How do charity, justice and solidarity relate to CS?

In each of the interviews, participants were asked to describe how they define charity, justice, and solidarity, including the differences between the terms. That question laid the groundwork for the rest of the interview in terms of understanding where child sponsorship (CS) fits in, and why it is necessary for people to move beyond child sponsorship to address social injustice and inequity, to engage in political debates, and to cultivate authentic relationships.

Research Voices

A Resource Guide for Further Reading and Learning

“The effort put into charity might be better devoted to pressuring governments to bring about needed change. And governments might be more likely to focus on dealing with poverty if they weren’t being helped by charities.”

– BBC Ethics Guide

BBC. (2014). Ethics Guide. Arguments against charity.

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Bornstein, E. (2009). The Impulse of Philanthropy. Cultural Anthropology, 24(4), 622–651. DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1360.2009.01042.x

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Disquieting gifts book cover

“That donations are capricious and temporary is a functional reality of both dān* and humanitarianism. It is also their beauty, power, and limitation. Impulsive philanthropy does not offer rights to recipients; it offers help and sustenance according to the will of the donor. For donors, gifts may provide merit, meaning, and in some cases even a transformative experience. But in the language of humanitarianism, ‘donations forever’ is absurd.”

– Erica Bornstein


Bornstein, E. (2012). Disquieting Gifts: Humanitarianism in New Delhi. Stanford University Press.

Jefferess, D. (2002). For sale — Peace of mind: (Neo-) colonial discourse and the commodification of third world poverty in world vision’s ‘telethons’. Critical Arts, 16(1), 1–21.

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Nathanson, J. (2013). The pornography of poverty: Reframing the discourse of international aid’s representations of starving children. Canadian Journal of Communication, 38(1), Article 1.

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Change a life, change your own - Book cover

Ove, P. (2018). Change a life, change your own: Child sponsorship, the discourse of development, and the production of ethical subjects. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.

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Rabbitts, F. (2013). ‘Nothing is whiter than white in this world’: Child sponsorship and the geographies of charity [ProQuest Dissertations Publishing].

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“If we can recognize the need for charity but understand that charity should not be viewed as a solution to many problems, then we will be able to see solutions at the root of the issues. Therefore, it is imperative that we dig deeper to identify and understand the root causes of poverty. This can be done, in part, through a justice and solidarity approach to global poverty.” (p. 3)


Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation. (n.d.). Global Citizenship Education: Module 1. Transforming Charity into Solidarity and Justice.

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(retrieved 1 November 2021)

Siegle, L. (2008, November 16). What is wrong with sponsoring a child? The Observer.

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charity vs. solidarity banner from Take 10 Volunteer“Charity work is often based on the premise that marginalized people have some sort of deficit. Those who work in solidarity, on the other hand, understand that conditions of inequity are created by the dominant culture.”

– take 10

Take 10 Volunteer. (2020, September 5). Charity or Solidarity? Take 10 Volunteer.

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image of child in the background with caption

van Eekelen, W. (2013). Revisiting child sponsorship programmes. Development in Practice, 23(4), 468–480. 

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