omarWe spent this morning at the Compassion Mexico office. After a brief introduction and welcome by Omar, the country director, our group of 30+ sponsors broke into three smaller masses, in order to get a little more intimate with the different ministry areas.

First stop for “el grupo de Giovagnoni” was Ministry Services. We had a presentation from Cesareo in Finance. It was about the funding process for money to be granted and distributed to a child development center. It was in Spanglish. Cesareo said that, not me.

Next stop on the office tour, Sponsor Donor Services (SDS).

Here’s the 411 from the folks in SDS, with a little bleed over from Program Implementation, the stars who work with our church partners.

  • Compassion Mexico has 129 child development centers in eight of Mexico’s 31 states. They help about 20,000 children.
  • 79 percent of the 20,000 children are sponsored. 21 percent are waiting for sponsors.
  • Chiapas is the poorest state in Mexico and has been for the past 20 years. It’s where most of Compassion Mexico’s work is done, and it’s where we’ll be until Thursday. Chiapas borders Guatemala.
  • Last fiscal year, July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008, Compassion Mexico processed 23,000 letters from sponsors.
  • The staff estimates that 45 percent of sponsors write their children and the remaining children don’t receive any letters.
  • In the last fiscal year, Compassion Mexico processed 51,000 letters from its children to their sponsors.
  • Around 80 percent of Compassion Mexico’s sponsors are in the United States.
  • The average number of children in a Compassion Mexico child development center is 160.
  • Compassion Mexico expects to register another 5,000 children during this fiscal year.
  • The Compassion Mexico office opened in 1976 and does not currently work with the Child Survival Program or Leadership Development Program – only Child Sponsorship and Complementary Interventions.

And here’s some additional info bling strictly from Program Implementation.

  • The children in Chiapas are three times less likely to grow up healthy and to attend school.
  • 90 percent of children in Chiapas don’t attend school regularly. They work as laborers.

After we left the Compassion Mexico office, the rest of our day was spent traveling – by bus from Mexico City to the Toluca airport and then from Toluca by plane to Tuxtla Gutierrez.

Adios for now.

Hope you don’t mind that this post has been search engine optimized for the keyword Compassion Mexico.

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  1. Aug 18, 2008
    at 11:43 pm

    Thanks so much for the update and pics! It’s sad to hear that so many people do not write to their sponsored children. When I’ve been at Compassion projects, I’ve had numerous children ask if I can find their sponsor when I get back to the states and request a letter or photo. It breaks my heart. On the other hand, many of the children that are getting letters & photos “happened” to have them in their pockets. They would ask me if I knew their sponsors to tell them “Thank you.” I don’t think we have any idea how important and special our letters are to them.

  2. Andrzej Gandecki
    Aug 19, 2008
    at 2:01 am

    The children wrote 51,000 letters, but received only 23,000 letters!
    What a sad statistics…
    How is it possible? To receive a letter and not to reply?

  3. Lindy
    Aug 19, 2008
    at 4:57 am

    I agree with Andrzej! It also breaks my heart to see that statistic on the number of children in Chiapas who work as laborers rather than attending school regularly!

  4. Andrzej Gandecki
    Aug 19, 2008
    at 5:03 am

    Maybe we could gently ask some other sponsors that we know of, if they write letters to their children?

  5. Aug 19, 2008
    at 8:21 am

    If you know of other Compassion sponsors in your church or area, how ’bout hosting a “party” for sponsors? You could ask each one to bring a photo of their sponsored child(ren) and stationery on which to write a letter, during the party. They could also bring a favorite letter from the child and share something about him or her. A video or two, lots of sharing, some information off of this blog about the importance of writing, and some munchies could make for a good time–and get some letters written to children.

  6. Steve Dean
    Aug 19, 2008
    at 8:28 am

    I sponsor a boy in Mexico and I do write to him. How can you not write to the child you sponsor? I enjoy writing to my sponsor child.When we write to our sponsor children it show that we love are care for them. Please write to you ponsor child;

  7. Steve Dean
    Aug 19, 2008
    at 8:30 am

    I sponsor a boy in Mexico and I do write to him. How can you not write to the child you sponsor? I enjoy writing to my sponsor child.When we write to our sponsor children it show that we love are care for them. Please write to you sponsor child;

  8. SaraBelle
    Aug 19, 2008
    at 8:36 am

    Chris — I’ve always wanted to sponsor a child in Chiapas or Oaxaca through Compassion but was always told that Mexico City was the only place where the children were. Could you maybe provide us with some project numbers for the Chiapas children so if we are browsing we could sponsor them specifically from that area?

    Thanks for all of the wonderful updates!

  9. Andrzej Gandecki
    Aug 19, 2008
    at 9:00 am

    SaraBelle, there is a link on the page of each child waiting for a sponsor ‘View additional information about this child’. When you click the link, a map is shown way down below, and just above the map the location of the Child Development Center of the child is given. Tuxtla Gutierrez, to the East, is the capital of the Chiapas State, I believe.

  10. Aug 19, 2008
    at 9:03 am

    Vicki–good ideas! We had a “Sponsor Appreciation” dinner at our church and had a cake with a simple map of the world and little flags people could put in from each country to represent where their sponsored children live [the flag artwork and creation was done by my daughter!] What a great idea to provide blank stationary for writing letters in a setting such as this!

  11. SaraBelle
    Aug 19, 2008
    at 9:52 am

    Andrzej – thanks for this information! I found a boy named Lucio who is in Chiapas! I will pray about this. Thank you.

  12. Aug 19, 2008
    at 9:52 am

    Glad you like the ideas, Juli; I don’t think they’re original with me, at all, and I’m pretty sure other people have already done this sort of thing. But offering the ideas does spur me to put in a request with my own church for a room and a date for the same kind of event!

