Really need help In all the time and through all the experiences you’ve had with Compassion, have you ever questioned whether the child you sponsor really needs your help?

Have you ever seen a photo of a Compassion-assisted child and thought, “That kid doesn’t look poor. Does he really need Compassion?”

If so, you’re not alone. Those thoughts even enter my mind – The Poverty of ME.

I have a preconceived notion of what abject poverty in the developing world should look like, and it doesn’t involve a DVD player, television or refrigerator.

My preconception doesn’t mean the child isn’t in need. It just means that the child doesn’t seem to be in the type of need that I feel as rewarded in fighting, when compared to other children’s needs.

To me, this is the same thing I face when I look at all the other needs in the world I’m not helping with — the homeless in America, the persecuted church in China, etc.

I can’t help with everything, so I have to make judgment calls based on something, and sometimes that something happens to be appearances.

So in light of this,

Would your child’s easy access to e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc. affect the level of poverty you perceive your sponsored child enduring?

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  1. Dec 14, 2009
    at 6:16 am

    I think these are two totally separate issues. Yes, I’ll admit that when one of my sponsored children told me she got a cell phone for her birthday, I was a bit taken aback. Then it occurred to me that a cell phone is probably a really useful thing for the family to have.

    I would assume the easy access to the internet you’re asking about would occur at the Compassion project? (Or perhaps at their school.) That’s different than thinking about a Compassion family owning a dvd player or a refrigerator.

    Which, by the way, I don’t have a problem with… because isn’t that the point, to pull the family out of poverty? Why should I be surprised to learn that my Compassion child that I’ve been sponsoring has a higher quality of life now than they used to have? That’s what I want!

    I think a child’s easy access to the internet would be a wonderful thing. It’s a given part of education in developed nations — why shouldn’t it be in developing? And if it were taking place at the projects, and enabling faster and less expensive communication with sponsors, so much the better!

  2. Amy Wallace
    Dec 14, 2009
    at 6:48 am

    Hmmm…I don’t think it would. We’re trying to help get out of and stay out of poverty, aren’t we? We can’t keep them impoverished, just so we’ll feel like we’re helping someone.

    Poverty isn’t just about not owing or having access to material things – a lot of it has to do with a feeling of hopelessness and the mindset that “I’ll never get out of here”.

  3. Kristen
    Dec 14, 2009
    at 7:48 am

    I have often thought it would be incredibly awesome if I could communicate with my kids via email or facebook (I must admit, I’ve even looked for my 21 year old Ethiopian child on FB). It seems like many of the centers have computers and I would see this access as valuable training for these kids rather than a luxury.

  4. Lindy
    Dec 14, 2009
    at 8:00 am

    I guess it would depend on where he has access to those things. If it’s at school or at the project, I don’t believe it would affect my perception of his need. If it were at home, I do think that would change my whole perception of his level of poverty, mostly because that kind of service is well beyond basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. I know people here in our area who have stopped internet service in order to be able to just pay for their basic needs. But I am also aware that there are efforts underway to provide computer and internet access for people in impoverished areas of the world, which could be a great blessing. (Or if used wrongly, it could do much damage.) It really boils down to our perception and understanding of the situation. The bottom line is that I long for our sponsored children to have all the resources and care that my own children had when they were growing up.

  5. Marvin
    Dec 14, 2009
    at 8:42 am

    In October I visited the children I sponsor in the Philippines. In the Philippines internet cafes are all over the place; so most people have some type of internet access. Most of the churches have internet access and computers. I have seen web sights that compassion churches have made. Good or bad the internet is part of the world. In Iran we get internet video uploaded to you tube about protests…. On face book I have made friends with non-compassion pastors in Asia. It is a great way to learn about the world and see and understand the needs. The father of one family I support makes P100-P150 ($2-$3) a day as a Jeepney driver. The fact that the compassion project church has internet access does not make her family look rich or not poor. Future generations will need computer skills; I hope that all the projects are teaching the kids about technology. I hope the gifted children will learn how to make web pages and videos and use technology so they can get good jobs. Technology jobs are being outsourced to the Philippines. I met one LDP graduate that works for a computer company that services USA clients. I hate to lose an American job but at least it’s going to someone who really needs it. Filipino’s are not the poorest people in the world they are becoming an emerging economy only government corruption holds them down. Just like in the housing projects in America the biggest problem is emotional poverty…my world will never be better…. After visiting the families I see the stark difference in the emotional poverty of the family and the belief in the future of my sponsored child. One child I sponsor is in Bible College studying Christian education. Technology will serve them well as they reach out to the lost in the Philippines.

