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Yes! We have a team available for event/church presentations, or just a chat to find out more about child sponsorship. Please contact us on 0800 800 777 or by emailing info@tearfund.org.nz to ask about this.

In selecting which children to enrol in Compassion International's child sponsorship programme, our local church partners follow a child selection process which gives priority to children with the greatest need, living within the surrounding community. In order to benefit as many families as possible, Compassion International generally registers only one child from a family.

Rather than being jealous, the rest of the family usually considers one child's sponsorship a great blessing because the support they receive enables them to dedicate more of their financial resources to providing for other family members' needs. Our local church partners also try to include siblings and parents in many of the child development centre activities, particularly Christmas celebrations, and usually also offer other programmes and activities like Sunday school and school holiday classes that are open to all children. The size of monetary gifts that sponsors can give their sponsored children is also limited to help avoid jealousy among the child's neighbours.

You can also help your sponsored child's siblings to feel involved by including them in your letters and prayers, or giving a family gift, which will benefit each member of the family.

Compassion International accepts and serves children and communities of all faith backgrounds (or no faith background), and categorically does not require or force conversion to Christianity at any time. Compassion International’s primary mission is to release children from poverty, not convert them. We are called to serve the poor, regardless of ethnicity, gender or religious background.

Children and families are prioritised for support based on need, not religion. Before registering their children in the Child Sponsorship Programme, caregivers are told about the Christian foundation of the programme and give permission for their children to hear the Christian gospel. Ongoing participation in the programme doesn't depend on making a commitment to Christ and children are free to leave the programme at any time. Our frontline church partners are careful to present the gospel in a non-coercive, culturally sensitive way.

The child development centre staff in each country are best-placed to understand the individual needs of children in their area. They are responsible for inviting children through parents/guardians to register in the Child Sponsorship Programme.

Each child development centre has a clearly documented process and criteria for selecting the most vulnerable families in their area who can benefit from our work. All children to be registered are selected based on objective criteria that establish their need and their ability to benefit from the program. When staff members interview parents or caregivers in order to assess the poverty and need of the family and the child’s ability to benefit from the program, the staff members follow this criteria:

  • Is the child under the age of 10?
  • Is the family within the local poverty index?
  • Does the child have good access to the church? Generally, a child is considered to have "good access" when he or she lives within a 30-minute walk from the church.
  • Is there evidence that the child is likely to be non-transient and stable within the community?
  • Is the child or family being assisted by another child sponsorship organization?

Special priority is given to children who: 

  • suffer from chronic illness and/or malnutrition. 
  • are not otherwise able to attend school.
  • have the potential to progress in school.
  • are orphaned, abandoned or exploited.
  • are living with a single parent or caregiver.
  • have a physical or mental impairment.

If a child is found in need who can benefit from the program but who does not meet all the criteria, an exemption approval can be made in order that the child can be registered.

Compassion International seeks to register children from both Christian and non-Christian families who support participation in Christian activities. They also aim for a gender balance with the children who are registered and a female preference when necessary. Generally, only one child per family is supported so that the benefit of sponsorship is spread as widely as possible throughout the community.

These guidelines help ensure that a long-term relationship can be developed with each child registered in the program, which is key in the holistic development process.

To change or update your personal details, contact our Supporter Relations team on 0800 800 777 or by emailing info@tearfund.org.nz and a staff member will assist you.

Tearfund’s partner Compassion International has been involved in individual child development for over 60 years. Independent research published in the Journal of Political Economy in 2013 studied 1860 children who participated in Compassion International's Child Sponsorship Programme between 1980 and 1992 and found that graduates stayed in school longer, were more likely to have salaried employment, and were more likely to be leaders in their communities and churches than their peers who did not participate in the programme. Once Compassion International sponsored children, these adults are now making a difference in their communities as mums, dads, farmers, pastors, teachers, bus drivers, doctors, even members of parliament.

But Compassion International’s child sponsorship programme equips the child with so much more than just a career path. There are many psychosocial benefits to the programme, as children are taught about healthy coping methods, problem-solving skills, social skills, how to recognise opportunity, and more. Through Compassion International’s holistic model of child development, your sponsor child is being set up with a foundation which will positively impact their life in more ways than one.

Tearfund New Zealand partners with Compassion International, a significant Christian ministry that works through the local church, to give New Zealanders the opportunity to sponsor a child across 25 countries globally. This programme does not receive government funding.

Tearfund’s partner, Compassion International, works at the grassroots level to identify and meet the specific needs of the world's poorest children through church partnership. In doing so, they address the spiritual, economic, social and physical aspects of poverty so that children may become responsible and fulfilled adults.

In addressing the many needs of children by partnering with the local church, child sponsorship also relies heavily on the relational aspect. We encourage you to have a close relationship with your sponsored children through consistent correspondence.

