One couple from Melbourne have found a unique way to make child sponsorship a family affair

Cliff Dawson visiting ICC in 2010
When Cliff Dawson visited ICC’s projects in November 2010, it was an experience that changed his life. 

“It was the time when my second grandchild was born,” he recalls. He remembers seeing the children and getting to hold a few in one of the baby rooms. “It really brings tears to your eyes,” he adds, “having the experience of how lucky we are in Australia, and these are children that are abandoned and disabled, and disadvantaged on all fronts.” 

Upon his return home, Cliff knew he needed to do something. So, he and his wife, Liz, decided to sponsor a child. 

Initially, the Dawson’s took up one sponsorship, then they took up a second. Soon, the couple decided to link their sponsorships to their grandchildren. 

“It was both to give back and give thanks for what we have got,” he says. “But also to build a connection for our family to say we are blessed, and we want to bless you by linking a sponsor child to your family on your behalf.” 

Over the course of the next few years, four more grandchildren were born, and four more sponsorships were taken up. The Dawson’s now create a collage of the photos they receive and are working on a book containing all of the child updates for each of the six sponsor children to share with their grandchildren. 

“They can look at the photos, hear the stories, and learn that the sponsor children are just like them and being cared for in China.”
Cliff and Liz’s long term hope with these sponsorships is to model for their family about giving and caring for others. Cliff says it’s never too early to start that conversation with your family. 

“As our grandchildren get older, we get to talk about the children in China...And how we can make a difference” 

“The awareness that children have…they soak everything up all the time,” he shares. “They understand at a young age and it’s up to us as parents and grandparents to have those conversations and invest in them and, as their understanding grows, to teach them lessons and explain to them about life.” 

“And,” he adds, “as our grandchildren are getting older, we get to talk about the children in China, why they are disabled, what’s happened and God’s care for them and how we can make a difference.” 

The Dawson’s believe they have been blessed and are actively involved in other charitable work, along with what they give to ICC. 

“We see this as a legacy. We want to finish well,” says the soon-to-be-retired accountant. “And we want to encourage our family to keep thinking of others…and sponsorship is a tangible way to model this.” 

Find more about ICC’s Child Sponsorship Programme