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Child sponsorship charities compared

Here, we offer a comparison of UK child sponsorship charities, showing what happens to your money and how the child benefits. We also share links to each charity's website.

The big charities: Who should I sponsor with?

These are the seven largest child sponsorship charities in the UK. We list them in order of size according to the number of countries they work in. You can see smaller charities below.

SOS Children's Villages

SOS Children provides orphaned and abandoned children with long-term care in a family home. Each child joins an SOS family where they and their new siblings are cared for by an SOS mother. Families form communities known as SOS Children's Villages, each with close ties to the neighbourhood. We provide healthcare, education and skills training so that children can grow into healthy, successful adults.

Key points

  • Global reach: You can sponsor a child in all of the 125 countries where we provide care, with a few exceptions.
  • Sponsor a child with SOS Children and give a child like this little girl in a red dress a mother like the lady holding herCost of sponsorship: From £20 per month.
  • How is my money spent? 100% of sponsorship goes directly towards the care of children. At least 85% will go into a pot at your child's Village, from which each child is fed, clothed and educated. Up to 15% may go towards children in Villages which are underfunded. None is used for UK admin.
  • Culture, faith & background: Children are raised in their own culture and religion. We aim to place children in a family of their own faith, though Villages may be made up of diversity of religions.
  • What will I get? A welcome pack and photo introduces your sponsored child along with details of their Village and country, followed by twice-yearly updates from the Village. You are welcome to write to your child but we only ask them to reply if they feel able.

Would you like to learn more about sponsoring a child with SOS Children? Find out more...

Sponsor a child with SOS Children

Charity finder:
Muslim Aid • Plan • Actionaid • World Vision • Compassion Smaller charities

Muslim Aid

Muslim Aid tailors care and support to children's individual needs, but education is prioritised as the primary means for children work their way out of poverty. They also run projects funded by other means than sponsorship, and help people in the UK as well.

Key points

  • Global reach: You can sponsor in 15 of the 70 countries in which Muslim Aid works.
  • Cost of sponsorship: £25 per month.
  • How is my money spent? Muslim Aid says that “money goes directly to the sponsored child and their family” but also explains that there is a “general fund to cover donor drop outs so that children receive continuous support”.
  • Culture, faith & background: The charity works “to help all, regardless of race, religion and gender”, However, it has “its roots in the humanitarian teachings of Islam” and views charity as an Islamic duty.
  • What will I get? A welcome pack introducing your sponsored child as well as annual updates on their progress and the opportunity to write and send small gifts.

Plan UK

Plan was the first charity to offer child sponsorship in the UK. They identify communities in need and provide resources to help them develop. Families and their children are then invited to take part in the sponsorship scheme.

Key points

  • Global reach: You can choose to sponsor in eight of the 50 countries where Plan works.
  • Cost of sponsorship: £15 per month.
  • How is my money spent? Donations do not go directly to the sponsored child; instead, money is pooled and spent on development projects. These include the building and equipping of schools, delivery of vaccinations and provision of water.
  • Culture, faith & background: Plan has no religious affiliation and supports children of all faiths.
  • What will I get? A welcome pack introducing your sponsored child, as well as annual updates on their progress. You can also write to your child.

Actionaid UK

Actionaid offers a highly personalised sponsorship package, which encourages you to write to your child, in return for tiwce-yearly letters from them.

Key points

  • Global reach: You can sponsor in 15 out of the 45 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America where Actionaid works.
  • Cost of sponsorship: £15 per month. 
  • How is my money spent? 80p of every £1 goes to the country where your child is from, and the remaining 20p is spent on emergencies, advocacy and admin. Your money will be spent on community infrastructure and resources, such as wells, schools and teachers, but not on individual children.
  • Culture, faith & background: Sponsored children live in the communities where Actionaid works.
  • What will I get? An information pack and photo of your sponsored child as well as two handwritten messages every year. Every two years, you'll receive an updated photo.

World Vision UK

World Vision is “committed to following the teaching and example of Jesus Christ in his identification of those who are poor, vulnerable or forgotten”.

