child sponsorship On Sept. 6, 1996, Biswanath was involved in a terrible road accident. His right leg was badly injured and he was taken to the hospital immediately. But his relatives didn’t rely on the expert doctors, and took him to a local herbal healer instead.

The herbal healer provided the wrong treatment and used unscientific ways to join the injured man’s thigh bones. Biswanath lost his ability to walk or run. Many years have passed since that devastating accident, but Biswanath still struggles to walk or stand for long.

After his accident, Biswanath lost all his expectations for life. He couldn’t find a job due to his weak leg. He married a woman named Sumi, and their only child, Sumonto, was born in 1999.

Biswanath struggled to provide for his family. He began to sell marijuana. The dark side of life grabbed him.

“I had no other option [but selling marijuana] to survive other than selling my land. I am a disabled man. My right leg is almost paralyzed. I can’t walk or stand for long. No one hired me for a job. But I had to survive with my family at any cost.”

Biswanath doesn’t like to talk about how he used to sell marijuana or how much he made because it still wasn’t enough to send his son to school. Biswanath did not want his son to become a marijuana seller like himself.

Mission schools are popular in Bangladesh. No or low tuition, good teachers, a nice environment and a free supply of books have made the mission schools popular among people in remote communities.

When the Compassion-assisted child development center opened at the local church, Biswanath and his wife saw it as nothing more than a Christian mission school. But it offered an opportunity for Sumonto to get a free education, and his parents grabbed it.

Over the last four years, Sumonto and his father have gotten to know the church as well as Compassion. Sumonto receives better educational opportunities through the center than he would through any other school in the community. He receives tutoring and all the educational materials (books, copies, pencils, etc.) he needs, including his school uniform, from the center.

Sumonto’s school fee is no longer a problem for his father as Compassion pays it regularly. Sumonto’s parents are grateful that the center even provides lunch for their son and takes care of all his medical needs. Sumonto also is learning biblical morals and Christian values.

Biswanath was happy for his son, but the bigger changes began to take place as the generosity of Sumonto’s sponsor grew.

Our church partners never hand over cash gift money to the families. Instead, they make purchases according to the need of the child and family. In Bangladesh, most families ask that domestic animals are purchased with the family gift money. Domestic animals are very useful because selling milk and eggs creates an opportunity for the family to earn extra money.

Biswanath requested the church staff buy them cows with their designated gift money. They bought six cows.

Every day Biswanath sells three liters of fresh milk and earns around $1.30. This little income is a great help for Biswanath. He quit selling marijuana. The center director advised — and rebuked — Biswanath several times about this illegal business. Through continuous counseling with the director, Biswanath changed his ways.

“I never imagined that my son would ever go to school and have an education. The church made it possible. My son is now receiving a good education, food and other benefits like other capable families in our village. The church, along with Compassion, is taking care of my son. Not only that, but because of the gift from Sumonto’s sponsor, we now have a way to earn for our family. This helped me to get rid of the worst business.”

Subsequently, the family sold three of their cows and bought a little piece of land where they started a small shop. Biswanath’s older brother is running that shop and gives a share to Biswanath. With the love and generosity of Sumonto’s sponsor, two families have benefited.

The shop sells herbal products (leafs, mixtures, oils, fruit skins, tree skins, etc.) and spices. Biswanath’s brother, who was previously unemployed, now earns a little that he can contribute to his family.

Sumonto’s mother, Sumi, says,

“These Christian people at the local church are very gentle. They are as concerned as we are for our son. My son learns to behave gently from the church. We believe whatever he learns at the center is good and fruitful. My husband and I have full faith in Compassion. We know that they will teach our child the right things and guide him to avoid the wrong. They helped and guided my husband to quit his dark business. I am grateful to them.”

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  1. Amy Wallace
    Jun 2, 2010
    at 4:57 am

    I send as much as I can for a family gift to my kids in January, and I love receiving the pictures of them with the stuff they bought.

  2. Jun 2, 2010
    at 8:16 am

    Fantastic!!! Thanks for posting this. Now I’m off to the Compassion web site… it’s time to send my family gifts!

  3. Jun 2, 2010
    at 9:44 am

    What a wonderful story! What a special family they are. This reminds me of our boy in Haiti — I first sponsored his older brother, and he always bought a goat with the birthday and Christmas money I sent. When he grew old enough to leave the project, I asked for a younger sibling to sponsor. I was delighted to see on his child packet that this younger brother was now responsible for the family’s “herd of goats!”

  4. jennifer
    Jun 2, 2010
    at 10:05 am

    Thanks for sharing! I’ve been trying to save for family gifts. This will give me incentive to keep going!

