gifts for children Hezekiah, my sponsored child from Tanzania, has two brothers. Last month, I began to worry about how his parents are able to manage their large family. I thought it would be wonderful if I could sponsor another one of his siblings, so I checked his file to see if they are enrolled in our program.

They’re not.

Although I am disappointed, I know the reason his siblings are not enrolled. Sponsors call the contact center to ask this same question, and I explain why —  although in this situation, I must explain to myself why.

Our goal is to assist as many children and families as possible. In order to do this, we allow three children per family to be enrolled in our program.

However, the child development center staff is able to change that allowance to one or two children — based on the community’s needs. Particularly in Africa, one child registered per family tends to be the limit.

When the needs of the community limit the registration to one child per family, the other family members still benefit indirectly.

For the parents, one child registered is one less child that they have to worry about financially. They also have the opportunity to attend different educational events hosted by the child development center.

The siblings get to attend events that are planned for the entire family and they learn indirectly from their registered sibling. Also, the entire family benefits when the registered child’s sponsor sends a family gift.

I sent a gift to Hezekiah’s family last fall. Although I am not able to sponsor one of his siblings, the picture I received shows that his family is also involved and benefiting from our program.

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  1. Oct 29, 2010
    at 11:33 am

    It is wonderful, though, to send extra coloring sheets and goodies for your sponsored child to share with their siblings. We have a passion for writing to our sponsored children, and are sure to include extra gifts for their friends and siblings from time to time. :)

    • Jennifer Montgomery
      Oct 29, 2010
      at 4:44 pm

      Michelle, that is a wonderful idea and one I had not thought of before. Thanks!

      Jennifer

  2. Charlotte
    Oct 29, 2010
    at 1:34 pm

    Can I assume that since my little girl in Bolivia has only one sibling, he is sponsored, too? Is there a way to find out?

    • Oct 30, 2010
      at 9:20 am

      First, I asked my child if his siblings attended the project with him and he said yes. I’d recommend asking the child the question. My child is in Brazil though, and I don’t recall if the limit of kids per family is 2 or 3 based upon the country. Somewhere on the blog or perhaps on OurCompassion.org, I recall seeing a list of the number of kids the country limits being registered from each family. Unfortunately, I don’t have the link handy to give you. I do recall one of the Moody scholarship students mentioning that the project they attended was open for all kids to attend Bible classes, but the other activities that required financial resources (food, tuition payment) were limited to registered and sponsored children.

  3. Elizabeth
    Oct 29, 2010
    at 1:58 pm

    Our sponsored child has mentioned her siblings’ birthdays, so I’m intentional about sending stickers, etc around those dates that are more gender specific. Also, along with this line of thinking, you can sponsor another child from the same village or at the same center and there again, expand on the benefits to the family by being more prominent in the community. Plus, if you were to visit, the children would be in proximity to one another. This is what we’ve chosen to do and a representative of Compassion was able to help us find a second child.

  4. Mike Stephens
    Oct 29, 2010
    at 4:24 pm

    Shaina,

    Thank you for sharing! I too sponsor a child in Tanzania I was blessed to meet him this past July on the advocates’ tour. However I did apply for a job at the contact center at Compassion but was not selected this time :( To God be the glory!

    I Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for YOU!”

  5. Rachel
    Nov 5, 2010
    at 5:42 pm

    I just sent a family gift for my child and made a specific request that some of the money be used to buy Christmas gifts for my sponsored child’s siblings.

  6. Becky
    Nov 14, 2010
    at 2:24 pm

    Will letters sent to siblings be translated as well, or should I just send greetings to all family members in the one letter

    • Shaina
      Nov 15, 2010
      at 9:17 am

      Letters to siblings will not be translated, however, you are welcome to send greetings to the family in your letter to your sponsored child.

  7. Kim
    Jul 13, 2011
    at 10:46 pm

    Dearest Shaina, I’ve been poking around the website and blogs looking for this exact answer and I thank you! Having said that, I’m devastated to hear that most African families are only allowed to have one of their children sponsored. May I ask why this is, as it seems the African families are the poorest financially of all? (Making $5 a month compared to $3 a day!) I know I’ve read where family gifts have been used to repair bathrooms and windows, yet the child I sponsor (and her family) doesn’t even have a window, much less a bathroom. Added to that, the children in the family have different last names, though they have the same biolgical parents and this has hindered my search for their siblings to sponsor. Now I know that it is not possible to sponsor their siblings, so my search is over. Please let us know this: Are we able to send a family gift and designate how to “distribute” it? Am I able to say, for example, that with the $100 I’m sending, I’d like to designate $20 for each of the other two children and the balance is for the family in general? I know that the entire family benefits from family gifts, but now I’m feeling badly for sending my sponsored children things like birthday gifts, when I know the families could never afford to buy for their other children. When I failed at “finding” the siblings of my sponsored children, I hoped and prayed that it was because someone else had already sponsored them. Though your article has left me in tears, please know how much I appreciate you for having addressed this issue and please elaborate on specifics of gift giving to siblings. Thank you, dear Shaina!

    • Shaina
      Jul 18, 2011
      at 7:35 am

      Kim, please don’t be disheartened. It is possible that your sponsored child’s siblings are in the program. No matter the country or continent, any family can have up to three children in the program. I apologize if there was confusion on this point. Please feel free to call us at (800) 336-7676. If your child does have a sibling in our program, we can look it up- regardless of last name. You are able to suggest how a gift be used when you send it. However, the family makes the final decision regarding how it will be used. This enable them to purchase what they need as we can not always know their circumstances.

      • Kim
        Jul 19, 2011
        at 8:17 pm

        Re: “However, the child development center staff is able to change that allowance to one or two children — based on the community’s needs. Particularly in Africa, one child registered per family tends to be the limit.” Shaina, THANK YOU for your reply! I did call CI a couple (3-4?) of weeks before I found your article and the gentleman told me he wasn’t authorized to give me any information regarding siblings. But, I’m not sure it was the same number that you listed above, so I’ll try again tomorrow during office hours. As a sidenote: After I gave it more thought it dawned on me that prayer for direction was what I really needed to do (duh!) and after much prayer, I went online and searched for another older child from Rwanda and the one child listed as having waited over six months captured my heart and I decided to sponsor her (and her family). (There are even more siblings in her family.) But, I WILL check on siblings at the number you’ve given me and if it’s available, it looks like I’ll be sponsoring one more. I so appreciate you clarifying how this works, Shaina! This has also taught me that perhaps I could better serve the entire family by increasing my Family Gift giving. Thank you, Shaina!

        Courtesy of Compassion International: http://blog.compassion.com/can-my-sponsored-childs-siblings-be-sponsored-too/#ixzz1SbferQ8n

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