  6. Bob
    Dec 14, 2009
    at 9:43 am

    Let’s look inward…

    One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time. — John Piper

    LINK

  7. Mike Stephens
    Dec 14, 2009
    at 10:09 am

    Well whether they need my help or not they’re going to get some help I am able to give ;)

  8. Amber
    Dec 14, 2009
    at 11:11 am

    In this day and age “aid” means more than basic clothing and food. It means real world training, which involves internet, twitter, facebook. A whole new world can easily be opened up to a kid who can’t afford to travel but can experience a lot of life through the internet. I would see access to internet as not QUITE as “basic” a need as food and shelter, but a need in this day and age nonetheless. It would probably change my perception of poverty, but not really make me think they no longer deserve aid. I would be glad my dollars are helping!

  9. Tiffany Morgan
    Dec 14, 2009
    at 11:28 am

    I would love another way to communicate with our sponsored children!! Having Internet access (even if rare) would enable sponsors to send bits of love and encouragement more frequently! But I do agree that the rest of the world may not see it as black and white.

  10. Dec 14, 2009
    at 1:31 pm

    I think it would be great if I could communicate with my sponsored child via email/Facebook/Twitter/etc. Then we would be linked in a truer relationship, and I could find out more specifically and immediately what her needs are. This is, however, a thought-provoking topic. Thank you for being so candid with your own thoughts on this!

  11. Kristen
    Dec 14, 2009
    at 2:30 pm

    I can see where Compassion may not want us communicating directly with our child. Even if we weren’t allowed to communicate with our children via internet due to language barriers, standards, etc. it would still be great to be able to see pictures of our children at play, their project, maybe communicate with staff. Also to know that our children have access to the internet to learn more about our world as we try to learn more about theirs. It’s a good thing.

  12. Sara F.
    Dec 14, 2009
    at 3:14 pm

    I have had similar thoughts to yours, Chris, and even emailed a question to Compassion when one child wrote about television. I know it is “wrong” and “judgemental”, but I do think that it would bother me some to think of my Compassion child sitting at home in front of a computer with full internet access. Do I think they need exposure in this area? YES! I would expect and hope for it via the schools and projects. It is just more difficult for me to look at them as needy with such a luxury. So many of the stories on the site seem much more dire with basic needs the daily focus. I realize there is a wide range of poverty and that the project areas help determine need thresholds. I also know that there are many people labeled as poor in the USA who have television, cell phones, etc. Yes, I am rambling. As much as I want more communication, I am afraid that I might find myself questioning if my sponsorship is really needed although it would be wonderful if because of sponsorship the families did so well that they had these things and no longer needed it. I realize mine is somewhat of a minority view, but it is honest in terms of my initial reaction. Maybe the deeper issue is my own cynical nature in a world where too many people have pulled the wool over the eyes of one another and people have been taken advantage of. This is my issue and not one I plan to make that of the kids. All I really want, is to know that my sponsorship matters. (I really would love to see websites of the projects and more videos/pictures!)

  13. Diane
    Dec 14, 2009
    at 3:33 pm

    If it is taught in the Development Centers, controlled in a wholesome way, I feel it is a part of what they may need in this world today. There are educational games and such available too, which would probably be better for them than facebook..
    But, they do need protection. I believe Compassion thought it out well, to protect children. It seems good the sponsors should be protected from bribes, threats and such..not all family members are nice people.
    It would be WONDERFUL, after graduation, though, if both parties want the communication, to be allowed it via the internet or any other form of communication that will work.
    Cost-wise and maintenance, in undeveloped areas, the internet in many projects could be more than it’s worth, as far as taking away from things the children need more..
    If not online, with educational cd’s, a child can learn LOTS with a computer and printer, with assorted hardware, to still learn many skills. Maybe it’s more practical..

