Long Distance Sponsorship
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AFNonlus has 100 active projects in 50 countries around the world, where it provides support to children suffering from malnourishment and who often have health problems. This support is given in centers equipped with outpatient clinics, child care centers, preschool, after-school activities for adolescents, workshops for mothers, and provides real development and self-development opportunities to beneficiaries leading to their full self-efficiency. There are also literacy programs for adults which help provide stability amongst families.

Through their food programs, they seek to restore health to malnourished children and provide sufficient food with at least one meal per day at their centers and distributing meal boxes to families. They also have educational programs, which provide not only regular school lessons but also educational support and training programs, as well as educational materials and school uniforms. Children and their families are also given medical checkups and medicines are distributed to them.

For the children, becoming a sponsored child means breaking free from the traps of poverty and becoming a person essential to the development of his country. For the sponsor, it is an act of openness that connects people and worlds that are completely different.



The minimum annual cost for Long-Distance Sponsorship is Euro 336.00 which can be paid in a lump sum, in 6-month installments of Euro 168, 3-month installments of Euro 84 or monthly installments of Euro 28.


The aim of the sponsorship is to provide support to the child until he becomes independent, but the minimum required sponsorship to ensure the child’s stability and continuity with the program is at least 3 years. After that period, the sponsor may withdraw himself from the sponsorship by sending a letter or email or by calling our offices. In case in which the sponsored child goes out of the program because he has achieved full independence to take care of himself, or due to unforeseen events in the program, we shall provide the documentation for a new sponsorship (sponsorship Substitution) which the sponsor may accept or refuse by contacting us (phone, fax, email, letter).


All the contributions received for the program are registered in a database and are sent to the indicated recipient and for various programs through bank transfer twice a year (in November and May). AFNonlus deducts 10% of the contributions they receive for organizational costs. The remaining 90% of the contributions are managed by their local collaborators to provide each child in the Sponsorship program with the necessary food, education and medical care for him to lead a decent life and uphold his early childhood rights.



The project’s local collaborator manages the communications between the child and the sponsor. There cannot be direct communication between the child and the sponsor to protect the privacy of both. Any communications for the child should be sent via email or post directly to the local organization and should be sent to the address indicated in the child’s information form that the sponsor received during the assignment of the sponsorship. Italian can be used in all of the AFNonlus programs except for programs in India and Lithuania, where only English can be used in writings. All missives will be translated in the local language by the local project administrators. If you find the updates on the project insufficient or inadequate, please contact our office so we may check the situation together and adopt measures, if needed.


The sponsor can visit the child and his community prior agreement with the local project administrator to assess the meeting together and arrange the travel. The sponsored children however, cannot come to Italy due to legal problems in leaving the country of origin and entry in Italy. Furthermore, this might also bring difficulties to the child when he goes back to living in a very difficult context after his stay in Italy, where he receives much attention and sees a very different social context.


AFN does not send gift boxes on behalf of the sponsors because these often don’t arrive at the destination or have very expensive customs costs. If the sponsor wants to give a gift to the child, he may send money using the same procedures for the payment of the sponsorship and indicate the specific reason for the said payment, and this shall be communicated to the local project administrator.

5. If you are living Outside of Italy, you may contact our collaborator in your nation

Start a sponsorship

Child sponsorship:  Euro 336.00 per year

Project sponsorship: Euro 200.00 per year

You may choose to sponsor a child or a project (see list of Sponsorship Programs at the bottom)

If you are living Outside of Italy, you may contact our associate in your country



These two terms basically mean the same thing.

However, one can’t speak of a real and true adoption. It is more correct to speak of “long-distance sponsorship”.
The projects developed and promoted by AFNonlus are addressed to children who often have families, but need help with food, education and medical care due to the serious social and economic problems their countries are facing. Some projects provide housing and family help for street children or families of children at risks.
Before starting a new program, our volunteers make a feasibility study with the collaboration of the local population to understand and determine whether a child indeed needs to enter the program. Generally, it is in this phase that an initial number of beneficiaries is determined. The children’s entry and priority in the program is determined by their and their families’ social and economic situation. The number of the recipients may grow depending on the available human and economic resources.
The interested person should pay an initial amount via postal or bank transfer, and specifies in the payment that it is a new sponsorship, as well as the country or area where he wants to direct the funds and/or the sex of the child. These requests shall be taken into account in determining the sponsorship except if there are emergency situations in other areas or there’s a temporary unavailability of children for sponsorship in the chosen area.
The Long-Distance Sponsorship Office of AFNonlus is in charge of the general coordination of the projects and is located in Grottaferrata (province of Rome), while there are highly-motivated and well-trained collaborators in the actual locations who implement the development and support activities and monitor the child and his family.
Within thirty/forty days from the date of the initial payment, the Sponsorship office will send the sponsor the child’s sponsorship project information sheet as well as his information sheet containing initial information and photo. Each sponsor is given a personal code, which he must indicate in subsequent payments and communications.

Between November and February of each year, the local project administrators will send updates and photos of the child and program he is taking part.

A letter describing the general status of the project will also be sent between June and August of each year.

The regular communications from the projects shall imply that payments for the programs have been received.
All contributions for an individual project are transferred to the project’s location via bank transfer every six months. The money reaches the child through the social centers where the project is implemented and is received in the form of services provided by the same social center (for children: educational programs, disease preventions and food, professional trainings; for families: literacy programs, hygiene, development of family life; establishment of parent committees for talks with local institutions, environmental and housing improvements, micro-credit).

