sponsor a child

The mum of 13 who has room for more

“Sponsorship is so simple but it changes lives.”

Larger family life

It was never our intention to have a large family. Of course, you could argue over the figure that turns a medium-sized family into a large one. With 13 children in ours, I think my husband Mike and I can safely say that we crossed over into ‘large-family territory’ long ago!

It was child number six when we finally realised just how much we loved another child coming into our family – not just Mike and me, but all the family rejoiced when a new baby joined us. We're now mum and dad to 13 children ranging in age from 2 to 23, and we’re also the proud grandparents to one-year-old Oscar.


As well as our 13 children, we also sponsor four children around the world, two through Compassion UK. We began sponsoring Opisia nine years ago when she was just eight years old. Her very first letters would ask: “When will you come and see me?”

They still do.

Compassion sponsors Tania and Caitlin hold up photo of sponsored child

Opisia was being raised by her father and grandmother in Uganda. Her father was the main wage earner and her grandmother was a subsistence farmer. Two years ago, as our family sat on the beach facing the Adriatic Sea during our two-month long travels, Opisia sent us the very sad news that her father had been killed in a road traffic accident. Her grandmother is extremely poorly and life is difficult. The vast difference between her life and ours in that moment was overwhelming.

Opisia’s constant gratitude towards our support is sobering. Sponsorship makes such a difference to her life – a life that is a world away from that which my children know. It is a financial amount that is so little to us, yet creates a completely new path of opportunity for her. We have recently started to sponsor a teenage boy in Haiti. We are still getting to know him.

Sponsor Tania and her family

Last year, my daughter Caitlin and I were due to fly out to Uganda to visit Opisia, but our own circumstances took a tragic turn. In the space of five months, I lost my father and my 34-year-old brother to cancer, both during weeks when we were due to fly to Uganda. The pain of losing two of the closest members of my childhood family is raw and indescribable, yet we had all the benefits of living in the developed world to help us. Both men had been wonderfully cared for in hospital; I had a warm, secure home to return to and a job I could rely on.

As a mother, watching my children experience the loss of not one but two close family members was heart-breaking enough. That my children’s grief was not further compounded by hunger, sickness or having to find work to earn money to support the family was a blessing I took for granted. In fact, it was something I didn’t even consider – until I compared it to Opisia, whose experience of life, death and grief has been far, far different to my own.

How could I even begin to empathise with circumstances I know so little about? How, when we have so much, do we appreciate so little? How can Opisia exhibit an enthusiasm and a gratitude that I still cannot match? And how is it that Opisia, who is blossoming into a wonderful, intelligent, compassionate young woman, is helping me more than she knows, without realising it?

The reality is that our monthly donation provides Opisia with more than just an education, food, clothing and healthcare. It provides her with hope – something so intangible yet so meaningful. A word often glibly said yet incredibly powerful and undoubtedly vital in shaping lives.

And we must never underestimate the power of hope.

Because as long as a person can hope, they can keep moving forward, no matter what the circumstances.

You can give hope to a child, like the hope Tania has given to Opisia, by sponsoring a child this Mother’s Day. 

Give a child hope today



By Tania Sullivan. The Sullivans blog about Larger Family Life here. Caitlin and Tania have rearranged their visit to Uganda for a third time so watch this space for stories and updates as they meet Opisia.  

WORDS : Compassion UK, Tania Sullivan

PHOTOS : Ella Dickinson



If Poverty Could Speak to You, What Would it Say?

“Poverty began to speak to me as a child. I felt I was nothing … Nobody cared to know my name,” remembers Richmond from Uganda.


“We Will Stop at Nothing”

Meet our incredible local church partners serving their communities during a global pandemic.


Reflections on a Visit to Ghana

We had the opportunity to interview Bishop Ray Veira from House of Praise, Church of God of Prophecy, following his trip to Ghana.


Running Out of Patience with Corruption

Meet a woman with an extraordinary passion for fighting injustice.


Why this Archers’ Actress Loves Being ‘Granny June’ to her Sponsored Child

Get to know national treasure, and one of radio’s most loved voices, June Spencer.


The Tear-jerking Meeting 11 Years in The Making

“She appeared out of nowhere, I didn’t see her coming! But she just threw herself at me. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment.”


Ebola Outbreak: Pray With Us

Lift up families in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda following the latest Ebola outbreak.

, ,


When Charitable Giving Makes a Demonstrable, Proven Difference

Committing to a charity is an important decision. With all of the choices available to you, it can seem bewildering.


Christmas Card Competition Winner!

We’re excited to announce that Kristina of @flowersfadedesign has won our competition.


#SponsorSelfieDay is September 15: Join the Global Movement!

On Saturday, September 15, post a selfie or video on social media with a photo of the child you sponsor.


What’s in Your School Bag? 15 Photos from Around the World

At the start of a new term, children from Togo to Peru give us a peek into their school rucksacks!


Inspirational Quotes by Mother Teresa

As we honour Mother Teresa’s birthday, let these inspirational quotes about mothers, children and compassion remind us of God’s call.