  14. Marvin
    Dec 14, 2009
    at 5:00 pm

    As a person who has visited the 3rd world a few times I can say…even in a project the families have different needs. One family might not have electricity or any modern convenience. The next family might have food and a TV. I have never been to Africa but it looks poorer than Asia. But I think Asian countries have more potential for someday being independent of compassion. In the Philippines most churches already have internet access. This is due to the class structure of the country with some living fairly comfortable lives as others live in extreme poverty. We can look at it in 2 ways, do I want to support the neediest children or the ones with the most potential. I have chosen to support ones with the most potential (better than average in school…). One child I sponsored had a job at Jollibee Bee (like McDonalds) and had a cell phone… but I thought this was great. This child was becoming independent but still benefited from Sponsorship. I am sending a family gift to a different child with the hope they can use it to buy animals or start a business. I wish compassion would let me give more than $300 so I could really help. For $2000 I could buy the father a motor taxi. If you have never been outside of America or a developed country you can’t really understand. But even some people living in a dirt hut have a TV. It is a life line to the outside world. The 3rd world often gets our leftovers so things like TV’s… are cheaper. I sponsor children in a country like the Philippines because they have a real chance to get out of poverty and get a better life. One child we sponsor is NOT an LDP student but still is going to College. Others might want to sponsor in the poorest countries in Africa…it is what ever God leads us too…. Chris and others like him should sponsor in the poorest parts of Africa. We want our children to go to college.

  15. Mary P.
    Dec 14, 2009
    at 6:24 pm

    Marvin states: (#14)
    I wish compassion would let me give more than $300 so I could really help.

    Hi Marvin,
    Good news!!! The rates have for giving to our children and family has increased.

    The birthday and general gifts used to be between $10.00 and $25.00. The new rate is $10.00-$100.00.

    The family gift was between $25.00-$300.00. It is now $25.00 and $1,000. Yes, 1,000 is the max. How wonderful is that?!

    Hope that helps. The new rates started about 3 months ago and has not been posted on the website yet.

    Mary

  16. Dec 14, 2009
    at 7:22 pm

    First, I will confess that one of the items purchased with my first family gift to Tausi was a TV, and I wondered about the wisdom in that purchase. Tausi was apparently very proud to have it, as she sent me two snapshots of herself, her mother, grandmother and uncle. But…most of the money I had sent went for other “real” needs.

    I’m having a little trouble–not a lot–lumping access to e-mail, Facebook, Twitter (and, I assume, the Internet, in general?) into one issue. I learned several years ago that Tausi did not have access to a computer either at school or at the project. Not even the project’s office had a computer, much less one or more for the children to learn on. I was wishing we could send enough to purchase at least a couple, but we just couldn’t do that. I would be very happy if every Compassion-assisted project had computers in the office, and a computer lab for the kids to learn on–both to learn to use computers, and to use as we all do here to learn about such a variety of things.

    Your question is about how their access to the technology would affect my perception of their neediness, and I can only say, “It depends.” Others have asked where this access would be available–at school, at the project–?? And at what age? And what kind of monitoring would be applied for their protection?

    I have an opinion as to the appropriateness and importance of technological social networking, in their lives, but that wasn’t your question. :)

  17. Chuck Guth
    Dec 14, 2009
    at 7:30 pm

    Not at all, having visited Honduras twice and seeing the poverty first hand I realize that the sponsorship is valuable and needed. I know one of the families we support has a television and a fridge. Does that mean that they don’t need the sponsorship. Of course not. On a selfish note…it would be so cool to skpe or email to the project and our children…

  18. Diana
    Dec 14, 2009
    at 9:55 pm

    Something I have learned in my own life is that things do not satisfy. I could have every material thing known to man and still be an empty and miserable human being. I don’t think there is anything wrong with giving to a child who has access to the internet or a television because if I wasn’t giving it to them, where would it be going? Would it be going toward my own wants and desires? Probably. The saying “my money’s burning a hole in my pocket” is so evident in America. Just look at the malls this time of year. People go searching for days on end for things. Things that we most likely don’t even need. I am guilty of this myself. I am so worried about giving a good gift when really, the best gift that I can give, can’t be bought. I took a sociology class in college a couple of years ago and one thing that I will always remember was the statistics of a study. The study was on happiness and material possessions. Even among people who DON’T know Christ, majority of people were happiest when just their basic material needs were met. Why is that? I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that when you have a lot, you are always wanting more. Always moving on to the next material desire. It could be because there’s a better, more updated version of the first, or because the first thing didn’t satisfy like we had imagined it would. Either way, you will never find true contentment in material things. Material things can be gone in a second. If that’s where your hope and pleasure and fulfillment is, then once those things are gone, YOU ARE LOST. I have been there. I have searched this world up and down for happiness when happiness was right in front of my eyes, upon the cross. In Jesus, who died to give me LIFE. So, if these children have material possessions, so be it. The best thing anyone can give a child is love, hope, knowledge. Even a simple hug from someone who you didn’t know cared can make all the difference. Compassion gives those things. They give freely of their time and love. They introduce these children to Jesus, who is the true hope of this world. If my money is buying that, then I will gladly send it to the people who make that happen.

