gifts from the heart For children in Togo and around the world, a letter from a sponsor is a source of great joy. Most children see letters as gifts from the hearts of their sponsors.

Sadly, other children feel forgotten or unloved because they have not received a single letter.

Like Godwin.

Godwin is in the fifth grade. He is clever, dynamic and very sociable, and he has a good relationship with his friends at the child development center he attends in Togo. He lost his father and currently lives with his mother, a cashier in a small company.

Godwin was sponsored a few years ago but he has never received any communication from his sponsor.

This makes him unhappy and uncomfortable, especially when his friends at the development center receive letters from their sponsors.

Godwin thinks his sponsor does not love him.

When he wants to talk about this situation, he pauses for a long time, bows his head and bursts into tears.

“I don’t know why my sponsor can’t write to me while other children always receive letters. They are happy every Saturday when it is time to answer letters. Me, I am forgotten.

“I don’t think that my sponsor really loves me. When I write, I receive no answer. During Christmas and Easter, I always hope that they will send me a letter, but I have been disappointed.”

Benedicte would also like to receive a letter from her sponsor. Her mother shares with us,

“On Easter, Christmas and my daughter’s birthday, I have to encourage her, because her friends at the child development center tell her that their sponsors have written to them.

“We live in the same house with another sponsored girl from the same church. I remember a day when that girl received a letter from her sponsor. Benedicte asked her desperately, ‘When will my sponsor write to me?’

“We have written many letters to the sponsor, but they never reply and our questions go unanswered. How can you keep on asking the same questions to the same person who gives you no information? We just want them to tell us how they are doing.”

Letters from sponsors have a great impact, not only on the children but also on their family members.

Germain, who serves as director of the center that Godwin and Benedicte attend, tells us,

“It is really true that when a child regularly receives letters from his sponsor, his joy overflows.

“Even days following the reception of a letter are filled with happiness and delight. You can feel that joy in his life during the following weeks. The child’s attitude changes, especially when it is their first time to receive a letter from their sponsor.”

Davi and Dagan, twins with the same sponsor, are a great example of this. They receive letters almost every week.

Dagan shares,

“I love the way our sponsor writes to us. She calls us princes, as if our father were a king.

“Our parents never call us by that name and we feel really loved. On our birthday, we always expect good words from our sponsor and she always writes to us. She is also a source of empowerment to our family.

“When my sister and I pass our exams, she writes to encourage and congratulate us. Sometimes, our parents forget to do it, but they have started doing it because our sponsor does it.

“Our sponsor is someone we will never forget. Truly, she loves us. We don’t know how to express our thanksgiving toward her and her family. The only thing we hope is that she will visit us and we are sure God will bless her so that she can do it.”

To maintain good relationships with sponsored children, it is important that you write to them.

Your letters give them the joy of having somebody abroad thinking about them. The letters also give encouragement, empowerment and hope to the boys and girls we serve.

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44 Comments Add a Comment
  1. Nina
    Jul 12, 2012
    at 7:05 am

    This blog is heartbreaking – and very necessary for ALL sponsors to read! Thank you so much for continuing to try to get the message to sponsors of how important their letters are to their sponsored children. I suppose it is not practical, but I wish it was possible to ‘require’ (or STRONGY suggest when they first sponsor?) every sponsor to write at least 2 or 3 letters a year. Or maybe ask for volunteers to get on the phones to call sponsors who are not writing, and tell them to write to their kids! There has to be SOMEthing more that can be done!

  2. Jul 12, 2012
    at 7:47 am

    I have seen this same thing first-hand where when asked if they hear alot from their sponsors, they bow their heads and slowly shake them “no.” It has given me a desire to share with every sponsor I meet the importance of writing, writing, writing!

  3. Susan
    Jul 12, 2012
    at 7:58 am

    I think it would be kinder for these sponsors that never write to their kids, to give up their children and get them sponsored with people that will treat them right the way they deserve to be treated.

    • Maglio
      Aug 19, 2012
      at 3:09 am

      Really, Susan?

      “…give up their children and get them sponsored with people that will treat them right the way they deserve to be treated.”

      This is a charity that provides children with medical check-ups, school supplies, etc. Most of them have fathers and mothers. They don’t need pictures of you and your cats. Sure, it doesn’t hurt, but the money is what they really need.