Our holistic ministry is child-focused, Christ-centred and church-based. By adhering to these core principles, Compassion International has become a leader among child development organisations and Tearfund is proud to partner in this work.

Tearfund conduct audits regularly to make sure funds are properly received, tracked and managed, and so does Compassion International. Every financial process is regularly audited both internally and externally. Any time an irregularity is noticed, immediate and appropriate action is taken.

But it's not enough to ensure that funds are reaching your child's development centre and being spent on planned activities. Like you, we want to be sure that real development is taking place in the life of every sponsored child. That’s why Compassion International works hard to monitor and evaluate each local centre in terms of programme effectiveness and long-term impact — right down to the individual child. Local staff become personally acquainted with each sponsored child and his/her unique needs and family circumstances. Every 18-24 months we’ll send you an updated profile on your child and you can also ask how they are doing in your letters.

Your prayers for the health, safety, education and spiritual development of your child are critical. Sponsored children are greatly encouraged when they hear that their sponsors are praying for them.

Remember that the child you sponsor will likely pray for you, too. Often, a sponsored child's family and church join in prayer with the child on behalf of a sponsor. As you get to know each other you’ll probably discover they are consistently praying for you too!

If your sponsor child is based in Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, you will need to adhere to different guidelines when communicating about prayer or Christian faith with your child. Please refer to these specific letter writing guidelines to ensure what you would like to communicate is both appropriate and allowed.

After investing many letters, photos and gifts into a relationship with your sponsored child, it can be devastating if they leave the Child Sponsorship Programme before graduating. If your sponsored child's family withdraws them from the programme, they may write a goodbye letter; however, sometimes this isn't possible. It may take up to two months for us to receive detailed information about an unplanned departure to pass on to you.

There are a number of reasons why a child might leave the programme, including:

  • The family relocates Just like families here, your child's family might move to a different area to pursue work opportunities, to be closer to other family members, because natural disaster has damaged their home or a myriad of other reasons.
  • The family may no longer live close enough to the child development centre for the child to continue to attend the Compassion International programme.
  • The child enters the workforce One of the goals of our programme is to enable each child to complete at least their primary school education and find employment. However, family pressures and perceived opportunities mean that some children leave school and the programme early because they have found a job. Sometimes, the job may simply be helping at home or on the farm, but parents feel that this the best option for their family. Local staff would encourage the family to keep their child at school and in the programme if at all possible, but ultimately respect the parents' decision.
  • The child leaves home Although our programmes aim to release children to simply be children, sometimes their circumstances mean they are forced to enter the adult world prematurely. Their family situation may cause them to run away from home, cultural expectations may cause them to get married, or social circumstances may cause them to enter military service.
  • Religious opposition Some communities are strongly, and even violently, divided by religion. Even when families are in great need, social pressure causes some non-Christian parents to withdraw their child from Compassion International programmes, which are openly Christian and operated on the premises of our local church partners.
  • The family situation improves One of the best reasons for a child leaving the programme is because their family no longer needs Compassion International's help. Your assistance over the years may have helped the family to become self-sustaining, previously unemployed parents may have found work, or their financial situation may have improved in some other way.
  • Sometimes, despite our love and support, children die from illness or accidents When a sponsored child dies, their families, friends, programme staff and sponsors all grieve. The sad reality is that children living in poor communities are more at risk of childhood death.

Sometimes, we do not know the reasons why a child leaves the programme. If a child is absent from the programme for more than four consecutive weeks, Compassion International staff will visit the child's family to find out why, and encourage the family to continue sending their child to the child development centre if possible. If your child has left the programme and you would like more information, please contact us by emailing info@tearfund.org.nz or calling us on 0800 800 777.

When a sponsorship discontinues, your child is made available to others for sponsorship. Tearfund is committed to long-term sponsorship and will cover programme costs during this period so your sponsor child continues to receive programme benefits until the time when a new sponsor relationship begins. However, the child will not receive sponsor letters or birthday/family gifts during this time, as these are personal to your sponsor relationship.

Currently we have child sponsorship available in 25 countries, divided into four areas:

Africa: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda.

Central America and the Caribbean: the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua.

South America: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

Asia: Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Compassion International, Tearfund’s chosen partner for child sponsorship, works with local church partners representing more than 65 denominations. Compassion International’s statement of faith is the same as that of the National Association of Evangelicals: https://www.nae.net/statement-of-faith/

A sponsor is someone like you who has made the decision to personally invest in the life of a child in need.

As a sponsor, you enable your sponsored child to participate in Compassion International's holistic child development model is designed to help reduce the vulnerability of children and their families and build their resilience through year-round nutrition, health, education and income generation support.

Sponsoring a child also provides them with a greater safety net against crisis situations, like famine and drought. Each section is developed and designed contextually to be appropriate and relevant for each cognitive age group.

They also receive benefits such as:

The opportunity to receive an education; through providing the cost of school fees, clothing, and supplies. or even providing tutoring, help with homework, encouragement, and if necessary participation in a literacy programme outside of school.