  19. Mike Stephens
    Dec 14, 2009
    at 11:53 pm

    I had 3 Chipotle dinners tonight and I think the cashier either felt sorry for me or was just really kind b/c she paid for my second dinner! (I look like a homeless person with my beard) I cannot imagine not being able to eat. I workout a decent amount and feel “starving” multiple times a day. Even with so much food available I often get angry it is not more readily available to me. I get angry food isn’t free. If you can eat it I think that is good enough reason to have it ;) Although the farmers may not agree with that one. I am realizing if we have food, shelter, fellowship, a bible that can really go a long way. If’s too bad often the really good food like bacon wrapped shrimp and crab meat is so expensive. The more I struggle financially the more time I seemingly have to ponder the AWESOME gift of eternal life and how God’s reward/inheritance will last awhile.

  20. Dec 15, 2009
    at 1:51 am

    Hmmmmm….. I have to say that I’ve wondered the same thing. For instance, when I went to Colombia, I found that several of the children didn’t really live “that bad.” One of them even had a television in his own bedroom, something that I didn’t have as a child. Having said that, I found deep poverty there in other ways. Their whole surroundings were invested with gangs and violence. So, the poverty was different. I also saw people eat from trashcans there. Where I was in Colombia, a week later 19 people were killed in gangfights.

    So, it seems as if poverty takes on different “faces” in different countries.

    Almost every household in Bolivia has a television. The mother, whose husband has left her goes to work for $2/day. The child is left by himself for the day. What does the child do? They turn on the television and that is indoctrinating the child from early day to late at night. So, the television now is really a part of the problem and now a sign of wealth. So, I’m glad that Compassion takes them into the project and spends time with them there.

    Even the USA has a lot of poverty among the so called rich, because many of them don’t have Christ and ultimately that is the real poverty.

    Blessings,

    Kees

  21. Dec 15, 2009
    at 1:54 am

    @Marvin,

    Compassion recently upped the amount that you can give to your children:

    Birthday Gift – $10 – $100 once per year

    General Gift – $10 – $100 once per year

    Family Gift – $25 – $1000 total per calendar year
    Final/Graduation Gifts – $25 – $1000

    I hope this helps.

  22. Dec 15, 2009
    at 10:25 am

    I have lifted this straight from the e-mail that came to us straight from Compassion. It does not include the information about LDP.

    CDSP [Sponsorship Program)

    · Child gifts will be limited to $10 – $100 USD. A gift can be given a maximum of two times per year (total maximum of $100 USD per year), including a birthday gift. This does not include the Christmas gift, which will be given to every registered child. A child gift over $100 USD will be considered a family gift, unless it is specifically designated as a final graduation gift.

    · A graduation gift from $10 – $2,000 USD may be given during an individual’s final year in CDSP.

    FAMILY

    · Family gifts from $25 – $1,000 USD, with a yearly maximum of $1,000 USD, may be given by sponsors.

    So as I read it, if we give a birthday gift of, say, $25, we can still give one other child gift of $75, during the year.

    What I haven’t heard is whether the “year” is Compassion’s fiscal year, or determined in some other way.

    I still think as Compassion used to say:
    - We need to guard the dignity of those we support by not giving so much that the father in the home (if he is there) feels shamed, as if we don’t think he is capable of earning money to support his family. It may be that a family gift would provide him with just the tools he needs to do that;

    - We need to guard against giving so much as to develop the family’s dependency on us and a sense of entitlement–that we can, will and should meet their every need; and

    - We need to remember that some children never receive letters from their sponsors, let alone gifts. For them to see other children receiving what, to them, are large amounts, and perhaps more than once a year, is very discouraging.

    I am frankly a little dismayed that Compassion raised the maximums so high, as that seems to negate those messages that they used to give us about giving.