Key points

  • Global reach: You can choose to sponsor in 14 of the 42 countries where World Vision works.
  • Cost of sponsorship: Starts at £23.80 per month.
  • How is my money spent? 84p out of every £1 is spent on “charitable activities”, 15p on fundraising, and a penny on governance. Donations do not go directly to sponsored children, but to the community as a whole, helping to establish whatever resources are needed to make it strong enough to be self-sufficient.
  • Culture, faith & background: Despite its Christian basis, World Vision is committed to freedom and inclusion, helping communities “regardless of religious belief, race, sexual orientation, gender or ability” and encouraging “a mutual understanding of one another's beliefs”.
  • What will I get? Photos and information about your sponsored child, the opportunity to write and receive letters and emails, and annual updates.

Compassion UK

Compassion is committed to enabling vulnerable children “to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults”. Child sponsorship provides these children with education, life skills, healthcare and “opportunities to hear and respond to the gospel”.

Key points

  • Global reach: Today, Compassion works in 26 countries in Africa, Asia and Central and South America. You can choose to sponsor in any of these countries.
  • Cost of sponsorship: £25 per month.
  • How is my money spent? At least 80% of sponsorship money is spent on “the development and implementation of Compassion programmes that directly benefit the child.” Sponsorhip “will enable the child you sponsor to attend a church-based Compassion project”. Each child has only one sponsor, and sponsors are encouraged to develop a personal relationship with their child through letters, pictures and prayer.
  • Culture, faith & background: Despite being a Christian organisation, Compassion helps children regardless of faith, but makes parents aware of its religious background.
  • What will I get? The Compassion model allows sponsors and children “to have input into each other's lives by writing letters, and through prayer.”

EveryChild

EveryChild are the sixth-largest charity in the child sponsorship market. However, they have recently announced their decision to move away from child sponsorship, and no longer offer sponsorship to new supporters.

Smaller charities

Many smaller charities offering child sponsorship programmes have sprung to life in the last 25 years. Some focus on a single country or location, while the majority are active in a number of countries. Most have a religious affiliaton.

The majority are listed here, in alphabetical order. Please do get in touch if you would like your charity to be added to or removed from the list.

We list many charities on this page and cannot be sure that all the information is completely accurate at all times. If you represent a charity listed here, please do let us know of any changes or inaccuracies.

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  • Location and reach: Uganda; where Abaana support 1,300 sponsored children in 12 locations
  • Cost of sponsorship: £16-£18 per month
  • How is my money spent? All of your money goes towards the child's welfare, and is used to fund the sponsored child's school fees, healthcare and educational development
  • Faith affiliation: Christian
  • What will I get? A photo and biography of your child, and a history of Uganda; the chance to write to your child
  • Location and reach: National Parks region of Uganda, where ACE supports 5,000 children in schools
  • Cost of sponsorship: £30 per month
  • How is my money spent? “Student sponsorship” is used to provide secondary education with a view to eradicating poverty and prioritising conservation for local and global good
  • Faith affiliation: None
  • What will I get? An information pack introducing the student with a photo and letter

African Child Trust (ACT)

  • Location and reach: Burkina Faso, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Malawi; 1,500 beneficiaries over 12 years
  • Cost of sponsorship: £15 per month
  • How is my money spent? Sponsorship supports a fatherless child and their mother, contributing to school fees, food and household expenses
  • Faith affiliation: Christian
  • What will I get? Choose from two sponsorship packages, one enabling personal contact and the other involving no personal contact
  • Location and reach: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, India, the Philippines
  • Cost of sponsorship: £15 per month
  • How is my money spent? All money is spent directly on the child, providing schooling, school equipment and healthcare
  • Faith affiliation: Christian
  • What will I get? Regular updates including photos, school reports, letters, emails and drawings
  • Location and reach: Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan
  • Cost of sponsorship: £17 per month
  • How is my money spent? Sponsorship supports your child's schooling.
  • Faith affiliation: Christian
  • What will I get? Background information and a photo of your child and their family; two letters and a Christmas card each year

Food for the Hungry (FH)

