Sponsor a Child

CMF’s Child Sponsorship program is part of a holistic strategy for families and communities to break out of the cycle of poverty through education and opportunity. Your decision to invest in a child through sponsorship will transform the life of the child, his family and his impoverished community.

  • If you already sponsor a child, go to sign in to your online account and make your donation.
  • If you wish to begin sponsorship, find your special child directly below.

Thank you for your support of God’s work around the world through child sponsorship!

Find a Child to Sponsor

Keywords: (example: "Andy" or "2/5/2003")

What your child receives

cs-what-your-child-receives

Child Communities

Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi, Kenya

Turkana, Kenya

Turkana, Kenya

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Abengourou, Ivory Coast

Abengourou, Ivory Coast

Maasai, Tanzania

Maasai, Tanzania

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Brazil

Brazil

Additional Info

Child Sponsorship FAQs

GENERAL SPONSORSHIP QUESTIONS

SPONSORSHIP SUPPORT QUESTIONS

QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR CHILD

QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR ACCOUNT

How can I reach a member of the CMF Child Sponsorship Team?
Sponsor Relations Associates are available to take your calls between 8 a.m. and 5p.m. EST, Monday – Friday. Our office number is (317) 578-2700.  Or you may send an e-mail to childsponsorship@cmfi.org and a member of our team will respond as quickly as possible.

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How does sponsorship work?
Child sponsorship is used as one part of a holistic approach to poverty, called Community Health Evangelism (CHE). You can learn more about CHE here. Funds received through sponsorship of a child are used to provide for that child’s medical and spiritual needs, as well as nutritious meals. While they are also used to pay for school fees, the child’s parents are still responsible for contributing a small amount toward that cost. This is a key principle of CHE, in that it engages the parents in community involvement and empowers them to learn how to provide for themselves.

Your sponsorship dollars are processed and receipted through CMF’s main offices in Indianapolis, Indiana. Funds are then wired over to the respective fields on a monthly basis to cover the expenses for your child. However, sponsorship of a child is more than just financial support. We encourage sponsors to write to their children often and let them know what is happening in their lives.  It is a tremendous encouragement to the children to hear from their sponsors and know that there is someone in another part of the world who loves them and prays for them.

This combination of financial support and encouragement instills a sense of hope in the children, and helps them to gain a solid education. This education can open doors to college, university or trade school, where the children – now young adults – can learn critical skills in order to gain meaningful employment. With an education and a good job, the cycle of poverty is broken and they no longer need to live in the slums. As adults with their own families, they can enjoy lives transformed through the power of Christ!

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When and how did CMF start sponsoring children?
Christian Missionary Fellowship (CMF) was incorporated in 1949 as an evangelical missionary support organization. In the year 2000, CMF formed a new team to begin working among the urban poor in the Mathare Valley slum in Nairobi, Kenya. The team members met Wallace and Mary Kamau, Kenyan nationals and Christians, who shared a similar vision for the people of this area. In 2005, the “Hope Partnership” was established between CMF International in the U.S. and the Kamaus’ organization, Missions of Hope International, in Kenya. One facet of the Hope Partnership was the creation of a child sponsorship program. The program began with just 158 children going to school in a two-room, rented building in the slums. Today, the program in Nairobi has grown to more than 16 schools and 12,000 children! CMF International’s Child Sponsorship program has also continued to grow beyond Nairobi and the Hope Partnership, and now includes children living in impoverished areas of Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, and the Turkana region of Kenya.

  • For more information about CMF’s history, click here.
  • For more information on the Missions of Hope, click here.

In what locations does CMF sponsor children?
Currently, CMF has sponsorship programs in Nairobi, Kenya; the Turkana region of Kenya; the Maasai lands of Tanzania; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and in Abengourou, Ivory Coast. To learn more about these specific communities, click here and then click on the community name for which you’d like more information.

How does CMF choose locations for sponsorship?
CMF child sponsorship is just one part of a holistic approach to transforming lives and communities, so we will only begin sponsorship programs in fields where CMF missionaries have already been working, using the CHE strategy. We do not initiate sponsorship as a stand-alone program in a new field.

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How are children selected to be part of the sponsorship program?
The process can vary from location to location, but generally, social workers evaluate children based on their specific needs. Orphans, vulnerable children and the poorest of the poor are recruited first. Other factors, such as family situation, living conditions or siblings who are already in the program, can also have an impact on recruitment.

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Do children have to be Christians to be in the program?
No. Children or their families are not required to be Christians or to become Christians. However, students will participate in Christian-based programs and activities, and in most cases, children attend Christian schools.

