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Caritas and child sponsorship

Rather than child sponsorship, Caritas runs the One World Partnership programme to support our community-based projects and action against poverty and injustice.

Caritas is regularly asked whether we have a child sponsorship programme.

Caritas does have a sponsorship programme, but it does not use the child sponsorship marketing model. One reason is because the administration costs required to obtain pictures and letters and to match individuals up with donors is high. We prefer to keep our administration costs low and use more of our donors’ money to fund and support our development, aid and social justice projects. But even if it was more efficient to administer, there are deeper reasons why we would not use it.

Caritas runs community based projects which often address complex and varied issues. They may range from providing clean drinking water, to sustainable farm management, to achieving equality and freedom of movement for women in their own communities, to educating indigenous peoples in their legal rights so that they are not cheated out of their land. The causes of poverty are varied and child sponsorship does not capture their complexity, but simplifies it.

Child sponsorship is not a product of poor communities’ needs. The system came about by trying to market aid and development work to wealthy countries. Caritas tries to keep the focus on the whole community, rather than the individual, as this reflects the reality of the situation and is true to Catholic Social Teaching principles including human equality, the common good, participation, and the role of family and community in everyone's lives.

From our experience, communities and families are the best people to look after their children and we aim to support them in doing this. Our overseas partners have made the point that child sponsorship runs the risk of undermining the child's parents and community. Children may look to their donor family as their provider, rather than the efforts of their own community and family to break the cycle of poverty.

The children in the projects we support are well looked after by their own families who are playing an active role in their own destinies.

Rather than offering child sponsorship, Caritas offers the One World Partnership programme, this is for individuals or families who want to make an ongoing commitment to support development work in poor communities through regular giving. By joining the programme you receive One World Partnership newsletters which give a more in-depth view of project work undertaken by Caritas staff in some of the world’s poorest communities.




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