      I suggest you get down from your high horse and pay for every child on the waiting list. When you are finished, you may get back up and proceed with your lecture on morality.

      In the meantime, to suggest that sponsors withdraw their support is immature, reckless, and potentially damaging to the well-being of the already sponsored children.

      Next time, before you speak, please consider the needs of the children ahead of your own emotional gratification.

  4. Marvin
    Jul 12, 2012
    at 9:45 am

    …this is nice but the people who read the blog are people who write… but some people might find it hard to find the time to write… we can judge them, but they are sending in $38 a month, so they must care…

    • andrew
      Jul 12, 2012
      at 10:50 am

      Marvin, good point.

      My mom, a single parent, was good at providing a home, food, encouragement, and opportunities, but otherwise, she was hands off as a parent. I don’t remember affection, discipline (after I was too old to spank), play time, help with my homework, etc.

      I know she cared, and I don’t think she should have “give up [her] children” to “people that will treat them the right way they deserve to be treated.”

    • Susan
      Jul 12, 2012
      at 12:53 pm

      Marvin, I work a full time job and am taking care of 2 sick parents and most of the household chores, laundry and food shopping/cooking and I find time to write. I explained to my child and her mother in my letters that sometimes I can write more than others. But I would NEVER not write at all. I wouldn’t dream of hurting my child like that.

      • Jul 12, 2012
        at 10:06 pm

        Marvin, I agree with you–if the sponsor continues to pay, month after month after year, there is some caring. I’m guessing that the vast majority of sponsors are not aware that, if they cannot manage the correspondence, relationship-building side of the sponsorship, they can ask Compassion to find a correspondent sponsor. That is the sponsor the child will know. Of course, some sponsors who don’t write don’t want to give up “their” child, because they say they love the child and enjoy the child’s letter–but, they say, they just don’t have time to write. I talk about writing online, when they’re at their computers, anyway. I have had this conversation with more than one sponsor, and I promise you, I feel like yanking the child loose from them!

        But…I won’t totally fault a sponsor who continues to send the financial support. I do wish Compassion could do more to pry letters out of them; in fact, some years back, Compassion began sending postcards to sponsors who had not submitted a letter in 10 months, and sponsors could write a short note on an attached card and return it, to be sent on to the child. I’ve no idea whether they still do that.

        As an advocate, anytime I have a chance to talk to someone just beginning to sponsor, I stress the relational part as much as I can. Once, I even “half-jokingly” asked a woman to raise her right hand and solemnly swear to write to her sponsored child. Of course, as soon as she started to raise her hand, I told her I couldn’t really do that to sponsors. But she promised and has kept her promise.

      • Jul 12, 2012
        at 10:09 pm

        The people I know at Compassion would be happier if every sponsor wrote even just once a year. Too many don’t even do that. There are many times when my best intentions and my desire to write just get pushed back by things I cannot ignore. But I do write to my kids–and a lot more than once a year!

      • Pam
        Sep 27, 2012
        at 10:08 am

        Susan,
        This isn’t about who does what, its about writing these children. I have first hand been to Rwanda, Africa. These children outwork us every day of the week. Now, do they covet our letters? YES! Do they understand when we can’t write? YES. But to STOP supporting them is NOT the answer. There are hundreds of children wanting on sponsership in Rwanda alone, no one can pick up where someone else stops. Speak encouraging words my dear, not legality.

  5. Jul 12, 2012
    at 1:04 pm

    It is heartbreaking. Can’t Compassion do something about this?

  6. Jul 12, 2012
    at 1:19 pm

    This message is something that needs to be heard! The average American spends over an hour a day on the computer. Surely they can spare 15-20 minutes a month to send a quick note to their child.

    I hope that, if a sponsor doesn’t write, they are compelled to contact Compassion and ask that their child be assigned a correspondent.

  7. Kelly
    Jul 12, 2012
    at 2:13 pm

    Or they should call in and let Compassion know that they would like a correspondent sponsor for their child. There are some people who can’t afford to sponsor a child but who would love to make a difference in their lives by writing letters.

    • Russ
      Aug 30, 2012
      at 2:24 pm

      Thanks Kelly! for a solution, brilliant idea! We do our letters online-it is a bit easier……..

