Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
World Vision, founded in the United States in 1950, is an international Christian relief and development organization with a mandate to promote the well being of all people – especially children. Working on six continents, World Vision is one of the largest Christian relief and development organisations in the world.
World Vision was started by a young Christian minister preaching in China who felt compassion for the children in his ministry. He gave all he had to a little girl whose widowed mother could not afford to send her to the mission school. His $15 was enough to enroll White Jade into school and he pledged to send money every month for her continued support. That minister was Dr. Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision, and his spontaneous act was the beginning of the global child sponsorship program.
The organization grew to care for orphans throughout Asia and eventually embraced larger issues of community development and advocacy for the poor as part of its basic mission to help children and their families build sustainable futures. In 2003, World Vision offered material, emotional, social and spiritual support to 100 million people in 99 countries.
World Vision's organizational structure operates as a partnership of interdependent national offices, each overseen by their own boards or advisory councils. A common mission statement and shared core values bind the partnership offices and members togather. Each partner abides by common policies and standards and holds each other accountable through an ongoing system of peer review.
The partnership offices – located in Geneva, Bangkok, Nairobi, Cyprus, Los Angeles, and San Josť – coordinate strategic operations of the organization and represent World Vision in the international arena. Each national office enjoys an equal voice in the organization's governance, erasing traditional distinctions between the developed and developing world.
An international board of directors oversees the World Vision Partnership. The full board meets twice a year to appoint senior officers, approve strategic plans and budgets, and determine international policy.
The chairperson of the international board is Denis St. Armour of Canada. The international president and chief executive officer is Dr. Dean R. Hirsch .
About 80% of World Vision's funding comes from private sources, including individuals, corporations and foundations. The remainder comes from governments and multilateral agencies. Aside from cash contributions, World Vision accepts gifts-in-kind, typically food commodities, medicine, and clothing donated through corporations or government agencies.
Approximately half of World Vision's programmes are funded through child sponsorship. Individuals, families, churches and other groups sponsor specific children or specific community projects in their own country or abroad. Sponsors send funds each month to provide support for sponsored children or projects.
World Vision contributes to people’s needs in five major areas; emergency relief, education, health care, economic development, and promotion of justice. World Vision activities include transformational development, emergency relief, strategic initiatives, public awareness campaigns and witnessing for Christ.
Transformational development occurs through focusing on improvement of children's lives. This process first helps people and their communities recognise the resources that lie within themselves to make change possible. With support from World Vision, communities transform themselves by carrying out their own development projects in health care, agriculture production, water projects, education, micro-enterprise development, advocacy and other community programs.
World Vision provides emergency relief to people whose lives are endangered by disasters or conflict and who need immediate, skilled assistance. World Vision attempts to respond to all major emergencies around the world themselves or in cooperation with partner agencies. For example, World Vision has responded to famine in Ethiopia and North Korea, hurricanes in Central America, the tsunami in the Indian Ocean nations, earthquakes in El Salvador, India, Taiwan and Turkey, and war refugees in Kosovo, Chechnya, Sierra Leone, Angola, and East Timor.
World Vision also addresses the complex, systematic factors that perpetuate poverty by promoting justice. World Vision supports community awareness of the collective ability to address unjust practices and begin working for change. World Vision speaks out on issues such as child labor, debt relief for poor nations, and the use of children as combatants in armed conflict. World Vision International has endorsed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as fundamental expressions of the freedoms and responsibilities that should exist in every country. World Vision fosters opportunities to help reduce conflict levels and to contribute to the peaceful resolution of hostilities and reconciliation of disputes.
As a Christian organisation, World Vision participates in strategic initiatives with Christian leaders and lay people of all denominations through conferences, consultations, training programmes and various educational opportunities. World Vision is an ecumenical organization willing to partner with all Christian churches.
World Vision encourages public awareness about the needs of others, the causes of poverty, and the nature of compassionate response. These efforts include collaboration with media and community participation in fundraising. In all its communications, World Vision upholds the dignity of suffering children and families in presenting explanations of the causes and consequences of poverty, war, neglect, and abuse.
World Vision believes witnessing for Christ is a fundamental part of their relief work. The organization believes that God, in the person of Jesus, offers hope of renewal, restoration, and reconciliation. World Vision seeks to express this message through "life, deed, word, and sign". Yet, World Vision is respectful of other faiths. It does not engage in proselytism or religious coercion of any kind. World Vision's programs and services are provided without regard to race, ethnic origin, gender, or religion. All of its staff are required to sign a statement affirming their belief in Jesus Christ, and background checks are often made with an individual's pastor or priest.
In 2003, World Vision was active in the following countries:
- Latin America
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