The opportunity to be healthy; the health of your sponsor child will be monitored and care will be provided as needed. Children are taught about hygiene and how to maintain personal health. In addition, and according to their needs, many of these children receive supplementary food and access to emergency medical care.

The opportunity to develop self confidence and social skills; your sponsor child will be part of a church-based programme where Christian adults offer love, guidance, personal attention, guided recreation and safety.

The opportunity to hear the gospel; your sponsorship provides the child you sponsor with the opportunity to hear the gospel and participate in age-related church/ Sunday school activities through a local church.

In addition, you can help your sponsored child develop a sense of confidence and self-worth with the love you express through letters and prayers. Your relationship with your sponsored child makes you a very important person who has a significant role in his or her development. You stand alongside parents, pastors, teachers, family and friends who are taking an active role in encouraging and developing the child.

As a sponsor, you are assured that there is an authentic connection between you and the specific child you support. The child you sponsor will know your name, write to you and benefit directly from your monthly sponsorship.

We do not require you to sign a statement of faith or a statement regarding your religious beliefs and practices. We do, however, seek sponsors who are aligned with our ministry approach, philosophy, and values.

Tearfund’s child sponsorship programme is run through Compassion International, an evangelical Christian ministry dedicated to the holistic development of children in poverty. We carry out our programmes by partnering with local Christian churches around the world who share our vision for ministry and conduct Christian outreach to local children and families.

We believe in maintaining the dignity of those living in poverty, and for this reason we make every effort to ensure the children are always photographed in clean clothes. Sometimes, this means that several children from the one child development centre may be photographed in the same set of clothes, which are passed from child to child. As a result, the photographs do not show the poor conditions in which these children live, but their families can take pride in the picture of their child that is being sent to strangers on the other side of the world.

It is also important to understand that poverty and malnutrition come in different forms. While malnourishment often appears in the form of weight loss, it is also possible to be overweight and malnourished. One of the most severe forms of malnutrition actually causes the stomach to bloat and appear larger than usual. This is why it is important not to judge the health of a child on appearance alone.

Tearfund and Compassion International are committed to serving the most vulnerable people in the world – those who live under the international poverty line. This is why our focus lies in other regions of the world, like Asia and Africa.

There are many fantastic organisations serving children and families in poverty here in New Zealand and we commend them for all of the work they are doing.

To enquire about cancelling your child sponsorship, please contact our Supporter Relations team at 0800 800 777 and we can discuss your options. You may discontinue your sponsorship at any time, but please let us know.

Your relationship with your sponsored child is valuable. For this reason, we believe it's important for both the sponsor and the sponsored child to continue with a sponsorship if at all possible. However, we also understand that from time to time you may experience difficulty (financial or otherwise) in being able to continue your sponsorship.

If you are considering cancelling your sponsorship because of a change in your circumstances, we have several options we can discuss with you to enable you to continue your sponsorship and relationship with your child.

Our child sponsorship programmes around the world are delivered through local child development centres.

Each centre:

  • Meets regularly
  • Uses local church facilities
  • Provides programme activities for registered and sponsored children
  • Has a committee that provides local accountability and support
  • Has a director employed by the church to manage the day-to-day activities
  • Employs staff and volunteers selected by the local church
  • Operates under Compassion International's carefully monitored standards and guidelines
  • Provides safety for children according to the country-specific Child Protection Policy and relative to the realities of the surrounding community

You probably signed up in the past to our Sponsorship Plus programme which is $10 more a month. You can choose to continue on with Sponsorship Plus (now called Critical Needs) or use the extra funds you were giving towards the rate increase.  

Every Compassion International assisted child will, at some point, require care beyond sponsorship's reach. We therefore offer critical assistance to meet the needs of sponsored children that cannot be met through child sponsorship alone.

Critical needs funds offers sponsors the opportunity to give an additional $10 or more each month to help provide for additional interventions and community development activities at child development centres around the world.

If you would like to add Critical needs funds to your current sponsorship, contact us by emailing info@tearfund.org.nz or 0800 800 777 and a member of our team will assist you.

Your monthly sponsorship payment pays for all the essential needs of the child you sponsor. However, sometimes a child in the project where your child attends will need an urgent operation, loose their house in a flood or have some other urgent need come up and that is where the Critical Needs fund (formerly Sponsorship Plus) comes in. The child you sponsor may not necessarily benefit directly from this fund. 

If you would like to add Critical needs funds to your current sponsorship, contact us by emailing info@tearfund.org.nz or 0800 800 777 and a member of our team will assist you.


Yes. The child you're helping has just one sponsor: you. That's why your prayers, letters and support mean so much to your sponsored child. Even if you choose to sponsor a child as a family or a group (for example, a youth group or a Sunday school class), the child you help will still be relating to your family or group as his/her only sponsor. No other group or individual will also sponsor the child you help.