  8. Tracy
    Jul 12, 2012
    at 3:41 pm

    Has anyone included an extra envelope of ‘goodies’ to their sponsor child so that they can give it to one of their friends who does not receive letters? I wouldn’t write an actual letter, but I would include a few Bible verses and stickers, bookmarks, etc.. For the child who received no letters, I thought this might brighten the child’s day. I don’t know if this would be lost in translation though. Thoughts?

    • Jul 13, 2012
      at 6:04 am

      Yes, I do know of sponsors who have done this. They mention, in their letter, that the extra goodies are for a friend who hasn’t gotten mail in a while.

  9. Belinda
    Jul 12, 2012
    at 7:44 pm

    I wonder if I can just send a package to Compassion and ask them to send it to a child who hasn’t received a letter. Do they have a way to do that?

  10. Garry
    Jul 12, 2012
    at 8:14 pm

    I agree with Marvin. If you are reading this, you likely write to your kids. I do have a question. I recently asked for to correspondence kids. I got two boys, ages 6 and 7, from the same student center in Rwanda. While I will be happy with these boys, the center they are from appears to be one that has just started up. My question is, shouldn’t the kids like Godwin and Benedicte, take precedence? I would think it would make sense to fill in the correspondence “holes” that exist. If either of these kids are still not receiving letters, I would be more than happy to add one or both. They need to hear from somebody.

    • Shaina Moats
      Jul 13, 2012
      at 7:25 am

      Thanks for your willingness to write, Garry! We’re only able to assign correspondents when a sponsor requests to have one added. It’s really the sponsor’s decision as some do enjoy receiving letters but may not have the time to respond.

      • Garry
        Jul 17, 2012
        at 1:14 pm

        I thought about that after I had posted. I think correspondence to sponsors that don’t write needs to have,
        “I don’t know why my sponsor can’t write to me while other children always receive letters. They are happy every Saturday when it is time to answer letters. Me, I am forgotten.

        “I don’t think that my sponsor really loves me. When I write, I receive no answer. During Christmas and Easter, I always hope that they will send me a letter, but I have been disappointed.”

        included, just to see if it will prompt them to do something.

        • Nina
          Jul 18, 2012
          at 6:07 am

          I’m with you! They need to hear it bluntly and clearly, how much their child is sad because they don’t write. But it’s easy for people to not really read ‘stuff’ that they get in the mail. What about e-mails or phone calls to non-writing sponsors? Let’s try another way to get their attention!
          People reading this Blog are usually people who write at least occasionally, but usually pretty regularly. The Blog might reach a few people, but the message needs to go farther!

  11. Ruth
    Jul 12, 2012
    at 10:19 pm

    I’ve been sponsoring children for over 30 years, although not only with Compassion. I sponsor through several organizations and some don’t want frequent letters to the sponsor kids. One organization sent me an email scolding me for sending letters more than 3 or 4 times a YEAR due to the work and effort in distributing the letters. Compassion, on the other hand, encourages monthly letters. When I started sponsoring with Compassion, I thought that writing a letter every 3 or 4 months was a good balance. However, over the last few years, I’ve come to the realization that more frequent letters is a joy to the sponsor children so I’ve gone to monthly writing. Perhaps Compassion can emphasize to new sponsors how much joy the child gets in receiving sponsor letters? This may encourage them to write more to their new sponsor kids.

  12. dj
    Jul 12, 2012
    at 10:37 pm

    Maybe there are people out there who cannot afford the $38 per month but would be willing to write letters. Someone in our church requested that someone write the letters and they would pay the $38. More than one person raised their hand to volunteer for that.

  13. sue avery
    Jul 13, 2012
    at 4:05 am

    This has brought me to tears..I can’t bear the pain and disappointment that these precious children have to carry in their hearts!
    We have a project through Compassion Canada for writing generic letters for children who are waiting to be
    sponsored…could we not do something similar for these hurting sponsored children who never get a letter? How wonderful it would be to bring a smile to their faces and comfort to their hearts.

    • Shaina Moats
      Jul 13, 2012
      at 7:21 am

      We are able to write letters to unsponsored children for Christmas (September-November). We’ll release directions for this in early September in you are interested.

