The children are sponsored through Compassion, International. From their web site:
Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.
Founded by the Rev. Everett Swanson in 1952, Compassion began providing Korean War orphans with food, shelter, education and health care, as well as Christian training.
The religion part of all this is slightly problematic because, though I believe in God, I am not in the least "religious." However, you don't find NON-religious groups working like this on behalf of children, at least not so visibly, and I feel the children are more important than who is taking care of them.
Over the years, I have sponsored many children through other organizations (Foster Parents Plan and Christian Children's Fund), but I liked Compassion because there is so much more encouraged contact with the children. They write frequently, sponsors are encouraged to write frequently (you can even e-mail your child). Photos seem to be sent twice a year and there are often group trips which sponsors can take to visit their child. I believe them to be doing good work and it's worth it, inserting a bit of God into my letters now and then, to help a child.
I am officially sponsoring three children, but there are sponsored children whose sponsors never write to them, so it's possible to become a "correspondence sponsor," which means you are the sponsor of record for the child, the money comes from someone else, but the letters are sent to you. I do feel a bit guilty when the sponsor sends a special monetary gift and I get the thank you letter, but I guess that's the way the system is set up.
In my next entries, I will introduce each of the children, in the order I took them on as a sponsor.