World Vision is an international relief, development, and advocacy organization that is committed to helping children, families, and communities around the world overcome poverty and injustice.
The organization's humble beginnings can be traced back to the evangelical work of Reverend Robert Pierce. In 1947, Pierce traveled to China where he witnessed widespread hunger among the country's orphaned children. While he was there, he met a teacher who introduced him to an abandoned young girl named White Jade. The teacher, who could not care for the child herself, asked Pierce, "What are you going to do about her?" He quickly gave the teacher his last five dollars and promised to send the same amount to her each month in order to help her care for the young child.
Upon his return to the United States in 1950, Pierce launched his personal crusade to help the world's children with the establishment of World Vision. He began by showing graphic photos and films he had made while in Asia to church audiences across the country. He urged people to help support these needy children by figuratively adopting them with promises of regular financial donations. World Vision's first child sponsorship program took off in 1953 in response to the thousands of children who were orphaned during the Korean War. Contributions to the child sponsorship program provided children with life saving food and healthcare as well as basic education and vocational training.
In the 1970s, World Vision adopted a broader assistance model at the community level and created an emergency relief division to help the victims of natural disasters. The organization realized that they could better help impoverished people by tackling the underlying causes of poverty. World Vision began focusing on building and strengthening the infrastructures of poor communities such as sanitation, education, healthcare, and water resources. Leadership training and income generation programs were also established in order to help communities become sustainable.
An important step was to begin teaching families how farm and raise livestock. The primary goal was teach people how to become self-reliant. This was the model for World Vision's relief efforts in Africa during the Ethiopian famine of the 1980s. With the organization's help, villages were able to install water pumps that could provide people with clean water, resulting in a significant drop in the mortality rates of infants in the region. Likewise, the benefits of proper irrigation have helped many communities in the area survive during current drought that has struck the Horn of Africa.
Today, World vision is one of the world's leading relief and development agencies and operates in more than 90 countries across the globe. Their community-based approach focuses on the larger issues facing impoverished communities with the goal of helping poor families build a sustainable future. By combining the donations to particular project areas from sponsors like you, World Vision is able to work with a large community for extended periods, usually 15 years or more. This allows the community to achieve their desired development objectives that will benefit sponsored children, their families, and the local population as a whole. World Vision sees the child sponsorship program as a relationship-building tool. The community, the organization and the sponsors all grow together as they struggle to identify and deal with the effects and deeper causes of poverty.
For more information on World Vision and their child sponsorship program, visit www.wvi.org.