In a former life as a management consultant, we inevitably presented to business clients how to best use limited resources for the most benefit, or in layman’s terms, how to get the most “bang for the buck.” In my almost 20 years of serving as a Christian field worker in the developing world, I often reflect on the same type of analysis with a different goal of effectively helping children. What I can confidently say is that our Child Sponsorship and Site Partner models get lots of bang for the buck as they provide the basic support for the holistic, transformational care of Kids Alive children and youth in the Dominican Republic. The model itself is both beautiful and efficient. Consider these facts:
- The cost of our holistic, life-changing care in schools is roughly 10% of the cost of public education in the United States at roughly $85/month per child (including education, nutrition, medical care, sports programming and more).
- Recent studies show a KA-DR sponsored child in some of our communities is five times more likely to finish high school than a normal public school child in the Dominican Republic. (If you believe basic education is both a human right and is helpful for long-term poverty alleviation, this is astounding news.)
- A Kids Alive child is up to six times more likely to attend church as an adult than a sibling who did not attend a Kids Alive school. (Growing faith leads to joy, peace, and hope regardless of circumstances.)
- A Kids Alive youth is far more likely to graduate from technical school or university and less likely to be a single parent as an adult. (Extended education, protection and wise choices help dramatically reduce abuse and teenage pregnancy.)
- One of the beauties of long-term, educational, and holistic aid is that it helps create independence rather than dependence for those who lack resources. It also particularly helps protect girls, many of whom live in neglectful or traumatic conditions in their communities by providing loving, safe environments.
- Our high school graduates, for instance, are often motivated to work to help themselves and families rather than seek more aid or handouts from an NGO. In a sense, our programs don’t give fish but rather teach a student how to fish. They effectively and efficiently help youth learn to help themselves, their families, their churches, and their communities.
In closing, I have also learned to deeply appreciate the beauty in the personal side of Child Sponsorship and Site Partnership. Many supporters, from as young as middle and high school age up to elderly retired adults on limited fixed income, find a way to sponsor a child at the basic level of $39 a month. And our children recognize the selfless sacrifice of someone that isn’t family, giving regularly to help them. In fact, a common saying among our youth who have transformed from receivers to servants and givers is, “I am only giving a little bit back of what has been generously given to me.”
Thanks for your prayers and support!
Kids Alive Dominican Republic