      • sue avery
        Jul 13, 2012
        at 9:55 am

        Yes, thank you. I’d love to get involved with the Christmas letters again this year. Will eagerly await instructions!

      • Trisha
        Aug 16, 2012
        at 8:33 pm

        I would love to write to unsponsored children! Will this information be posted on the blog, or how will we find out the information?

  14. Jul 13, 2012
    at 7:06 am

    I can’t tell you how many Compassion Peru translators told me about the disappointment some kids feel when they don’t hear from their sponsors.

    I correspond with 3 children through Compassion in addition to the two I financially sponsor. If you have a love for writing letters to your sponsored child– then, sign up to be a correpsondant to a sponsored child(with-no financial commitment needed!).

    And if you don’t frequently write– consider signing up for someone to correspond with your sponsored child on your behalf. It really does mean the world to these kids.

  15. Jul 13, 2012
    at 7:07 am

    Wonderful article; I do not think we can blog enough about the importance and impact that letter-writing has on a sponsored child. The Correspondence Sponsorship program is a great tool for sponsors that are uncomfortable with establishing a loving relationship with their sponsored child. I hope this program is further expanded, to enable more financial sponsors to take advantage of the love and caring Correspondence Sponsors can show for their sponsored children.

  16. Jul 13, 2012
    at 2:37 pm

    I’ve recently encountered a frustrating situation that has to do with this very topic. Our boy in Kenya is about to graduate and I requested to sponsor one of his younger brothers when he does complete the program. It turns out one of his brothers is sponsored – has been for a long time – but his sponsor doesn’t write to him ever. I can’t be his correspondent because the sponsor hasn’t relinquished correspondent rights. It makes me so sad – I would love to continue loving on this family, but I can’t.

    I just recently wrote an appeal for others to pray with me about this situation on my blog.

    • Garry
      Jul 13, 2012
      at 5:38 pm

      Jill, can sponsors who don’t communicate, be asked to let a correspondent write to their kids, or do they specifically have to ask first before anything can be done?

  17. GIna
    Jul 13, 2012
    at 8:52 pm

    I recently returned from a trip to Colombia to meet one of the children we sponsor. As we visited and talked to the kids in several Compassion projects, I saw first-hand how very much sponsor letters mean to the kids and the sadness in the eyes of those who had never heard from their sponsors. One little girl asked me “why doesn’t my sponsor write? please find her and ask her to write to me!” I can’t do that, but I can spread the word about the joy of correspondence!
    I have to admit, I was one of those sponsors who was not good at writing letters. It’s not that I didn’t want to, time just got away from us and months and months would go by without writing. Compassion would send post cards asking us to “drop a note” to our kids. We’d set it aside with a promise to “get to it” but never did, at least not often enough. Now my kids and I have times blocked out on the calendar for writing letters. It’s “Be thoughtful Thursdays”. Every Thursday we write letters to our Compassion kids or to our friends and grandparents, or do anything else we can think of to “be thoughtful”. We also set up separate binders for each of “our kids”. In it we keep their letters, country information and a calendar showing when we last wrote. By having time marked out on the calendar, we are sure to be more consistent! IT”S WORKING!

  18. Bonny from FL
    Jul 14, 2012
    at 11:36 am

    I currently sponsor a girl from Ethiopia, and recently found out about the correspondent program. I think it’s a great idea! I hoped I would get an older boy to write to, as it seems sometimes older children are overlooked. Sure enough, I was sent a boy that turned 19 this month! I sent a note to him, and am eagerly awaiting his first letter! Question: do the financial sponsors have to give the ‘OK’ for the child to be in this program?

    • Shaina Moats
      Jul 16, 2012
      at 8:57 am

      Yes, financial sponsor must give their OK for their child to be a correspondence child.

  19. Diane
    Jul 14, 2012
    at 8:31 pm

    I don’t think that the sponsor who doesn’t write is giving up “their” child, how can they get close to the child if they don’t write? These children have enough problems. They need letters of encouragment, I correspond with several children and would take on a couple of more but Compassion is limiting it to 3 children now so everyone has a chance to be a correspondent, but these kids do think of the correspondents as “their” sponsors. Wish I could have more to correspond with, I am retired so I have time to do this.

