When Phillip Baskerville describes Palesa, the 14-year-old he sponsors near Johannesburg, South Africa, he talks as if he’s sitting across from her. That’s because he does sit across from her—from behind his home computer in Manhattan. For 60 minutes weekly, Baskerville videochats with Palesa, via the Infinite Family program (www.infinitefamily.org). Sponsors (for $40/month) interact with kids in South Africa, most of whom have lost one or both of their parents to AIDS. The heart of the program is the videoconference, when sponsor and child talk “face to face.” Baskerville tried other sponsoring programs but says that none provided such an emotional connection: “[Palesa is] not just a picture; [she’s] an animated, sometimes cantankerous 14-year-old.”
The Next Best Thing to Being There
Sponsoring a child abroad gets a thoroughly modern online update.