Website down at Feb 2015

  • Location and reach: Six countries in Africa, Asia and South America
  • Cost of sponsorship: £22 per month
  • How is my money spent? Sponsorship pays for education and healthcare as well as emotional and spiritual support
  • Faith affiliation: Christian
  • What will I get? The opportunity to communicate with your sponsored child; photos of your child; country progress reports; prayer requests from the community
  • Location and reach: ‘Sunrise Centre’ educational facility in the Gambia; schools beyond the Centre
  • Cost of sponsorship: £10 per month at the Sunrise Centre, up to £40 beyond
  • How is my money spent? Sponsorship funds a child's education
  • Faith affiliation: None
  • What will I get? GETS newsletters and the opportunity to attend the AGM
  • Location and reach: Andhra Pradesh, India
  • Cost of sponsorship: £11-£48, depending on mode of sponsorship
  • How is my money spent? Depending on the type of sponsorship you take out, you might provide school supplies, fulfil essential needs or fund a student's university education
  • Faith affiliation: None
  • What will I get? An annual progress report and the opportunity to visit the Heal village
  • Location and reach: The Nabugabo community learning centre in Nabugabo, Masaka town, in Uganda
  • Cost of sponsorship: £200 per year
  • How is my money spent? Provides your sponsored child with education, healthcare, two meals a day,shoes, school uniform and casual clothing
  • Faith affiliation: None
  • What will I get? Regular updates and reports on your sponsored child's progress, and an open invitation to write to your child or visit the project
  • Location and reach: The Gondar region of Ethiopia
  • Cost of sponsorship: £16 per month
  • How is my money spent? One-to-one sponsorship of a child from a community family covers a family's everyday needs, as well as the child's educational, medical and skills training later on
  • Faith affiliation: None
  • What will I get? Annual pack including accounts information; school reports; drawings and photos of the child and their family

Karuna Action

  • Location and reach: India, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Mongolia, Albania, Zimbabwe, Russia, Peru, DRC
  • Cost of sponsorship: £21 per month
  • How is my money spent? Educational sponsorship supports a child's education, as well as providing healthcare and a daily hot meal
  • Faith affiliation: Christian
  • What will I get? Letters, school reports, drawings, as well as the opportunity to write back and visit
  • Location and reach: Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Cost of sponsorship: £18 per month
  • How is my money spent? Sponsorship is spent on services such as healthcare, education, nutrition and shelter. All sponsored children have lost their father and live with their mother, or have lost both parents. 100% is spent for the direct benefit of the child
  • Faith affiliation: Christian
  • What will I get? A photo and personal story, as well as the chance to exchange letters and send gifts

Link Ethiopia

  • Location and reach: Ethiopia
  • Cost of sponsorship: £15 per month
  • How is my money spent? Sponsorship provides access to education and equipment for school, including a uniform, books, stationery. You will also support infrastructure such as classrooms, toilets, water and libraries. 55% goes towards your child's educational needs, and 45% on the projects at their school
  • Faith affiliation: None
  • What will I get? Letters from your child, a record of what they have been given, your child's exam results, updates on projects at the school, monthly email newsletters

Love in Action

  • Location and reach: Masaka region of Uganda
  • Cost of sponsorship: £15 per month
  • How is my money spent? Sponsorship pays for the education of a Ugandan child, financing their school fees, unifrom, school requirements and a meal
  • Faith affiliation: Christian
  • What will I get? Letters, photos, school reports

Malaika Kids

  • Location and reach: Tanzania
  • Cost of sponsorship: £15 per month
  • How is my money spent? 100% of your donation goes to Malaika Kids' Tanzanian branch. Money is then spent on your sponsored child's care and education
  • Faith affiliation: None
  • What will I get? A welcome pack, a new photo annually, updates on your child's progress, three newsletters

Out of Afrika

  • Location and reach: Kenya
  • Cost of sponsorship: £15-£20 per month
  • How is my money spent? This covers schools fees, uniform, shoes, everyday clothes, books and stationery, contribution towards healthcare and the child's general needs
  • Faith affiliation: None
  • What will I get? Unclear on website.