  23. Danielle
    Dec 15, 2009
    at 11:45 am

    It’s definitely something that has crossed my mind. When I met one of my sponsored children, she was dressed in cute clothes and her mom had nice clothes and a cell phone. I wondered if they really needed my help. Then someone mentioned, on the trip, that the kids are likely to come in their best clothes and I would assume the same is true for the parents. I’m sure my opinion would have been different if I had seen where she lived etc. But I did see how other Compassion assisted families were living, and I know that our help is needed!

    I love what Diana said, a few posts up, about what good would the money be if we kept it to ourselves. I know I could easily waste it on things not needed! Instead, I’m so glad it’s going to a cause worth fighting for!

  24. Dec 15, 2009
    at 3:26 pm

    Vicki,

    The gift limits are set per calendar year- January to December.

    The key reason the gift limits changed is the current economic climate. The dollar’s purchasing power is down 20% compared to what it was five years ago.

    We adjusted the limits to account for this, as well as exchange rates and inflation.

    Personally, I was surprised by the size of the increases as well, and for the same reasons. But I know that when the subject of raising the limits was discussed, the issue of avoiding dependency was always at the forefront of the conversation.

  25. Marvin
    Dec 15, 2009
    at 4:18 pm

    A large gift would be nice if it could be used as a micro loan. The father of one child I sponsor rents a vehicle for P400 (about $8) a day. If we gave him a gift of $1,800 he could buy a motor tricycle. He could keep his dignity by paying back the compassion center a small percentage maybe $2 a day ($700 a year) compared to $8 a day ($2,400 a year) that he pays now to rent it. But when I called they said that compassion does not do any type of micro loans. I wish the compassion centers had some type of program that could use micro loans to help families…and my gift could be used over and over again to help many families have a better life.

  26. Dec 15, 2009
    at 5:47 pm

    Chris, I saw that the maximum gift to give to Compassion projects was 1000/year, but that you could only do that if you specifically called Compassion. What is the limit now? Thanks!

    On another note, I think it is different having a tv, which can be quite inexpensive in some places, and having a fancy cell phone for instance (note, I feel a regular cell phone can be a necessity for safety). The comment about the TV being a babysitter certainly does ring a bell even here in the US.

    Children should have computer skills because they are important to advance their adult careers. However, I feel it is much better for ALL children to use the internet with supervision from adults. I think if the child had a computer with internet access at their house I would surmise their physical poverty was less than someone without that computer. However, not everyone with easy internet access has many other material goods. Considering that Compassion focuses on physical, emotional and spiritual needs that doesn’t mean a child with easy internet access has been ‘released from poverty’. Therefore, when the whole picture is considered the child does need outside assistance from Compassion. I heard a story from a major media source that many people in Africa were choosing internet over proper sanitation. Therefore, I don’t associate internet access with having all of one’s physical needs met.

  27. James
    Dec 16, 2009
    at 10:23 pm

    I am sponsor of less than a year now, but I think it would be a good thing. It means that the child and the family aren’t just trying to survive. Electronics are definitely a luxury and I think that unless they were eating regularly they wouldn’t use any extra money to buy non essentials. Breaking the cycle of poverty, allowing some luxuries wow what a powerful picture that is. Not just surviving but thriving and learning about technology.

  28. Dec 17, 2009
    at 12:19 pm

    @James,

    Yes, computers can really help a child become marketable in that country. You might read up or watch the videos of Tony Belltranes, who is a formerly sponsored child and formerly LDP student and now a student at Moody. He actually turned his knowledge into a succesful computer business in the DR.

  29. Dec 18, 2009
    at 9:25 am

    I understand that some families living in poverty will spend money on a TV that ought to be used for food or clothing for their children. They do this to try to lift their status in the community. Part of Compassion’s mission is to help them get out of that type of mindset. Cell phones can be bought simply to make one appear wealthy enough to own it. I’ve seen people pretend to use a broken-down cellphone (nonfunctioning) just to try to impress others watching. We need to help these parents get their priorities in order and realize they really can get out of the cycle of poverty by learning some basic principles at the Compassion projects. When this was explained to me (that they were buying TV’s in place of food just to try to improve their self-image) I was even more grateful for Compassion’s ministry to these children. They may have even greater needs in these types of homes. I am certain Compassion is choosing the neediest children through all the careful decisions they make. I’m also glad they are helping parents and children to realize their own self-esteem and worth is not dependent on having a TV or cell phone.

