Child Sponsorship Charities
Here we list, link to and compare UK charities who offer child sponsorship, to help you choose the best charity for you. We explain our understanding of what happens to your money with each and whether the sponsored child benefits directly from the sponsorship. We try to give a fair and honest comparison. We are not an independent reviewer of child sponsorship charities (nor are "comparison" websites which get paid for referrals).
We feel lucky that we can use all our sponsorship income to help children. Other sponsorship models have their advantages too. We give the websites of most child sponsorship charities. If any charity listed here would rather not be please let us know. For the sake of argument we list the charities in approx order of size, measured by the number of countries they work in:
Sponsoring a Child with SOS Children
SOS Children (or SOS Children’s Villages) works in 125 countries and offer child sponsorship in over 100. This includes most of the developing world. SOS Children is primarily an orphan charity, caring for orphaned and abandoned children (Aids Orphans, Street children, war orphans, disaster orphans etc.), and preventing family break up.
Sponsorship mainly pays for providing a loving family for these children. No sponsorship income is used for UK costs. Less than a third of SOS Children’s international income is from sponsorship, and it raises much of its funds directly in the developing world. In the UK, SOS Children has a very low advertising spend and mainly spreads by “word of mouse”.
Like the idea of sponsoring a child with SOS Children? Find out more...
World Vision works in 42 countries and offers child sponsorship in many of these. World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation, working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. They therefore work through communities and do not generally directly care for children. They say "World Vision unapologetically takes a community-based approach to development – a fact we publicly promote at every opportunity... while sponsored children may receive some direct benefits – like school materials or a jacket for warmth – this in no way represents the entirety of our work in a community". Thus the sponsored child gets a small gift for agreeing to be on the sponsorship programme, and funds are spent in the community. World Vision is a member of the World Evangelical Alliance. They have a high profile TV and print advertising presence in the UK.
Plan UK works in 50 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Central and South America. They describe themselves as a "child-centred community development organisation". Plan is one of the longest-established sponsorship charities and their approach to child sponsorship has evolved over their 70 year history. They now work with whole communities rather than individual children. Since mid-2009, for each £1 in sponsorship received, 80% is spent on projects and at least 72% is spent in the country where the child lives.
So when you sponsor a child with Plan, your money goes to community development projects in your sponsored child's country; for example, providing clean water, education, healthcare or sanitation.
Sponsoring a child with Actionaid UK
Actionaid works in 45 countries in Africa, Asia, Central and South America. They are probably the best and best-known fundraisers in the UK market. Their sponsorship model is similar to World Vision's and Plan's. However, with Actionaid, comparatively more of the funds are used for campaigning on behalf of communities. This may include lobbying governments against the prohibitive cost of state school fees or VAT on school books, which contribute to families remaining in poverty. Correspondingly, less is spent directly on the ground.
Compassion is a Christian child sponsorship charity that works in 26 countries. It costs £25 a month to sponsor a child and a minimum of 80% of this goes directly towards financing education, healthcare, nutritious meals, safe places to play and Christian teaching for sponsored children. Compassion's other programmes include the Child Survival Programme which cares for vulnerable mothers and babies, the Leadership Development Programme which sponsors young people through university, and the Respond Programme which funds community projects such as the provision of clean water. However, these other programmes are financed by separate fundraising activites and are not paid for using sponsorship money which is spent directly on the children.
Sponsoring a child with EveryChild UK
EveryChild remains the sixth-largest charity in the UK child sponsorship market. Howeber, they no longer offer sponsorships to new supporters.
Sponsoring a child with other sponsorship charities
As far as we are aware, the following charities operate in six countries or fewer; very often in one. In general, they have well under 1,000 sponsors in the UK. Smaller charities tend to have a closer relationship with the children. Many support a single school or childcare programme which has been visited by tourists from the UK, attracting a small group of supporters. Others began in this way and now run a handful of projects.
Do feel free to 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.
- A small charity which works to provide schooling for children in The Gambia. They raise roughly £40,000 per year from around 100 UK sponsors, of which over 95% is spent in directly supporting children's education.
- Malaika Kids:
- Established in 2005 in the Dar es Salaam region of Tanzania, the charity has created a new model of holistic orphan care, doing its best for the future of each child. Those with wider family are fostered, while those with no relatives are brought up in an impressive new children's village, designed to house 300.
- A small Christian organisation working in mainly Uganda with one project in Zambia.
- A small charity working in Albania, Ukraine and Romania, which offers the children on their programmes for sponsorship.
- African Child Trust is a small niche charity specifically to help the education of children of widows in Zambia, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Uganda and Tanzania. Money from child sponsorship as far as we can see directly benefits the child and widow.