  5. Jun 2, 2010
    at 11:59 am

    What a super story. God is gracious!

  6. Rachel Watson
    Jun 2, 2010
    at 10:54 pm

    I received two phone calls today stating that my sponsor child from Bangladesh was no longer available due to the end of the program in that area, but that they will be sending me a packet out to sponsor another child in Bangladesh. I have yet to call them(hopefully tomorrow). Has anyone received any similar phone calls or heard of anything happening in that area?

    • Jun 6, 2010
      at 3:20 pm

      Hi Rachel,
      I don’t sponsor in Bangladesh but am a sponsor and heard through people at OurCompassion (a social network for Compassion sponsors) that a Bangladesh center was closed. Compassion works locally with the churches to ensure that funds are being used appropriately and when they are not, it results in action. You might want to go to OurCompassion.org and sign up as you can talk with other sponsors from that child’s project and who will be able to give you more info as well.
      God bless! Beth

  7. Jun 2, 2010
    at 10:59 pm

    I give to the family once or twice a year, depending on what I can afford at the time. I was happy when Compassion offered this when sponsoring a child. I am still happy and now this story warms my heart.

    Praise God for this wonderful story!

  8. Marvin
    Jun 4, 2010
    at 5:33 pm

    I sent a very big gift last year after I visited my family…. They put some money in the bank and purchased 3 hogs/ pigs. I did some research and most hogs have 10 babies a year. If this is true I did the math and figured out that this will double the family’s yearly income for many years to come. I look forward to going back and visiting the family and seeing the hogs. It is humbling to think that I a small insignificant person in the worlds eyes, I’m not Bill Gates or Billy Graham…but I can have such a big impact on the family.

  9. Denise
    Jun 6, 2010
    at 7:30 pm

    Once when I was sponsoring Mable in Uganda, I sent a family gift of $50. I was staggered when I received a thank-you letter from her telling me how their family had used it to buy a small piece of land in another district (county?) and they had all moved there! I had no intention of uprooting them, but land is valued so much that they made this choice. Previously, they had shared a house with another family.

  10. Sara E.
    Jun 7, 2010
    at 11:18 am

    This was so inspiring!!!!!!! I just sponcered my first child a couple weeks ago. This story really taught me a lot. Mabey one day I can sponcer my child’s sibling………that would be great

  11. Tammy
    Jun 9, 2010
    at 12:18 am

    I am a single mother and don’t have much money, but God always provides what is needed! Last year I sent a family gift for both of my sponsored children and I was absolutely amazed when I saw what they were able to buy with what I considered such an insignicant amount. I was at first ashamed that I was not able to send more, but now I know that any amount is so greatly appreciated by them. My little girl in Uganda sent me a letter that she was able to buy pigs and a few other things with the money. She wanted to buy a cow but didn’t have enough money so she bought pigs instead.(she didn’t ask for more). I called Compassion and found out how much it cost to buy a cow in Uganda and was dumbfounded by how little it was. So, I saved up over the last year and finally saved the $150 that the family would need to buy a cow. I just received two letters from her. One was to tell me of the death of her pigs which really saddened her, but she was able to buy some hens…and I got the 2nd letter yesterday and the family bought their cow! I was so excited about this! She lives with a friend of her late father because she has lost both of her parents, and is now in a better position in this family because she is able to help provide things for this family, instead of being “a burden” on them. It never ceases to amaze me how God always make things work and happen just when they need to.

    • Diane Donohue
      Nov 7, 2012
      at 8:44 am

      Wow! That is an amazing and inspiring story. Thank you for sharing.

