If you’ve been a supporter of Word & Deed’s sponsorship program for a long time, you might have noticed that there can be a lot of turnover. It can be disappointing to receive a leaving form for your sponsor child and it raises the question: “Why do children leave the sponsorship program?” There are a lot of answers to this question, and they’re not always obvious to the North American mind.   

One of the most common reasons for leaving the sponsorship program is because of a change in location. Many of our schools are located in Internally Displaced People (IDP) zones. Most of the people who live in an IDP zone have been driven there by a threat of violence or poverty – and nobody wants to stay there. Most people will take any opportunity they can to find employment and housing elsewhere. In other cases, it is inclement weather that forces families away from the locale that our sponsorship program serves. In Ecuador, 40 sponsor children recently moved away from Cesar Proano due to heavy rains and flooding. 

There are times that children are removed from the program because their parents prefer that they work at home in order to supplement the family income. Education is not a high priority in many countries of the world. Often, the long-term benefits of education for a child are forgotten if the opportunity arises for the child to contribute economically to the family. 

There are also some less common reasons that you might receive a leaving form from your child: they may be removed for bad behavior, failing grades and a lack of interest, or because their parents decided to send their children to a government funded school.

Though this list is not comprehensive, it is a good representation of the most common reasons for leaving. However, there is another reason that should be mentioned. Graduation. Although it’s not uncommon for children to leave Word & Deed supported schools before completing their education, there are many stories of sponsors who have supported the same child from childhood to adulthood. Catarina, in Guatemala, was sponsored for fourteen years (age 7 to 21). Her leaving form was different:

“I am very thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to attend the [school], during 14 years [my sponsors] were a blessing for me, even though [they] live so far away…they were always close to me with their prayers and support. Today I dedicate my diploma as Bilingual Secretary to my God first for His love and blessing, to my sponsors for their support, and love to my mother for her effort…God bless you loved sponsors because without your support I would not have reached my goal…you will always be in my heart.”

Leaving forms represent unstable, nomadic lifestyles, poor living conditions, poverty and apathy. In other words, leaving forms represent many of the reasons that we serve the developing world.   Remember that even having a child in the program for a relatively short period of time can, with the Lord's blessing, make an impression that lasts a life time.

Sometimes a leaving form, like Catarina’s, represents determination, ambition, thankfulness and God’s blessings. Sometimes leaving forms give us a glimpse of how the sponsorship program is making a big difference. 

If you are already sponsoring a child, thank you for partnering with us to make a world of difference in a child's life.  If you aren't, then why not start today?  Please call our office  - 877.375.9673 (Canada) or 866.391.5728 (USA).

Non Profit Organization Website by Pronk Graphics (MT)