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How much does it cost to sponsor a child through CMF?
Generally, $38 per month will cover the needs of primary school children in our program. In some fields, either $45 or $70 per month will cover the needs of students attending a boarding school. To learn more about how these funds are used, click here.

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How much of the sponsorship fee is used for administrative expenses?
Only 12% is used to cover administrative expenses. Administrative expenses are essentially the costs of running the program. Without these expenses, the program would not be able to operate. The remaining 88% of funds go toward providing and maintaining safe program facilities, medical care, spiritual development, nutritious meals, and school fees (which cover uniforms, supplies, textbooks and teacher salaries). To see a full breakdown of how sponsorship funds are used, click here.

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What specific benefits do children receive during the time they are sponsored?
Children in our sponsorship program receive an education (including supplies and uniforms), nutritious meals, medical care, and guidance in both spiritual and social development. Studies show that these children are more likely to gain a higher education and/or develop specific skills that will enable them to gain meaningful employment and rise above a life of poverty.

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Can a child have more than one sponsor?
Generally, a child can have only one sponsoring person, couple or family. We do allow relatives and/or small groups to collectively sponsor a child, but there still must be one individual selected to be the primary sponsor of record. Only the primary sponsor (or couple or family) will receive communications from and information regarding the child. Secondary sponsors will still receive their own receipts and statements for their support gifts.

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How do I get started sponsoring a child?
To get started, you can watch our brief introductory video called “Getting Started” here.  Or, read through five simple steps here. Once you’re ready to select a child, click here to browse profiles of children who still need a sponsor.

Additionally, you can engage your church through a child sponsorship event! We provide everything you need so anyone in your church can choose a child to sponsor. Look through profile cards with pictures on-site, select a child by age and gender, then sign up to sponsor him or her.When we receive your first sponsorship payment we will send a receipt and a packet of information to help in beginning a special relationship with your sponsored child.

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Where can I find more information about the child(ren) I’m sponsoring?
All of the information we have about your child is printed on the child’s profile card. If you’ve lost your child’s profile card or would like another one mailed to you, please contact our office.

You can also view your child(ren)’s profile(s) online by creating or signing into your online account here.  PLEASE NOTE: If creating your online account for the first time, not all account information may display initially. It could take up to one business day to complete the setup of your new online account.

From your main account page, click on the green “view your sponsorships” button to be taken to your “My Sponsorships” page. Here, you should see the profiles of each child you sponsor. Click on the tabs below each child’s picture to learn more information specific to him/her.

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How frequently will I receive updated information about the child I’m sponsoring?
Your child should write to you two or three times per year to let you know what is going on in his/her life. In addition, CMF will notify sponsors anytime we are made aware of a major event that occurs in the life of your child.

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What happens if my child leaves the program?

Due to cultural differences, family issues, illness and harsh living conditions, children may stop attending school, often without any warning. While we hope that your child remains in CMF’s child sponsorship program until their schooling is complete, we can’t promise that your relationship with one particular child will be able to continue indefinitely. We can promise, however, that your sponsorship plants a seed of hope and faith in the heart of your child whether she attends school for one week, three months or years. And if your child leaves the program for any reason, we will let you know that information as soon as possible, and immediately provide a new child to you so you can continue to participate in the blessings of transformation.

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How long can children be sponsored?
Children in developing countries often do not start school at the same age as children in the United States, so it is hard to define a specific age range. In most cases, children can be recruited into the program as young as pre-school age and can remain in our program until graduating from high school.

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Where can I find my child’s mailing address?
Your child’s mailing address is located on the community information card that was sent with your new sponsorship packet. You can also find your child’s mailing address by creating or signing into your online account here. PLEASE NOTE: If creating your online account for the first time, not all account information may display initially. It could take up to one business day to complete the setup of your new online account.

From your main account page, click on the green “view your sponsorships” button to be taken to your “My Sponsorships” page. Here, you should see the profiles of each child you sponsor. Click on the “Letters/Gifts” tab below each child to see their specific mailing address.

 

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How do I send something to my child?
Details on size restrictions and methods for mailing items to your child can be found in the Staying in Touch with your sponsored child section of our website.

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What kinds of things can I send to my child?
When sending items to your child please remember to think in the context of where your child lives. Items should be simple, not extravagant. Large or expensive items may be stolen, and could put your child in harm’s way. Here are a few suggestions:

For an elementary-age student, you may send:
Family pictures, matchbox toy cars, crayons, colored pencils, pens, stickers, small note pads, hair clips, jewelry, and small, thin books – activity coloring books, devotional books and Bibles.

For a middle or high school student you may send:
Family pictures, colored pencils, pens, small note pads, hair clips, jewelry and also small, thin books – devotional books and Bibles.

