will be able to provide you with more detailed information once we have begun to organise your visit. You are also responsible for organising and financing any of your own side trips or sightseeing excursions.

You can visit your sponsored child on any week day – weekend visits are not permitted. Visits are for one day but please do allow at least three days in total (not including your arrival and departure dates). Most of the communities we work with are in remote areas so you will need to allow enough time for travelling to and from the project area. National holidays can also affect visit dates.

Yes, ChildFund staff will pick you up from your hotel (and drop you home at the end of the day) on the day of your visit and will accompany you for the whole day. Our local staff will act as your interpreter for the visit and are a wonderful source of information, so don’t forget to ask them lots of questions!

You will meet your sponsored child and their family at a local meeting spot, such as a school, local eatery or community hall. For child protection reasons, supporters are not able to visit the homes of their sponsored children.