    Regarding internet connections, I would love to have the ability to converse with my children online — of course! Especially my LDP students. It doesn’t cause me to doubt Compassion’s integrity and selection process one bit. These kids need to learn these skills of computer usage in safe and healthy ways.

  30. Dyan
    Dec 20, 2009
    at 2:48 pm

    The way I feel is this. I hope and pray that one day my children will be able to have a computer and t.v. in their home. Isn’t that the point guys?? That one day they will have stepped out of the poverty label and into a more thriving environment? Don’t we want them to have nice things? I don’t care what they use my money for because I know that physically and emotionally they are becoming better people. I know these children are in so much need. My little girl in India thanked me profusely for my gift because she bought 2 new dresses. She told me she didn’t have new or clean clothes and now she did. She also got a booksack..she didn’t have one before. She also used her birthday money to buy her mom a pressure cooker. She thanked me that now they could have good and tasty meals that her mother prepared. We need to stop questioning and just continue doing.

  31. Michelle
    Jan 8, 2010
    at 10:43 am

    Just like my own son, I dream of my little sponsored girl having all the educational extras that she could use to better her life. I consider the internet to be one of those. I, myself, am not interested in Facebook or Twittering with her… I would love email if we both understood the same language! But for me, I’d love for her to learn online….. as the internet is a wealth of information. The information is both good and bad… which is why I’d prefer her access to be in an adult supervised location.

    I also consider tv to be a potential educational tool. It all depends on what is watched….

    So just having those items would not indicate to me that they aren’t “poor” enough to be helped. I’d look at it like others said: Their quality of life is improving in a good way due to sponsorship.

  32. Michelle
    Jan 8, 2010
    at 10:53 am

    I also wanted to add that I am VERY curious as to how much money people usually send for the family gifts? What with the new limits, I am a bit confused at how much is too much or what is too little….

    Somewhere on this site I read about a sponsor whose child left the program because the parent felt that their situation had improved enough and other children deserved to be sponsored. While that is very noble of the parent, it bothered me as I am hoping to sponsor my little girl until she reaches the end of her education…. It made me worry that by sending the maximum amount of money that I would eventually lose my little girl….

    However, now that the limit has been upped, I am now wondering if I would be sending too little???

    I guess what I am wondering is: How much would be appropriate to send each year without fostering dependence? If I sent $300 this past year, should I send the same this year? More? Will that set the family up to expect it every year? Then what happens if I can’t send it one year??

    That is why I’d be curious as to what amount others are sending. There is no way I will ever be able to send the new maximum (or even close!), but I’d like to know if people send the same amount every year and if I am doing okay by sending $200 to $300.

    Also, what do the people do that sponsor multiple children? That could get very expensive if they give family gifts every year…..

  33. Jan 8, 2010
    at 11:43 am

    Michelle, I know others have sent more than I, but I have limited our family gifts to $100 at any one time, and I haven’t sent that every year. I know you can get a host of different opinions, on this, but one way to avoid creating dependency is not to send regular gifts, whether “regular” means monthly, quarterly, yearly…. A couple of times, I have wished I had sent more, because our money doesn’t buy as much as it used to, for our kids and their families. But our own finances have suffered so much, these last two years, that I have to be more careful than I used to. And we do sponsor several children, so I try to send gifts to them equally.

    Keep in mind, too, that the new, higher limits on giving are annual totals and can be cumulative; not that Compassion requires or expects everyone to meet those totals, at all.

    Know that whatever you send will be deeply appreciated and used to meet one or more needs.

  34. Marvin
    Jan 8, 2010
    at 1:52 pm

    Michelle
    We send a family gift every year and I have visited all 3 of the children we sponsor/ sponsored (technically I have sponsored 4 but the first was back in 1990 and I stopped when I went to college). We started giving $100 once a year but then cut it back a little after the second year. I did not want them to expect it so I started giving $25 or $35 twice a year (Christmas and back to school…) plus $25 Birthday gifts. They always bought clothing and food and maybe a mat or pots and pans…. For most families $100 is a lot of money at one time. And most of the kids in the program never get family gifts…or so I am told.