- Equipe is a small charity working in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania; promising that every penny donated goes towards your sponsored child.
- Heal is a small charity with four projects in India and about 200 sponsored children. It is run on a volunteer basis by a Cambridgeshire doctor. Funds given in child sponsorship directly benefit the sponsored child.
- Thai Children's Trust:
- Formerly the Pattaya Orphanage Trust, the Thai Children's Trust is a well-established charity focusing on orphans in Thailand. They offer sponsorship for the 1,500 children they care for. The sponsored children receive complete care from the charity, and also run projects in the community for street children, refugee children, tsunami orphans and children with disabilities. They have thousands of sponsors in the UK, and complete online services for sponsors.
- International Childcare Trust is a small charity which does not run its own operations in developing countries but funds local partners in six countries in Asia and Africa. 10% of funds received for sponsorship go on UK admin costs and 90% of funds received are handed over to local partners to be used to benefit children including your sponsored child.
- Kingscare is a strongly Christian organisation which organises sponsorship of school students via a network of local churches. The churches propose the students and manage the funds.
- Lily Foundation:
- The Lily Foundation is small and cares for orphans in the Congo. The sponsored children are generally orphans in the charity's care.
- Out of Afrika:
- Out of Afrika works only in Kenya and money from sponsors goes directly towards the education of the sponsored child.
- Project Mala:
- An Indian education charity providing schooling for children from the carpet industry. They run six primary and two middle schools with over 1,200 children in full-time education. Child sponsorship costs £9 per month for a primary-school child and £15 for a middle-school child. This covers education, meals and school uniform. Sponsors are given a login where school reports and photographs are posted.
- Love in Action:
- Love in Action is a Christian, UK based charity sponsoring children in Masaka, Uganda. They currently have around 180 sponsored children.
- Food for the Hungry:
- Food for the Hungry is a Christian organisation which carries out community-centred development work and offers child sponsorship to supporters.
- A very small Christian organisation run by a missionary which says "sponsoring a child will allow your child to hear about Jesus and be encouraged to develop a lifelong relationship with God."
- A small education charity which allows you to sponsor a Cambodian child's schooling.
- Fields of Life:
- A Christian organisation in Uganda where people who sponsor a child directly pay for the child's schooling.
- A small charity supporting rural schools in South West Uganda. Sponsored children are helped directly.
- A Christian charity committed to helping street children and those at risk of becoming so, principally in Latin America.
- Hotcourses Foundation:
- The Hotcourses Foundation is a charity focusing on orphans in Kenya affected by HIV. They offer sponsorships which are used to fund their education, provide school uniforms and educational resources.
- Project Luangwa:
- Project Luangwa is a small charity based in the UK. They operate in the Luangwa Valley in Zambia. As part of their activities they arrange for sponsorship of over 100 children and young adults from age 7 upwards. This includes primary, secondary and tertiary education.
- Kindu Trust:
- The Kindu Trust works in Ethiopia offering individual sponsorship for children. They aim to bring financial, educational and medical support to children and their families in Ethiopia, this includes school uniforms and school books. They also help cover the costs of vocational training courses, food and shelter for the sponsored child and their family.
- Link Ethiopia:
- Link Ethiopia is a small charity working to support education in Ethiopia and to increase cultural awareness between young people in Ethiopia and the UK. Sponsoring through Link Ethiopia means helping an individual child with their educational needs, as well as helping the entire school and community through education-focused projects.
- PCF (Philippine Community Fund):
- PCF is a small Southampton based charity who work with disadvantaged children and families living on Tondo dumpsite and in Navotas cemetery in Manila. They recently completed and opened a school made from recycled shipping containers, and their child sponsorship program supports children's education
- International China Concern:
- International China Concern is a Christian Development Organisation that works with disabled, abandoned children in China, and they offer a child sponsorship scheme for the children in their care.
- EdUKaid are a small UK based 'hands on' charity that are working towards bringing about lasting change in rural Tanzania. The Child Sponsorship project is one of four programmes that they support.
- Practical Compassion for Destitute Children
- A small charity dedicated to helping children in the Holy Land. They act at the point of crisis, regardless of race, creed or colour; providing with prayer, financial and practical help.
- Smile International
- Smile International are a Christian charity who help over 400 children across five countries in Africa, Asia and Europe to help alleviate poverty and suffering through various programmes. Child sponsorship costs £20 and helps provide education, food, equipment, uniforms and healthcare to children who are in need. Children are helped regardless of their background and for every £1 received, at least 88% goes towards helping children get a better start in life.
- SOS Africa
- SOS Africa supports disadvantaged children growing up in African townships, providing education tailored to their individual needs, with the aim of enabling them to break out of poverty and realise their potential.