Pageant

  • Location and reach: The Gambia
  • Cost of sponsorship: £90-200 per year, depending on school grade, in two instalments
  • How is my money spent? All your money goes to the student. Admin and other costs come from Pageant's general funds
  • Faith affiliation: None
  • What will I get? Messages, photographs and reports on progress at school. Pageant tries to visit most sponsored children twice a year to check on their progress

Project Luangwa

  • Location and reach: Zambia
  • Cost of sponsorship: Not stated.
  • How is my money spent? 100% of your donation is used to support a child's education. There are different types of sponsorship linked to different levels of education
  • Faith affiliation: None
  • What will I get? Not stated

Project Mala

  • Location and reach: Eastern Uttar Pradesh, India, where Project Mala run six primary schools, two middle schools and a secondary school
  • Cost of sponsorship: £8-£25 depending on level of education
  • How is my money spent? Children receive education, a uniform, food, healthcare and sports and cultural training. To ensure no-one involved in Project Mala feels left out, children do not know they are sponsored
  • Faith affiliation: None
  • What will I get? Choose the child you sponsor; annual photos and reports

Philippine Community Fund (PCF)

  • Location and reach: The Philippines, where PCF run five projects in Tondo, Manila, San Jose Cemetery, Navotas, Manila and Baguio.
  • Cost of sponsorship: £20 per month
  • How is my money spent? Your money helps your child join the education programme, which includes full-time education, maintenance of facilities; remedial classes and summer school; bags, equipment and books
  • Faith affiliation: None
  • What will I get? A letter/report card and photo of your child every six months, the opportunity to write to your child but PCF cannot guarantee they will reply

Practical Compassion for Destitute Children (PCDC)

  • Location and reach: Holy Land; PCDC helps regardless of creed, race or colour
  • Cost of sponsorship: £120 per year (£10 per month)
  • How is my money spent? PCDC provides support with food, shoes, clothing, school fees, boarding costs, healthcare bills and anything else a sponsored child needs support with
  • Faith affiliation: Christian
  • What will I get? Photographs and a report describing the child's progress

RSVP

  • Location and reach: Africa
  • Cost of sponsorship: £19 per month
  • How is my money spent? Provides your sponsored child with education, healthcare, a daily meal, shoes and a school uniform
  • Faith affiliation: Christian
  • What will I get? The opportunity to write to your sponsored child via RSVP's Rwandan office

Schools for Children of Cambodia (SCC)

  • Location and reach: Cambodia, where SCC runs four educational projects
  • Cost of sponsorship: £150 per year, or £12.50 per month
  • How is my money spent? Sponsorship enables you to support the education of a Cambodian child
  • Faith affiliation: None
  • What will I get? Not stated

SOS Africa

  • Location and reach: South Africa
  • Cost of sponsorship: £20-50 per month
  • How is my money spent? You can contribute to or fully fund the education of a child. 100% is invested in your child's education.
  • Faith affiliation: None
  • What will I get? Regular progress reports, photo albums, email correspondence and updates via SOS Africa Children's blog.

The Small Things UK

  • Location and reach: Nkoaranga village in Northern Tanzania's Meru region
  • Cost of sponsorship: From £10 per month
  • How is my money spent? The money goes into one of two communal pots depending on the age of the child you sponsor, one for the care and education of our 30 children under 5, one for the care and education of our children over 5 (currently around 10 children but set to grow). All the money goes straight to the children’s care and not to organisational costs
  • Faith affiliation: None
  • What will I get? Introductory information and a photo of the child, and then updates a few times a year, if possible with drawings or photos.

Uganda Lodge

  • Location and reach: Near Mbarara in south-west Uganda
  • Cost of sponsorship: £3.50 per month, or £42 per year
  • How is my money spent? Sponsorship money is used to provide a nursery and primary education at the project's school, which attended by more than 450 children aged 3-17 years
  • Faith affiliation: None
  • What will I get? The opportunity to write to your sponsored child's school class; the opportunity to volunteer at Uganda Lodge and see the project in person

N.b. We try to give a fair and honest comparison, but as a child sponsorship charity ourselves, we cannot claim to provide an impartial review.

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SOS Nurseries give young children preschool education in our SOS Children’s Villages. From here, children get quality preparation for life in our SOS Schools or community schools.