Please do NOT send toys or stickers that depict snakes, spiders, tortoises, snails, frogs or scorpions.  Please also refrain from sending stick-on tattoos of any kind. Please do NOT send any food or candy to your child. You should NEVER send checks, cash or personal contact information (e-mail address, home address or phone number) directly to your child.

For more information, please visit the Staying in Touch With Your Sponsored Child section of our website.

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Why can’t I send a monetary gift to my child?
Giving money to people living in poverty reinforces a “handout” mentality and can lead to asking/begging for money in order to survive. While handouts may be of some help in the short-term, it can create a devastating dependence and does nothing to break the cycle of poverty. Our goal is to educate those living in impoverished areas and assist them in building the skills necessary to find employment and learn how to provide for themselves.

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Why can’t I send anything larger than a 6″ x 9″ envelope to my child?
Items that are large, heavy or appear to be expensive have a greater chance of being held in customs in the receiving country. Items held in customs are charged a tax or fee before they can be retrieved.  Families do not have extra money to pay these fees, so any package held there will probably never reach your child.

Based on feedback from our field teams and experiences of our sponsors, we have determined that envelopes that are 6″ x 9″ or smaller have the best chance of being delivered to your child.

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Is it possible to meet my child?
Yes! If you will be travelling to the area where your child lives and would like to arrange to meet him/her, please contact our office at least one month in advance to make arrangements. If you are travelling with a short-term mission team, please be sure to work with your team leader to plan time for meeting with your child.

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Why haven’t I heard from my child?
We understand that receiving a letter from your child is a treasured part of your sponsorship experience, and we work very hard with our field teams to facilitate that communication. While sponsors may write several times to their children, the children will only write two or three letters to their sponsors at specific times each year. Children do not necessarily respond to every letter that is sent to them from their sponsors.

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Why haven’t I received a bill for my child’s support?
Sponsorship is wholly funded through donated support, so we cannot “bill” you for a donation. If you pay by check or bank bill pay, we will send you a receipt for your gift. At the bottom of your receipt is a coupon that you can use to send in with your next donation. If a donation is missed during a particular month, you will NOT receive a receipt with a return coupon for that month.

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What happens if I fall behind in supporting my child?
We understand that life gets busy and details can sometimes be overlooked. We will attempt to reach you regarding any missed support. We are happy to work with you on options to get caught up so that you can maintain the special relationship you have hopefully established with your sponsored child.

The success of our program depends upon our sponsors maintaining their commitments. If support for your child does not come in for more than three consecutive months and all of our attempts to contact you during that time go unanswered, your sponsorship will automatically be cancelled so that we can work to find a new sponsor to support the child.

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How can I cancel my sponsorship?
To cancel your sponsorship please call our office at (317) 578-2700 or email childsponsorship@cmfi.org. We will need your name, donor ID number, your child’s name and child’s ID number.

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Where can I view my giving history?
You can create or sign into your online account here. PLEASE NOTE: If creating your online account for the first time, not all account information may display initially. It could take up to one business day to complete the setup of your new online account.

On your main account page, scroll all the way to the bottom under the “My History” heading. Here, you can view all of your past donations. You may use the drop-down menu to adjust how many donations to show on each page, and/or scroll through each page by clicking on the page number or “Next” at the bottom of the current page.

You may also call our office at (317) 578-2700 to request that a printed giving statement be mailed to you.

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How can I get a receipt for a specific gift?
You can create or sign into your online account here. PLEASE NOTE: If creating your online account for the first time, not all account information may display initially. It could take up to one business day to complete the setup of your new online account.

On your main account page, scroll all the way to the bottom under the “My History” heading. Here, you can view all of your past donations and print off receipts for specific gifts. Simply click on the orange “Receipt” button next to the gift for which you would like a receipt.  You may print or e-mail the receipt by clicking on the appropriate button at the bottom of the window that opens.

You may also call our office at (317) 578-2700 to request a printed receipt for a specific gift be mailed to you.

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How can I get an annual summary of my giving?
You can create or sign into your online account here. PLEASE NOTE: If creating your online account for the first time, not all account information may display initially. It could take up to one business day to complete the setup of your new online account.

On your main account page, click on the green “giving statement” button near the top right of the page, under the “Manage your account” heading. Enter the starting and ending dates of the range for which you would like to view your giving and click the go button. You may print or e-mail the giving statement by clicking on the appropriate button at the bottom of the window that opens.

If you are set up to receive paper giving statements, your December statement will include a cumulative giving amount.

You may also call our office at (317) 578-2700 to request that a printed giving statement be mailed to you.