In some cases, especially when it is still not possible to create a service center, the money goes directly to families, who are closely monitored by our local collaborators accompanying them or providing counselling.
The first and most common way for the sponsors to check the progress of the programs is through the regular updates and information sent by our local program administrators, who are mostly members of the Focolare Movement (a charity organization and church and is found in 182 countries).

All management and accounting operations are carried out in observance of current Italian laws and are subject to checks of competent authorities.
Each sponsor has the right to visit the AFNonlus’ Long-Distance Sponsorship Office in Grottaferrata (province of Rome) to see documentations on the receipt and transfers of contributions, communications with the local project collaborators and their yearly accounting of the expenses. Moreover, they can always, and it is a pleasure, if the sponsors come to the location to personally check the project’s progress in terms of growth and progress on self-sufficiency of the persons (children and their families).
At the expiration of the coverage of the sponsorship’s previous payment, a new payment shall be made through postal or bank transfer and indicating the personal code in the payment. For economic and organizational reasons, we do not send a coverage expiry notification with pre-printed payment forms. Blank payment forms may be requested at any post office.
In some countries, internet connections are often suspended even for long periods and it’s impossible for the local collaborators to reply to emails sent by the sponsors;

Due to the amount of work that the local project administrators have to do daily to support the children and their families;

Because many of our local collaborators have jobs and they do their work with long-distance sponsorship during their free hours, weekends or during their vacation period, therefore, they have little time to reply to emails because their priority is to carry out the daily tasks for the long-distance sponsorship.
Generally, the child is aware of the help he is receiving and from whom he receives them. However, sometimes, children who receive help through the support provided by the program to their family, and therefore do not have the social experience of the service centers, knowing that their parents are not able to provide for their needs might bring discomfort to them. Therefore, to help the child to grow with high esteem towards his parents, we leave the decision to the parents if they want and how they want to let the child know of the sponsorship.
To promote the growth of the child. This will be achieved through the development programs where the child is given the opportunity to have access to adequate food, educational and training programs, disease prevention and healthcare while staying with his biological family and living in his cultural roots. Although our programs are focused on individual child and his family, we try to reach out to children of the entire community (favela, shanty, village, etc.) through global programs in which parents often participate as well. Through this, the child’s growth and development are integrated with his family’s and that of the entire village without exclusions or privileges. Helping families attain self-sufficiency also means prevention of child abandonment.
Yes, this is very welcome for the child and his family in the perspective of mutuality and gratefulness. The letter should be sent to the local project administrator.
Long-distance sponsorship is a network with three main nodes: the child and his family, the sponsor, the team that operates in the area. An essential part of this is the communication among these three subjects.

It is a precious exchange which paves the way to “experience” the poverty and needs that we sometimes are not aware of. But not only that. Often, as time goes by, our beneficiaries prove to be not only persons of great need, but go on to become persons capable of enriching their culture and are profound humans.
Ideally, yes.

However, sometimes, the child’s family which transfers to a city enticed by the prospect of a better life, suddenly decides to go back to its native village. We try with what’s possible to find them and bring them back and continue the program. But this is not always possible. In this case, we propose a new child as beneficiary of the program.
It’s our local collaborators who are the first to feel disappointed in situations like this, as they see their efforts to help and promote development shatter. We believe, however, that these circumstances are a further proof that humanitarian help, and therefore, long-distance sponsorship, are much needed in developing countries.
Sponsorship is presumed to last for at least three years. However, in our experience, support needs to be provided continually for several years, often until the child reaches adult age or until he becomes self-sufficient. If it is deemed that the child no longer needs economic support, our local collaborator notifies the sponsor, who generally accepts to divert his support to another child of the same or new project. If the sponsor decides to stop his sponsorship, we kindly ask the sponsor to notify us as soon as possible to allow us time to assign the child to another sponsor so the child continues to receive the support he needs.
We deduct 9% from the amount of contributions we receive, and these serve to cover costs for rent and management of offices (equipment, expense reimbursement for the volunteers, phone bills, mails, office materials, information-advertising materials, bank transfer fees, domestic travels of the voluntaries, etc.
Because we’ve learned that mails from Italy are more guaranteed to arrive at the destination. We assure you, however, that all mails have been prepared in the program’s country.
It is definitely possible. Rather, it is very welcome. It is an occurrence that often happens especially for projects in countries that are relatively near or near to tourist destinations. However, it is always necessary to make arrangements first with your local collaborator to study individual situations and avoid misunderstandings with the children’s parents.
We don’t recommend this. This is because first, for a child to leave his country, even temporarily, requires complicated paperwork as well as an adult companion. Secondly, experiencing life in a consumerism culture like ours might affect the child and give him discomfort and difficulties even when he has returned to his home. This would not be the case if the child needs medical care or surgery and these are not possible to obtain in his country. In this case, it is not only recommended, but rather, it is appropriate to let the child come to Italy, even though obtaining the relevant permits is not simple.
We have already had many positive experiences with this, but this should be arranged well with the local collaborator and the International Secretary.
We do not recommend this. In many countries, many difficulties arise from customs clearance of the packages, and the costs are very high. Sometimes, a gift box that arrives to a child could involuntarily cause discrimination with the children in the project.
pacchi postali comporta difficoltà doganali e costi molto alti. Talvolta, l’arrivo di un pacco per un bambino ha involontariamente creato discriminazioni con altri bambini del progetto.
No, because sending money in mails is not allowed, and sanctions are imposed to the organizations promoting the projects. Moreover, in many countries, mails coming from Western Countries are subject to unwelcome checks and theft. If you want to send extra contribution, you may do it by using the same procedure used to pay your yearly contribution and specify the reason in your payment.

Information on Long-Distance Sponsorship projects


Select a project and learn about the current activities we have in various countries worldwide.



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