10 questions Wow, you all had a lot of great questions for Sathy! It was hard to pick just 10, so I picked those that hadn’t come up before on this blog and that I know Sathy could offer special insight on.


1. Having lived in India and the U.S. and having seen poverty and abundance firsthand, how do you and your wife help your son to have a healthy outlook on the vast differences between the two? (Lindy)

I’ve never experienced poverty firsthand. My real experience is seeing poverty through Compassion.

Just like my parents did, my wife and I try our best to remind him as often as possible that there are people/kids around the world who lack basic necessities like food, clothing and shelter, which we often take for granted. There were times when he would say that he wants to help those kids.

I guess we just sow the seeds …

2. How many letters and case studies does Compassion process? (Juli Jarvis)

A lot! An average of 54,465 case studies per month, and an average of 282,490 letters per month!

3. What is the process for a child’s case study to be updated? Will we begin receiving yearly case studies soon? If they remain at every two years, will they at least become more detailed and personal? (Alyson and Juli Jarvis)

A case study update for a child is due when the last case study form is between 18 to 24 months old.

The church partners send in the case study form and photographs to the field office, and the field office staff processes them and submits the forms and photographs electronically to our Global Ministry Center in Colorado Springs.

I don’t think we’re ready yet to do yearly updates, but we’ve started discussions on ways to redesign the case study form from an outcome perspective. We don’t have a definite date for that yet. 

4. How does the India office handle letter writing? Does each individual project have its own process?

If a sponsor writes to their child very often, say two to three times a month, do these letters get delivered individually or does the child get a couple at the same time? 

Does India have a child respond to every letter from the sponsors, or is it heading that way? (Alyson and Sara Benson)

Most of the child development centers in India have a similar process. All sponsored children write letters to their sponsors once every four months, and in addition to that the children write letters in response to sponsor letters and gifts.

India and a few other field countries have their children respond to every letter from the sponsors, but until now they did not have the tools to track the responses.

We are in the process of installing software in each field office to help them track their child and sponsor correspondence efficiently. 

5. What are some of the most interesting or meaningful things you’ve seen (or heard of) being sent by sponsors with their letters?  (Renee)

Finger puppets! At least for me it was interesting, because I didn’t know finger puppets existed. The ones that I saw were Noah’s Ark puppets.

Make sure whatever you send fits into an envelope no larger than 8″ x 11″ and 1/8″ thick, and please check with our contact center (800-336-7676) if you have questions. :-)

Tips for mailing small gifts to your sponsored child.

6. If I am sponsoring a Hindu child and make Christian references and add Bible verses in my letters, will I offend the child and their family? Will they think I am pushing my religion on them? (Kalaya)

No, not at all, as long as you don’t condemn their religion in any way.

We partner with churches, and the parents are told by our church partners that their children will be receiving Christian education. Some church partners even have the parents sign a consent form. 

7. Has Compassion as an organization ever come across much persecution for preaching the gospel in a mostly non-Christian society? Do parents often withhold their children from attending the center, even though they badly need the help, because they do not wish for their child to be exposed to Christianity? (Mel)

Compassion as an organization has not faced any persecution, but our church partners have been impacted by it.

Our church partners have a good reputation in the communities for the good work that they do for their children, so they’re mostly protected by the local community.

8. I sponsor a child in India and have wondered about the school system. Do children attend grade school up to eighth grade and then on to four years of high school? (Mary)

Children start in pre-primary or kindergarten/nursery when they’re 3 years of age for two years.

  • The first year is LKG (Lower Kindergarten) and UKG (Upper Kindergarten).
  • Primary: Children age 6 start in class 1 or first standard. (Grades are called “class” or “standard.” Primary school goes till class 5.
  • Middle: Classes/standards sixth to eighth.
  • Secondary: Classes/standards ninth and 10th.
  • Higher Secondary: 11th and 12th standard, also known as “10 plus 2″ or simply “plus two.”

9. I have a question about marriages in India today. Do the bride’s parents have to provide a dowry, and if so, does this cause a great financial crisis for them? What is Compassion doing to combat the problem of child brides in India? (Mary and Heather)

Yes, dowry is highly prevalent among the Hindus, and it creates a lot of financial stress for the parents. That’s why a girl child is considered a burden, because they have to pay the dowry to get their girls married off.

Dowry is illegal in India if it’s reported that it was demanded or given as a precondition of marriage.

There are still child brides below the age of 18, which occur mostly in the rural areas of India. It’s left up to the church partners to raise awareness about this issue.  

10. If a sponsored child leaves the Compassion program, can they return to the program at a later date if their circumstances allow?

If a child who has left the program returns to the program in another area of their country at a later date, would the original sponsor be notified and given the chance to sponsor the child again? (Shelly)

Yes, whenever a child is reinstated into our program, the first thing Compassion does is to try and locate the sponsor who was linked to the child. 

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  1. Feb 20, 2009
    at 1:11 pm

    Thank you for the answers in this post. I’m putting in my vote for more detailed and personalized updates, whenever they are done. When I first began sponsoring, I received a letter telling me how one of my girls in DR was progressing. A couple of years later, I received a more generalized letter; since then, I get the updated photos, and that’s all, from each of the countries where we sponsor children.

    Please don’t say, “Ask your sponsored child.” I’ve asked my girls in DR how they’re doing in school, and I got, “Fine” or “Okay.” It’s hard to know how to encourage them, when we get no information.

  2. Feb 20, 2009
    at 3:18 pm

    Thank you so much! Great questions and answers! We appreciate you Sathy!

  3. Allen
    Feb 20, 2009
    at 4:29 pm

    Vicki,
    I’m with you: the more personalized the updates, the better!

    But, I have noticed that when the pictures are updated, the case study profiles on the website *are* updated as well. It’s just that the pictures are the only thing that are actually sent out to the sponsors.

    Another thing I’ve done that has been helpful is to e-mail the Compassion staff and ask for my sponsored children’s best/favorite subject in school — they were able to supply that information for the majority of my children. (There have been a couple of times that they had not been given that information.)

    Maybe you can get more information through one of those routes…

  4. crystalgib
    Feb 21, 2009
    at 11:41 pm

    thanks for the post “the 10″ is by far my fav blog. I love to hear the field perspective.

  5. Barbara M.
    Feb 22, 2009
    at 11:30 am

    I so agree with Vicki! More personalized updates would be so helpful. I too get the responses that are very brief from the children and it does make it harder to encourage them especially when their letters are so vague. Comments and updates from the staff would be so helpful. I’m always amazed that the children always seem so “fine” to quote them. Really???

  6. Sarah F.
    Feb 23, 2009
    at 3:53 pm

    I agree with everybody that more detailed updates would be nice. Letters, especially from younger children, tend to be very general. I have found I get more detail in letters written for the child by a project worker (for example, that she is not yet saved. Obviously the child isn’t going to tell you that!). Also, I think yearly photos would be nice. Children change so much in two years! The next time I get a picture of my one child she will have gone from 10 to 12, a big jump.

  7. Mike Stephens
    Mar 28, 2009
    at 9:54 am

    I agree that the field updates are very informative and helpful!!! Thanks!!!

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