  13. Andrzej Gandecki
    Aug 19, 2008
    at 9:56 am

    SaraBelle – You are most welcome and God bless you!

  14. Carlos M.
    Aug 19, 2008
    at 10:22 am

    There is a place on the site for sponsors to write letters online and submit them instantaneously:

    https://www.compassion.com/account/Child/emailchildren.htm

    You can send a letter right now, no more excuses…

    Save money on postage, paper, envelopes, and fuel.

    BUT most importantly, give your sponsored children the gift of your love and attention. :)

  15. Aug 19, 2008
    at 10:56 am

    Carlos, that link (thank you!) leads to a log-in page.

    It is necessary for sponsors to register for online access to certain areas of Compassion’s website. Besides offering the opportunity to write to your child with faster delivery, having an online account gives sponsors access to their giving history and information about their child beyond what is provided in the packet. Registration doesn’t take long and is worthwhile.

  16. Aug 19, 2008
    at 12:10 pm

    Carlos — Brilliant! Of course!
    Vicki–I love your passion about this subject!

  17. Sara Benson
    Aug 19, 2008
    at 1:10 pm

    I agree that it is awful that the kids are getting so few sponsor letters if any. 45% of sponsors writing? How could that happen! It inspires me to encourage all of the sponsors I know to write letters. I like the ideas of having a party. I will have to try to set something up.

    SaraBelle – What is the project number for the child you found?

    Chris- Do you have the numbers for the projects in Chiapas? I can’t believe that so few children get to go to school.

  18. Andrzej Gandecki
    Aug 19, 2008
    at 2:06 pm

    Sara Benson – some of the CD Centers in Chiapas are (based on Mexico map http://www.compassion.com/countrymaps/ME_map.jpg):

    ME826, Segar Student Center, North of Tapachula;

    ME735, Lily of the Valley, West of Tuxtla Gutierrez;

    ME919, Ayuda al Projimo, South of Tuxtla Gutierrez;

    ME926, Vida Nueva, North of Tapachula;

    ME721, Childhood Well-being, Northeast of Tapachula;

    ME923, Gotitas de Amor, South of Tuxtla Gutierrez;

    ME801, Visión 2000, Central Arriaga;

    ME810, Infantile Friendship, Northeast of Arriaga;

    ME811, Nińos Joyas de Cristo, South-west of Arriaga;

    ME814, Daniel Student Center,
    North section of Arriaga;

    ME817, The Good Shepherd, Southeast of Arriaga;

    ME820, Alive Rock (Roca Viva) Student Center, south of Arriga.

  19. Aug 19, 2008
    at 4:12 pm

    When I was in Mexico about 1/2 year ago, with my dad, visiting my dad’s sponsored child, the sister of his child started crying. I asked her why she was crying, she said that her sponsor never writes. I took her under my wing for the rest of time. You can read the story here:

    http://news.mywebpal.com/news_tool_v2.cfm?show=archivedetails&pnpid=956&om=1&ArchiveID=1378161&requesttimeout=100

    I had always heard that it was 80% of the children that get letters. Maybe that is based on that some sponsors that write have more children? So, one is looking at the statistic from the sponsor side, the other from the child side??? In some odd way the 45% sounds better than the 80% in the sense that the children, who don’t get letters aren’t so alone. I always thought it would be really hard if everyone seemed to get letters, but not them.

    There is one thing about Compassion Mexico that I was amazed at during the visit. When we visited my dad’s child, Cesiah, a lady from Compassion went with us. The drive was about 4 to 5 hours there and 4 to 5 hours back. So, I had a good opportunity to ask her all kinds of questions about how things work in Compassion and specifically Mexico. I remember that I asked her if there are many more visits to Compassion projects in Mexico compared to other countries. I figured that since it was much closer, that a lot of people went to visit. Suprisingly, she told me that very few came to visit. As a matter of fact, my dad and I were the first sponsors to actually visit the project. One sponsor had visited his child before, but the child had to go to Mexico City to visit with the sponsor.

    Relatively, it was really not that expensive to fly there. The hotel was the same hotel that Chris stayed at. That was relatively expensive compared to the hotels in Bolivia. But the planetrip itself was $350/roundtrip and it wss only 2 and half hours from Orlando to Mexico City.

    Kees

  20. Aug 19, 2008
    at 5:13 pm

    Kees, I expect that the 45% figure Chris got is country-specific and that the percentage may vary from one country to another. But I’m guessing.

  21. Aug 19, 2008
    at 5:28 pm

    My sponsored child is in Mexico. Reading about how desperate that country is just breaks my heart!

  22. Aug 19, 2008
    at 5:58 pm

    I have laugh because as so with many things that I do, I’m an exception! I wrote to my sponsored child about 7 times and sent a picture, and got nothing back before he withdrew from the program. We were only together for almost 4 months, but still!

  23. Aug 19, 2008
    at 6:39 pm

    I waited a full four months for my first letter from one of my first two girls. She’s in DR. I had a letter much more quickly from Tanzania…I don’t remember for sure, but it seems like I got it within 2 months. I chose her before Christmas, 2002, but I don’t think my Acceptance Forms went in until January, and her first letter is dated Jan 24 2003. She’s also the most expressive, in her letters, of any of my girls.

  24. SaraBelle
    Aug 19, 2008
    at 7:00 pm

    @ Sara Benson… 832 is Lucio’s project. I may wait a while, I’m not quite ready to add a child right now, but it is good to know which areas are in Chiapas. His project appears to be near Oaxaca if not in Oaxaca. :)

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