Sathyaseelan Pannirselvam Here at Compassion, I get to sit by a really cool guy named Sathy. Sathyaseelan Pannirselvam, that is. (One of my proudest moments was when I found out my last name is longer than his.)

Sathy is a native of Chennai, India, and has worked for Compassion for 10 years. He worked for Compassion India for seven years of those years as a Sponsor Donor Associate in South India, and as the Program Communication Manager in East India.

Then three years ago, he, his lovely wife and son uprooted from India to work in Colorado Springs as our International Sponsor Donor Service Field Specialist. (Job titles here at Compassion are a mouthful, huh?)

Translation: He now works to train our field countries on processes for letters and case studies (those summaries of your sponsored child in the Child Packet). He also works to identify efficient processes for these … Quite a job if you know how many letters and case studies we process!    

So Sathy has a unique perspective to offer us — he’s lived in India and visited Compassion’s child development centers there (and Compassion-assisted centers throughout Asia, in fact), and he’s lived and worked here, on the other side of things. He also knows more about all those letters than most people you’ll meet. An interesting brain to pick.

Leave your questions to Sathy as comments, and I’ll pick 10 of them for him to answer for us.

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  1. Sarah C
    Jan 26, 2009
    at 5:51 am

    As a sponsor, what is the most important thing we can do for our kids?

  2. alyson
    Jan 26, 2009
    at 7:48 am

    sorry, I have 2 questions :)

    1)Do the sponsored children get excited about writing letters to their sponsors?

    2) What is the process for a child’s case study to be updated?

  3. Sara Benson
    Jan 26, 2009
    at 8:54 am

    What is the most encouraging thing a sponsor can write to their child?

    If a sponsor writes to their child very often, say 2-3 times a month, do these letters get delivered individually or does the child get a couple at the same time?

    Is India one of the countries that has a child respond to every letter from the sponsors? If not is it heading that way?

    Is there anything special that sponsors should know when writing to their Indian children?

  4. Barbara Mankoski
    Jan 26, 2009
    at 9:14 am

    What is an average response,if it is possible as all children have different personalities, to a letter when it arrives? I correspond with several children and always wonder how the letters are received. Often the return letters are quite brief, almost form-like, do the children enjoy responding back?

  5. Jan 26, 2009
    at 9:19 am

    How many letters and case studies do you process?
    Will we start receiving annual case studies on our children soon?
    What percentage of children receive letters from their sponsors?
    What does your adorable little boy want to be when he grows up?

  6. Jan 26, 2009
    at 10:25 am

    What do you most wish sponsors to understand about children living in poverty?

  7. Jan 26, 2009
    at 12:45 pm

    What do our sponsored children want to hear when we write? About our lives, where we live, what we do, our family… anything specific that really connects with them?

  8. Lindy
    Jan 26, 2009
    at 2:55 pm

    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?

  9. alyson
    Jan 26, 2009
    at 3:17 pm

    got a few more questions I thought of today:

    I have to agree with Juli Jarvis – Will we begin recieving yearly case studies soon? If they remain at every 2 years, will they at least become more detailed and personal?

    Is it the country office’s job to handling letter writing, or does each individual project have its own process for this?

  10. lydia
    Jan 26, 2009
    at 4:04 pm

    In general, how accurate are the case studies? and, if we receive information in a letter which conflicts with the case study, which one is probably more accurate?
    Who give the information for the case study, the child, the parent, or a compassion worker?

  11. Linda W.
    Jan 26, 2009
    at 5:04 pm

    I am a sponsor of 3 girls and a Correspondent Sponsor for a boy from India. First of all, I just want to say that I have been so happy with my correspondence with all of my Indian kids. I am so happy that you are doing one of these question and answer posts about India. I have about a million questions I’d like to ask! But I can see that other people before me have posted some great questions so far, but here are a couple more that I’d like to know about:

    When we give birthday gifts to our children, how are the gifts picked out? Does someone go shopping with the family? Do they give the child advice on what they should buy?

    How is the global food crisis affecting the families in India? I’ve noticed when I give a birthday gift to my oldest girl, Aneesha, she usually buys a dress and maybe some other non-food items. So that makes me think that food crisis is not so bad in her area.

  12. Kalaya
    Jan 26, 2009
    at 6:42 pm

    1. 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?

    2. What percentage of children who graduate the program are actually born again Christians?

    3. How do you encourage the children who never receive letters from their sponsors?

    4. How do you encourage the children who receive letters from their sponsors but are too shy or don’t like to write?

    5. What is the most encouraging thing you have ever heard a sponsor say to their child? And a child to their sponsor?

    Thank you for your time to answer our questions!

  13. Jan 26, 2009
    at 7:44 pm

    Sathy,
    I think that it’s great that you were able to contribute your expertise and unique/personal point of view all the way from India.

    God has a way of bringing people & their diverse experiences together to create something greater than ourselves.

  14. Shelly
    Jan 26, 2009
    at 8:03 pm

    Thank you for considering our questions and Thank You for all that you do.

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

    2. If a child that 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?

    One of our girls that we sponsor in India left the program because her family moved from the area to seek better opportunity. We hope that she may some day be able to return to the program in some area of India.

  15. Mel
    Jan 27, 2009
    at 10:33 am

    Has Compassion as an organization ever come accross 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?

    Are children genuinely, truly upset if their sponsor cancels the sponsorship?

    Thank you.

  16. Heather
    Jan 27, 2009
    at 12:45 pm

    What area of India has the greatest need for sponsors?
    What is Compassion doing to combat the problem of child brides in India? I understand that this is still a common,very sad practice..

  17. Renee
    Jan 28, 2009
    at 8:10 am

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

    I like to send lots of pictures and stickers with my letters, and I’m always looking for other ideas of things that can be easily sent…

  18. Amy L.
    Jan 29, 2009
    at 8:12 am

    I’ve always wondered this: I have two teenage boys and one little girl in India through Compassion. In countries like these where there is still gender discrimination, do families have a preference as to the gender of their sponsor? I know it would vary between individual families, but have you ever seen families preferring a male sponsor to a female sponsor? Thanks a bunch.

  19. Mary
    Jan 30, 2009
    at 6:17 pm

    I sponsor a child in India and have wondered about the school system. Do children attend grade school up to 8th grade and then on to 4 years of high school?

    I have a question about marraiges in India today. Do the brides parents have to provide a dowry and if so does this cause a great financial crisis for them?

  20. Dwight
    Jan 31, 2009
    at 11:09 am

    I have sponsored a few different children and have noticed some need or want letters & visits more than others. This is depending on the family and the support they give…. I see compassion as a ministry… just like I teach Sunday school at Church. I write, send extra money and visit the child once before they graduate. I would pay extra to speed up the process.
    Some people don’t have the time or the finances to do this. Has compassion thought about categorizing and matching up sponsors like myself with the more needy kids. They could charge us extra and speed up the communications process so we can more effectively help and encourage the neediest of the kids?

  21. Amber Van Schooneveld
    Feb 2, 2009
    at 8:47 am

    Thanks for your questions! I’ll choose 10 and send them to Sathy.

  22. Feb 2, 2009
    at 11:31 am

    Dwight,

    That’s a great idea! I shared your comment with the folks who are able to investigate, approve and implement the idea.

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