  20. Diane
    Jul 14, 2012
    at 8:37 pm

    I don’t understand how a sponsor says they don’t want a correspondent for “their” child, how can that boy or girl be “their” child if they don’t get close to the child, as for not having time to write, if a person has time to e-mail their friends or get on facebook, they could give up that bit of time to make a difference in a child’s life. Or how about cutting down on the time a person spends on their cell phone. I correspond with several children and Compassion has limited it to 3 of them per person, I am retired and would take on a couple of more as correspondent children if I could, even my son who is special needs has some correspondent children.

  21. Meghan
    Jul 17, 2012
    at 12:18 pm

    Out of curiosity, what center is the picture of the four kids holding up their letters from?

    • Shaina Moats
      Jul 18, 2012
      at 12:04 pm

      This is TG-501.

  22. Joanna
    Jul 17, 2012
    at 1:17 pm

    This is so heartbreaking. I write my child, but this really incourages me to write more consistently often.

    If a sponsor doesn’t write for a long time, does Compassion contact them to be sure they know about the correspondent program? I think a lot more sponsors might do it if they knew about it. I totally understand sponsors who don’t want to “give up” their children, but if they knew the importance of letters, and that there are people out there who would love to write their child, I wonder if more of them would allow their child to have a correspondent sponsor.

  23. Jul 17, 2012
    at 11:21 pm

    After reading this post, my kids and I put together some wordless books and sent 3 to each one of our kids, asking them to share these with their friends. From now on, I think we will put extra items in our letters so they can be shared with other kids at the center.

  24. Diane Nichols
    Jul 18, 2012
    at 10:44 am

    How about a notice in the child information that they get when they sponsor, in bold capital letters so they see it??? Maybe that will get them to write??

  25. Kristine
    Aug 5, 2012
    at 5:53 pm

    I didn’t realize that we were able to write so often. I found the online letter writing tool and it was so simple to use. Since both of my boys wrote hand written letters to our child, I will also mail those letters with some photos I had printed for him. I am glad to know that they enjoy these letter and it WILL be a priority at our home. We will never be too busy to take 5 minutes to communicate our love and concern for him!

  26. Lisa Schaaf
    Aug 7, 2012
    at 3:11 pm

    I was a sponsor who never wrote their child.

    Two toddlers at home, working, living in a foreign country and this before you could write online. I just thought our sponsorship was pooled with other sponsors and someone would be writing. Or if I did receive a postcard, I’d put aside to write, but never followed through. I had my first child since 1999, in 2008, I finally wrote a letter and the reply was heartbreaking! My child said he was so happy to get our letter, he carried it with him and slept with it!! I immediately wrote again, I just had no idea!!! My next letter was from Compassion saying Brian had moved in w/his uncle and was no longer w/the program.

    So, I do try and write 2-3 times a year to our new child using the online templates and uploading pictures. Up until this last letter, I wondered if she received any of them, this letter was the first to acknowledge she saw a letter!

    But I’d say most people just don’t realize! About a year ago, Compassion sent out something to us telling us how important the letters were. That was the first time I read (not to say they hadn’t been sent before, I just might have tossed) about how the distribution went.

    So continued education to the sponsors is the best way to ensure they take the time to write! I’m sure most just get caught up in their crazy lives!

    • Lindsey
      Sep 17, 2012
      at 9:14 pm

      “Continued Education”… I like that! I think that’s the perfect phrase Lisa.

      These blogs and some youtube videos are what made me realize how important letter writting is. I wasn’t a “bad” writter before I started reading them, but I certainly wasn’t a great writter either.
      After reading these blogs, I’ve gone on to be a correspondence sponsor for 2 little boys. I’m so glad that Compassion recognizes the importance of not just the money, but also the relationship that is formed between the sponsor and child. I’m just as greatful that I get to write my 2 little boys as I am that I get to write my sponsor girl.
      My last letter I recieved from one of my little boys told me how happy he was that I write him letters, and that he has never received them before I wrote him. I may not be financially supporting him, but I’m happy that I can emotionally support him.
      I would encourage everyone that sponsors a child to write; and possibly commit to trying to do it a little more often. Some hints I’ve heard from people include writting it on the calendar, doing it on the same day every months (like the first or last Friday, etc), setting alarms in your phone, or I like to write my kids on my lunch break (sometimes it takes me a few days to get a letter done).

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