    I visited our children in the Philippines in October 2009 when I was in country on a trip. After visiting I decided to give a large gift to one family at the end of the year. I gave $75 for the family so that it arrived at Christmas and gave a gift Dec 28 (so I could put it on this years taxes) of $900. The max I could give this year. I already gave $25. I did this for a few reasons. Smaller gifts get used quickly for food…or stuff but it does not solve the long term problem. The father makes about P100-150 ($1.10-$1.60) a day and the mother and 12 year old sister looked like they had anorexia (very skinny). I can not describe it any other way. But I am sure it is not by choice but I can not explain in to us in the USA any other way (sorry). I think I have a picture on the ourcompasion.com page under the Philippine group. I sent the money with the contingency that it would be used to help them buy some animals…chickens, goat or be used for some other type of business. From what the project director told me they have to use the money as requested, or they can appeal the request to the country office for something different but the country office needs to approve the new use. She said they had one family send a gift for a bike so the child could ride to school. But the father was sick so they appealed it to be used for food….

    I gave a big gift so they could in the big picture have food for the family week in and week out for years to come. I saw chickens running around on my visit so I know they can raise them. To be honest I wish compassion had a program for micro loans… but that’s a different story…. From a distance it is hard to know if sending a family gift is helpful or not. When you visit you can look around and see what they really need. The poverty between each child/family can be very different. So a big family gift for one family might be good but for a different family it might not be good. I would ask in your letters very specific questions about the family and talk about your own problems. When I wrote one child last year I talked about all the people in my area losing jobs and houses….. They wrote back and talked about the lack of food and problems they have. This will give you a good idea on what to send.

  35. Jan 8, 2010
    at 2:20 pm

    Marvin, I believe Compassion partners with Opportunity International for providing micro-loans, but I don’t know any more about that, or how in how many countries/regions that is available.

  36. Marvin
    Jan 8, 2010
    at 4:39 pm

    I was told they partner with Opportunity International but not in a direct way…they will not partner with my childs family…. I could not provide a loan to the family…that is payed back to compassion or Opportunity International.

  37. Ken M.
    Jan 8, 2010
    at 4:49 pm

    Michelle,
    It was my response you had read: the mother felt that the family’s financial situation had improved so she wanted another child to be sponsored in place of her child. I had never sent them a family gift. It was something that happened: maybe a good paying job was found; maybe the mother remarried; I don’t know. I just know that I was saddened by the mother’s decision but couldn’t change it. I’d like to see all 5 of my children graduate from Compassion but God may have a different plan for them. If the rest of my children don’t graduate from Compassion I hope that it is because their finances improve to the point that allows them to grab all the educational, spiritual and social resources available in their country. I’d have to admit that it would still hurt to lose them.

  38. weng
    Mar 8, 2010
    at 9:47 am

    hi im weng from philippines, i have a neighbor here who already graduated with the help of a sponsor from Japan, now she is lready a nurse, and i know she will be visiting the one who sponsored her, as far as i know, the went to japan to live with her sponsor and a vacation for about a month., and it really worked out, well that the one who sponsor was really happy of what had happened with the childs education and really helped a lot with the family to raise the child. And now she is very thankful to that person.I really believed that God blesses those people who helps.

  39. May 14, 2011
    at 6:04 pm

    I would love if my child had Facebook. If he had the latest laptop and high speed internet at home, I might be a little perplexed. But I understand access to internet does not necessitate abundance. I would love to add him on Facebook when he finishes the program this year.

    • May 15, 2011
      at 12:37 am

      Annabella, I know how you feel. I felt the same way before, but what I found out is that children are not allowed to contact their sponsor through Facebook. The reason for this is really to protect both the child and the sponsor.
      With Compassion anyone can sponsor a child. That is good, but at the same time can be bad. There have been pedophiles, who sponsored children.
      Also, there is not the assurance that the sponsor is indeed talking with the child and not with maybe some alcoholic uncle or so, trying to get money from the sponsor. This is a very real possibility. Also, the culture between the child and the sponsor can be quite different. What can be totally acceptable in one culture can be downright rude in another. It takes wisdom to deal with these cultures.
      And you are right access to the Internet doesn’t necessitate abundance. I know in Bolivia, it is 20 cents/hour to have access to the Internet and they have internet in many of the schools and what have you.
      But once they graduate, you can request continual contact. You’ll have to sign some things. I’m in touch with several of my Compassion children, who have graduated. And now one of them and me are the correspondents to three children. I think that is pretty neat…. :-)

      BTW, I really like your blog very much and I appreciate your heart for children.

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