  12. Kathie D.
    Aug 29, 2010
    at 2:40 pm

    Stories like this help me to understand my kids’ cultures better. My husband and I sponsor 3 kids from the same mission in Bangladesh and we work overtime to save money to send to them and their families. Their families have been buying cows and I kind of wondered, “why all the cows? Can’t they buy anything else?” We are beginning to understand that this is their colateral; we are used to putting our savings into a bank, not into cows. My Bengali families live in the country and probably have never used a bank. Maybe they are not even used to working with money, I don’t know. But the more stories that we read like this one tells us that they barter more with their animals than what we knew. This story also helped us to understand the value of 3 cows in relationship with purchasing a small plot of land. Now we are beginning to understand. My kids’ families are buying calves, allowing them to grow and become more valuable. Then they can allow them to increase in number, sell milk or the new calves, or sell the cows to purchase more land. (It is hard to get this kind of info out of a 7 year old child’s letter). This will allow their family to prosper and pass down some kind of inheritance to all the sibblings of my kids. One of our families took one of the gifts we sent to them and put in a well! We loved that, especially after seeing photos of 3rd world countries getting their drinking water out of poluted rivers! But this well will also save the women in the family many, many trips to the river for water. Plus with the cows they are now buying, they will not have to make extra trips to water their livestock. Without the well, maybe they could not manage all the trips, and this would limit the size of their livestock too. My husband and I are really blessed that we can make so much of a difference in the lives of several family members with so little of our savings. We are simply amazed at how far a bit of money goes with them and how much of a difference we make!! The first photos we got of our kids when we sponsored them were sad little faces in hand me down clothes. I don’t even know if the clothes they wore belonged to our children because they all looked like the same outfit – like maybe they were shared outfits that were borrowed for the picture. But the new photos we just got are such a transformation!!! Huge smiles on their faces and they look so sweet in brand new, colorful outfits! And the heart warming letters that they send us…. even though they are written by little kids, and they use such simple vocabulary, they say enough to express to us how much they and their families are grateful and the difference we are making in their little lives!! Thank you Jesus for allowing us to make a difference!!!

    • Elizabeth
      Feb 16, 2012
      at 2:18 pm

      Love Kathie’s note… I am a relatively new sponsor but soon I intend to send money for a cow… or maybe a pig. I am not sure how one finds out what my sonsor family would choose themselves though.

  13. Diane Nichols
    Jan 18, 2011
    at 2:12 pm

    We sponsor some girls through Compassion and we send them a monetary gift for their birthday and they always write back and tell us what they bought, but one of the girls, Neema in Tanzania always sends us a picture of herself with what she bought, she likes clothes so she usually buys and outfit along with chicken and rice which is her favorite meal.

  14. Diane Nichols
    Jan 18, 2011
    at 2:21 pm

    It is incredible what can be bought with a family gift, my son sent one to his child in the Philippines and they were able to repair a window in their house that was broken and got new facilities for their bathroom, the mother said that she was also able to take Dex shopping for clothes and treat him to a meal at a restaurant. They sent us pictures and what a difference in their bathroom facilities before and after. Also a picture of them at the restaurant, Dex’s mother LIsa stated that Dex could actually eat till he was full and that made her happy and he even had an ice cream cone, plus the clothes she bought for him. The expression on Dex’s face in the picture of him at the restaurant is beyond description. There was also a picture of him wearing some of his new clothes, again there was a huge smile on his face. It takes so little to make such a big difference in the life of a family.

    • Kim Rabuya
      Feb 11, 2014
      at 10:11 pm

      I am a sponsor right now of two kids. I could imagine clearly the picture of the bathroom that they had prior to the repair. Being a child who grew up with this kind of neighbourhood in the Philippines, I could relate clearly to the lack of sanitation and hygiene in most of the households. And how a small amount that we think invaluable could actually make a big impact to these households. Whatever small amount you think that is, give it to these families and you will bless them big time. God bless you.

  15. Jennifer Fisher
    Feb 2, 2011
    at 1:01 am

    I don’t know what was more amazing, the story or the comments. I have never sent a “family” gift before, but it has repeatedly been on my heart, so I am inspired and on a mission! I do understand that small amounts by our standards are literally life changing in the developing world. That is one of the main reasons helping them means so much. My budget feels so tight sometimes that it is easy to believe I can’t do enough, but CI has taught me differently over the years. I am also disabled, so to hear of the fathers challenges with his leg touched me too.

  16. Belinda
    Jul 29, 2011
    at 2:28 pm

    I just sent in a family gift. I sponsor a child in Mexico. I would love to hear what they buy with it. This is exciting!

  17. Christine
    Aug 3, 2011
    at 10:58 pm

    I sent a family gift, and they bought a stove with it. I was very humbled by this. Things like a stove that I take for granted everyday are precious items that some can’t afford. I am very grateful for Compassion for allowing us to help God’s children!

  18. Jeremiah2913
    Oct 11, 2011
    at 5:18 pm

    This is a great story. I’m currently trying to decide if a personal or family gift is better for our sponsored child Grace. It’s a meager gift of only $100 but it’s all we have to send at this time. I know that she has siblings but not sure if they are also sponsored or not. The biggest question now is if this sum of money is enough to provide the family with nutrition or an income producing resource in Ghana?

    • Elizabeth
      Feb 16, 2012
      at 2:22 pm

      This is always my question also… would a family gift I may send
      be enough to get anything that they would want to get? I have no idea what my family would need and if I knew that, I could feel more enthused to send a monetary gift for them to get that item.