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How can I make a one-time support payment for my sponsorship?
One-time payments may be made online or by phone at (317) 578-2700.

To make an online payment, you must create or sign into your online account here.  PLEASE NOTE: If creating your online account for the first time, not all account information may display initially. It could take up to one business day to complete the setup of your new online account.  From your main account page, click on the green “make a payment” button near the top of the page just below the “Manage your account” heading.

Under the “Active Commitments” heading, click the checkbox next to the name of the child(ren) for whom you wish to make a payment. In the box to the right of the dollar sign, enter the amount of your support payment, then click the orange “add to cart” button at the bottom.

When ready to checkout, click the orange “continue checkout” button from your cart and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the transaction. You can access your cart at any time by clicking the “cart” link in the blue bar at the very top of every webpage.

  

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Can I setup an automatic recurring payment for my sponsorship?
Yes! Automatic payments may be setup online or by calling our office at (317) 578-2700.
You can access this on your online account by signing in and Going under “My History” and clicking on “Give Again”.

 

Under Other Commitments next to your child’s name, click Edit.  From there, you can follow the process to enter in an automatic withdrawal each month.

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Why can’t I see all of my account information online?
If you have just setup your online account, please note that it can sometimes take up to one business day to complete the setup of your new online account. Once setup is complete, you should be able to see your past giving history and information on any children you sponsor. If you continue to experience problems viewing information through your online account after a full business day has passed, please contact our office at (317) 578-2700 or childsponsorship@cmfi.org for assistance.

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How to send letters and gifts

letterMay I write a letter?

Writing letters shows that you care about your sponsored child and want to encourage his/her development.

 


h_whatcanisayWhat can I say in my letter?

Consider these guidelines in any communication to your child:
Describe the members of your family.

Discuss your favorite activities, hobbies, and sports.

Briefly tell what you do at work, church, or school.

Talk about your relationship with Jesus Christ.

Provide a general description of where you live (no specific address). Tell them about the climate and land type.

Ask your child the same types of questions about what they like to do, where they live, and what they are learning in school.


familypixMay I send a picture of my family?

Use a neutral background such as greenery or a blank wall. Please do not include material items such as cars, your home, toys, or other possessions.

 


What kind of letters may I send to my child?

h_whatkindoflettersmayisendYou may send a 6”x9” or smaller envelope at various times throughout the year (send no more than 2 envelopes at a time). Please do not send a large package to your child.

cautionPlease do not send a letter bigger than a 6”x9” envelope or it will be held in customs. If items are too large or look like they contain valuables, they will be held in customs until a fee is paid. Families do not have extra money to get packages out of customs, so any package held there will never reach your child.


 What small items can I send to my sponsored child?

h_whatitemscanisend

For an elementary-age student you may send:

• Family pictures, matchbox toy cars, crayons,     colored pencils, pens, stickers, small note pads,   hair clips, jewelry, and small, thin books – activity   coloring books, devotional books and Bibles.

For a middle or high school student you may send:

• Family pictures, colored pencils, pens, small note pads, hair clips, jewelry, and also small thin books – devotional books and Bibles.


What items should I NOT send to my sponsored child?

caution2• Toys or stickers that depict snakes, spiders, tortoises, snails, frogs, or scorpions. Please also refrain from sending stick-on tattoos of   any kind.

• Checks, cash, or personal contact information (email address, home address or phone number).

• Food or candy.

 


Where do I send my envelope?

All correspondence with your child should be sent to the address listed on your community card. Please follow ALL of these steps when sending items:

1. Place your letter in an envelope with the child’s name and ID number written on it. Do not write your personal contact information/return address on this envelope.

2. Place this envelope into another 6” x 9” envelope (or a 6 1/2” x 9 1/2” envelope is okay) addressed to the location listed on your community card. As an alternative, you may also wrap the first envelope in brown shipping paper and write the address on the outside of the paper.

3. Place your return address on the outer envelope/shipping paper (international mailing requirements).

Check with your Post Office for the official weight and International Postage Rates. Do not send as priority, express, certified, or flat rate. If you are required to fill out a customs form, it is important to indicate that the contents of the package have zero (0) commercial value.

caution

Do not send letters/gifts for your sponsored child to CMF International’s US office.

How long will it take my letter to reach my child?

Allow 6 to 8 weeks for mailed items to reach your child.

How will I know that my child received my letter/gift?

Each child who receives a gift will write a thank you note to his/her sponsor. Please note that it could be several months before you will receive a thank you card in the mail.


Will I be updated on my child?

You should receive at least one letter from your sponsored child per year, as well as regular updates through our child sponsorship newsletter. You can sign up to receive these updates by visiting cmfi.org/signup.