We’ve noticed variations of these questions popping up in several of our posts about letter-writing. So we approached Bill Dunigan, a man for the people and a team leader in our contact center, to help us address them.
Can I stay in contact with my child if he or she graduates or leaves the child sponsorship program?
If you tell us you want to continue writing to your child, we’ll send you information to read, sign and return to us.
The form we send will describe what your new relationship will look like and will give us permission to share your contact information with our country staff, who will then share it with your child. If your child wants to keep in touch with you also, he or she will send you a letter or an e-mail to begin the conversation.
The main thing to keep in mind is that translation services no longer will be provided —something to consider if you do not speak the child’s language.
Also, since the child will be out of our program, we cannot make any guarantees about the regularity or quality of the correspondence from the child. Plus, we won’t be able to help with questions that may arise.
And finally, it’s important to know that sharing your information means you could potentially be contacted by others, such as your child’s relatives, friends or acquaintances who might want to contact you for personal gain.
Why do children leave the sponsorship program before graduation?
The reasons children leave can vary.
- Sometimes kids leave because their family’s financial situation has improved and the family thinks Compassion is no longer needed.
- Often we see a child leave because the child needs to be at home to take care of a younger sibling while the parents or guardians work.
- But the most common reason is the family has moved to a place where we do not have a child development center, and the move typically occurs because the family is seeking a better life with greater economic opportunity.
What happens to a child who graduates from the sponsorship program?
It’s a good question.
With more than 1 million sponsored kids in 25 developing countries, the answer could be as varied as a response to: What do young people in the U.S. do when they complete high school or college?
While the specifics are different in an environment of severe poverty, young people in developing countries have the same general aspirations as we do: They want to create a better life for their families, the people of their communities and themselves.
In releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name, our sponsorship program focuses on each child’s spiritual, economic, social and physical needs. When a child completes the program, he or she has had opportunities to know and understand the Bible, and receive Jesus as Savior.
Also, the child has been reminded of the importance of making thoughtful decisions about health, nutrition and sexuality, and will have learned at least one income-generating skill.
Finally, social skills gained while in the program will help the child be comfortable in personal interactions as well as in the larger context of community.
All of this combines to highlight our holistic distinctive, with the Good News of Jesus at the core.
But what does a child do when graduation arrives?
Our country staff tell us of young men in Africa who become car mechanics, or earn a living as a bus driver in their country’s tourist industry.
Some kids go on to higher education in the country, possibly through our Leadership Development Program.
A girl in Haiti may use her sewing skills to make and sell clothing in the market. A boy in Uganda may use his agricultural skills to raise a crop to sell.
Many Compassion children are taught the art of serigraphy — making T-shirts or decorative cloth using the silkscreen process, to sell in a local market or as a street vendor.
Often, children learn about hydroponics, cultivating plants in a nutrient-rich solution rather than soil.