      • Feb 29, 2012
        at 7:17 am

        Even if you send the minimum family gift of $25, that can still purchase a dinner (or two) for 5 here in the USA if you spend the money carefully. In countries where are children live, the money can go much farther to purchase food, clothing, housing, school fees. I imagine that what we consider needs may not be what someone in poverty considers needs (yes to food, water, shelter, but I consider a bed a necessity rather than a luxury). I would send a modest family gift and then see what they purchase with it. If it is food or clothing, then I would consider that they have quite a few needs, but those are the most pressing as purchasing something to improve their home, generate income, pay school fees are things only one does after the most basic needs are met . Athough I consider those other items quite important, most people consider attending school, having a job and a kitchen table needs met only after you know you are surviving for the time being. Most children will not write what they would want or need for cultural reasons, which is why it would be extremely difficult to find out what your child’s family needed from your child.

    • Kim
      May 18, 2012
      at 9:23 pm

      Absolutely, $100 is NOT “a meager gift” at all! In fact, it’s probably about half a year’s income to a family in Ghana – it is more than an half a year’s income to my family in Rwanda! Yes, it’s usually BETTER to send a family gift instead of a personal gift as this helps the parents/father maintain their pride within their own family, instead of “their child’s sponsor taking care of their family”. Here’s what I would do with $100…I’d send a child gift of $10 and a family gift of $90 and that way it is special to the child you sponsor as well as blessing the entire family. ALSO, please remember that in some countries, (ESPECIALLY IN AFRICA!), families are only allowed to have ONE of their children in a center/project, which means that the siblings are already doing with much less than the sponsored child. To give to the FAMILY ensures that everything is shared and more equally distributed. How would it feel for ONE child in a family to receive a huge amount of $100, while the parents could barely feed the family and the other children never get a gift at all?!? Things to think about that I didn’t even realize were true until I had been sponsoring a child with four siblings for YEARS! I wish I could go back in time and un-do all of the mistakes that I didn’t realize I was making by sending gifts of more than $20 to my child, while her family was literally starving most days. Thankfully, my little girl still spent her money on hens and goats and flour and sugar and cooking oil and things that the whole family usually benefitted from, but to think that she was the ONLY one in the family to EVER receive new clothes or new shoes in many years just broke my heart when I found out. Can also cause jealousy and resentment among siblings, when our intention was only to help.

      • Shelly Lynch
        Jun 25, 2012
        at 10:45 pm

        Excellent point. I will make sure I work it the $10/$90 split as you mentioned at Christmas time for sure! Thanks for the heads up!

  19. Vicky Acker
    Feb 28, 2012
    at 9:07 pm

    I think that when people use the terms such as “a meager gift of $100″ we must realize what the annual income is in these areas. For the woman who is sponsoring a child in Ghana, I am as well, and I know in my child’s packet it states that the family’s income is around the equivalent of $32/mo, so a $100 gift would be like an ENTIRE 3 MONTH SALARY!!! If thought of in these terms I think the gift is not meager, but enormous.

  20. Leanne
    Jun 20, 2012
    at 8:09 pm

    Thank you for all of the responses. I am a new sponsor and appreciate the advise. My child, Miguel in Peru, has 1 sibling and lives with both mother and father. I am excited to be able to send family gifts and will feel like I am really sponsoring a family not just one child.

  21. Diane Donohue
    Nov 7, 2012
    at 8:50 am

    I sent a family gift of $300. I got a photo of the things they bought – mattresses for my sponsored child and her twin, a microwave oven, and lots of food and shoes and school supplies. I was like “Wow” they really needed a lot of stuff. And in the photo was my sponsored child and her twin sister with big smiles on their faces! I felt like Santa Claus.

  22. Sarah Rohr
    Nov 16, 2012
    at 10:14 pm

    I’m a brand new sponsor of a darling little boy in Thailand. I’m glad I found this page. It opened my eyes and I too will definitely send to the family as well. I want to help the entire family, not just my dear little Peerawit (my sponsored child’s name). I know the father makes about 42 dollars a month and wow. I’ll do what I can. I only make 700 a month myself (USA dollars) but I went without work for 2 years. Though I had government aid, I think of Peerawit and others who don’t even have that chance.

    I’m going to send what I can to the family. I wonder how long it takes to get to them? Either way, I’ll gladly give what I can out of each of my paychecks. I’m honored to help like this.

  23. Gayle
    Nov 30, 2012
    at 10:27 am

    I’m glad I read through these comments! As a new sponsor I am trying to decide how much to send and how to split everything – so it was enlightening to think of the 90/10 split! I want my child to feel special to me, but not at the expense of his family! Reading all of these comments helped me sort it out – thanks!

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