Call to sponsor child close to home

17:43, Jan 30 2013

A child sponsorship scheme, akin to programmes in developing countries, is vital for Canterbury children, a charity says.

Variety's Kiwi Kid Sponsorship Programme, which works in a similar way to World Vision's child sponsorship programme for children in developing countries, allows people to sponsor New Zealand children living below the poverty line. Sponsors donate $35 a month to a child of their choice.

Birthright Christchurch manager Noeline Allan said the programme was vital for Christchurch.

She said many of the families Birthright worked with lived on about $20,000 a year, and rising rents in post-earthquake Christchurch had hit some households hard.

"They are expected to raise children to be well-balanced, functioning adults and they just don't have the resources."

Most of the 35 children Birthright Christchurch has recommended for sponsorship are in school.


"At that age, better-resourced families will be getting their children into sport and identifying their hobbies. For many families, children can't play sport because they can't afford the shoes, uniforms and the registration fees for the club," Allan said.

Variety chief executive Lorraine Taylor said the programme was needed because many Cantabrians were struggling since the quakes.

"We had one family who were fine until the earthquake forced them to relocate," she said.

"Work was scarce and the parents had to upskill. [Sponsorship] would be helpful for them until they get back on their feet again."

Christchurch Anglican Diocese social justice enabler Jolyon White said the plan was not the solution. "Christchurch is struggling with all sorts of issues. It's going to get worse until we resolve the housing problems," he said.

"The structural problems that cause child poverty are not solved by charity. It's only covered up."

There are 39 Christchurch children up for sponsorship.

The Press