A few days after Cyclone Idai hit southern Africa, killing more than 1,300 people and displacing tens of thousands, I landed in Beira.

On the eastern coast of Mozambique, it was the city worst hit by ferocious winds that went on to rip through Malawi and Zimbabwe last March. The damage was evident in every street, in every community. I met countless people who had lost relatives and had their homes destroyed. Their stories, each unique yet heartbreakingly similar, were devastating to hear.

World Vision was on the ground immediately after the cyclone hit, delivering emergency food, setting up child protection projects, and ensuring access to clean water and healthcare – our staff meeting the needs of the most vulnerable in their time of need.

But aid workers are being stretched to breaking point as extreme disasters become more frequent and severe. More people are living in disaster-prone areas than ever before and climate change is making the threat much worse. Global leaders have grappled with the crisis but so far failed to make real strides. Meanwhile, children in some of the world’s poorest communities are already living in fear of its deadly consequences.


Last year saw a record number of people displaced by natural disasters. Climate and weather patterns are changing, becoming more unpredictable, severe and un-natural’. Across the world, the impact of quakes, tsunamis, typhoons, floods and droughts are slowing economic growth, undermining development, and trapping millions of people in poverty. In 2019 alone,

Meanwhile, across the Pacific Islands places like Fiji are already relocating villages due to sea level rise. Indonesia is looking to move its highly-populated capital city from Jakarta due to the threat of flooding.

Disasters impact hunger and exacerbate poverty. The World Bank estimates that disasters forced 26 million people into poverty in 2018. By 2050, an extra 50 million people could be at risk of undernourishment because of climate change.

All of this is making the challenges humanitarian organisations like World Vision face ever greater. Across the world, the communities we work with are on the frontlines of the climate crisis. For them, it isn’t merely on the horizon. It’s a terrifying reality.

Sharing God’s love

As a Christian organisation, we believe we have a mandate to stand with the world’s most vulnerable and reflect God’s love. On our own, we cannot make sense of the relentless devastation we see all over the world. It can be easier to look away and not think about the suffering families are facing every single day.

But when we decide to follow Jesus, we commit to a different response – a reason to keep hoping and a call to keep loving. Throughout the Bible we see that God’s heart of compassion is with the poor and the outcast. World Vision’s founder, Bob Pierce, prayed a simple prayer: Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.” That’s still our prayer today. Our faith means we cannot stay silent.

We must respond to God’s call to care for the vulnerable. Jesus said: Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). We are compelled by God’s love to be His hands and His feet in this world. We can make a difference.

Since we serve the God of unimaginable possibilities, we can’t give up. By keeping up hope and continuing to reach out in love, we live out the truth that what is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27).

Give, act, pray

We invite our supporters to join with us on this journey, either through giving, acting or praying. We believe that when individuals, families and churches stand with the forgotten, the lonely, the refugees and the poor, they are agreeing with God’s heart that things are not as they should be. No one should be homeless; no child should be hungry; no mother should give birth without medical care. Every person, made in the image of God, deserves dignity and fullness of life.

  • Pray. Prayer is at the centre of all we do. From Bob Pierce’s prayer almost 70 years ago, to now, it’s crucial that our work is underpinned by faithful, relentless prayer. God cares deeply about the vulnerable, and wants to step in. We are so grateful for the thousands of Christians around the world who join us in praying for our work every day.
  • Act. We also advocate alongside and on behalf of people whose voices are not heard enough. We work with the government, encouraging the UK to do all it can to ensure no child is left behind, no matter where they live. We’re delighted when our supporters join us in speaking to their MPs or sign up to our campaigns.
  • Give. The generosity of our supporters, many of whom donate sacrificially, is what keeps us going, and we are incredibly grateful. There are lots of different ways to give. Child sponsorship allows individuals or families to build a relationship with a child in the developing world, while supporting that child’s whole community. Donations to Raw Hope help save and protect children living in some of the world’s most dangerous places – countries ripped apart by conflict and deadly diseases – while our emergency fund meets the needs of communities that face terrible catastrophes.

Lives transformed

This support allows us to stand with vulnerable communities day in and day out, impacting the lives of more than 200 million vulnerable children by tackling the root causes of poverty. In 2017 alone, our staff reached more than four million people with clean water, more than 10 million children with education and other services, while 139 million people received support in the wake of emergencies and natural disasters.

Each child reached is another life transformed, and another future brightened. Children like the now Archbishop of Kenya, Jackson Oli Sapit, who was born into a Maasai community and sponsored through World Vision. He received both simple and life-changing gifts – from his first pair of shoes to access to health care.

World Vision supported his family through the severe drought in 1976, providing food to feed his entire family during that terrible time. When the rains finally came, our staff then helped his family to grow their own crops, making sure they could stand on their own two feet.

Now Archbishop Jackson ministers to five million Anglicans across Kenya, and in his own words: When I look back at my life, and how far I’ve come, I am so grateful for every person I’ve met and every experience I’ve had along the way – not least my time as a sponsored child. I know first-hand what a difference it makes to children living in some of the world’s hardest places.”

How you can get involved

We’d love for you to join us in our mission, whether that’s by sponsoring a child, committing to praying for and with us, or adding your voice to our campaigns. Our latest experience, and one we’re really excited about, is Chosen, where we’re putting the power to choose their sponsor into the hands of children, flipping the traditional method on its head.

When individuals, churches and families in the UK and around the world sign up, their photo will be sent to a community where World Vision works. The community will then gather for a celebration where children choose from a display of potential sponsors.

This reflects our belief that children have the power to change their own lives and their communities, and to touch the lives of their sponsors. Chosen introduces children to the first of many empowering choices they will now have through child sponsorship, so they can become agents of lasting change.

We are already seeing God move in miraculous ways through Chosen. If your church would like to be involved, find out more at www​.world​vi​sion​.org​.uk/​c​hosen