A letter from a sponsor is one of the most desired things a sponsored child can receive. Your letters can do more than money, because they build a relationship between you and your sponsored child.
Your letters are not just pieces of paper; they are letters filled with love, affection, emotion and inspiration for children.
In Bangladesh our child development centers do not celebrate any particular day of the month as “Letter Day,” as some other countries do. But every month children reply to your letters after receiving them from our ministry office.
Children at the Sath Nong Khasiapungi Child Development Center are always looking forward to the day when their center staff members bring the big envelop full of sponsor letters.
This development center is located on the top of a small hill, a one hour drive from the nearest town. Our staff visits a small town to collect the letters from a courier office.
The head of Sath Nong Khasiapungi Child Development Center, shares,
“We are several miles away from a small town. Every month we receive sponsor’s letters at least twice. Children are very eager about these letters; they always ask us about the letters.
Here we don’t have a mail-man who can bring the letters to the development center. We are required to collect these letters from the courier office. We use three wheelers (small three wheel rickshaw that runs by motor) to get them.
It takes more than two hours to reach town and come back. Children are always very excited and happy to see the big brown envelop in our hands.”
Caregivers, social workers and other staff from the development center assist the children to read your letters and write back.
Bangladesh is a country where different tribal groups have their own languages. Bengali is the only language that is widely used.
English is not spoken or understood by most people. So a group of young students at our country office translate your letters before they are sent to the child development centers.
Then the Sponsor Donor Service staff distribute the translated letters to the various Implementing Church Partners.
Children at the center receive the original letter with a translation in their local language at the bottom.
Rita, staff member at the Sath Nong Khasiapungi Child Development Center explains,
“Most of the time we receive letters in the afternoon, so we distribute the letters to children the next day.
We call each child and help them to read the letter. We explain anything to them that they are unable to understand.
After reading the letters, we arrange a letter writing session. The children sit together inside the church and write to their sponsors.”
Seven-year-old Tithi has a sponsor from the USA. Receiving any letter from her sponsor is a most pleasant event for her.
“I like to receive gifts, but I love to get my sponsor’s letters more. I love it especially when there are photos of my sponsor. My sponsor loves me and sent me a nice photo of her. She wrote that she prays for me.
Children feel happy to show your letters and photos to their development center friends and family. Tithi always shows her letters and photos to her friends. Tithi can read her own letters, but her teacher helps her to understand the unusual words.
Lishtina’s sponsors are also from USA. Her sponsors are very responsive. They reply to her every letter. This year Lishtina wrote 6 letters and received 5 from her sponsors.
“I received a birthday gift from my sponsors but I love to receive letters and photos from my sponsors more than gifts.
These letters are full of greetings, encouraging words and Bible verses. They also send a beautiful family photo with Christmas greetings. These letters are precious to me.”
For boys, to receive a letter from their sponsors is equally important. Robin and Eliphas love to get notes from their sponsors. Robin shares with his parents every time he receives a letter from his sponsor.
Whenever Robin gets any card or picture he becomes very delighted. Eliphas reads his notes from his sponsor with his friends. Every child feels proud when they receive their sponsor’s letter, because it brings the message that someone from far country thinks about them.
Synod is the eldest registered child at the Sath Nong Khasiapungi Child Development Center. She is now 14 and studying in grade 8. She feels the significance of her sponsor’s messages.
My sponsor encourages me to keep up my good results at school. Her inspiration helps me to improve myself. I always wait for her letter.”
Hema also waits eagerly for greetings from her sponsors. Whenever the child development center staff comes in with a large brown envelop, she expects a letter from her sponsors. It becomes a lucky day for her when she gets her desired letter.
It has been 5 years since we started to work through the local church in the community of Sath Nong Khasia Pungi. The staff at this center are experienced and understand the importance of children’s letters for their sponsors.
Letter writing is considered as essential as any other regular activity at the center. Generally the children reply to their sponsor’s letters the day after the development center receives them from the country office.
Rita explaines the whole letter writing activities of the development center:
“Children who don’t receive letters from their sponsors generally write letters to their sponsors every 4 months. But for the sponsored children who get letters from their sponsors regularly, they have to reply their sponsor’s letters.
They also write thank you letters whenever they receive any monetary gifts from sponsors.
The letter writing process is very organized and systematic at the Sath Nong Khasiapungi Child Development Center, just like other development centers in Bangladesh. Children read their letters from sponsors and then they sit together inside the church and write their replies.
Children also sit on long benches and place their writing papers on narrow tables. We provide them with a special letter form to write to their sponsors. These letter forms are colorful and children can write and draw on them.
There is also a small space for translation from Bengali to English. The children who are in higher grades write their letters on their own; the center staff help the younger children to write their letters.
Children use pencils, pens, and colors to write and draw to their friends abroad. The social workers and the caregivers always assist and guide the children in writing letters.
Children include their favorite Bible verses, list of favorite birds, colors, animals and song in their letters.
“My sponsor sends me her photo. I wrote her back about my family, my study and my country. I always thank her for sponsoring me.”
Usually the information and language of the children letters are different for different age groups. The older children like Synod can express their pleasure and excitement in a more organized way.
Lishtina received a birthday gift from her sponsors. She conveyed her gratitude through a thank you letter.
“I thank my sponsors for sending me a birthday gift. I write them about the beautiful stuff that I bought with their gift. I also ask them about the weather of their country and the way of their Christmas celebration.”
Writing you letters is an event of joy for the children. They love to write about their emotions, favorites, families, study, events at the development center and prayer requests. They also know that the drawings they make are appreciated by their friends abroad.
These drawings are very special because it carries the emotion of the child for the sponsor. The alphabet may not be familiar, but drawing is a common language for all.
The children’s joy doubles when they receive an answer from you. The director of the Sath Nong Khasiapungi tells us,
“The children who receive letters from their sponsors are really fortunate and always happy. I feel sorry for the children who don’t get any letter. They feel a little left out when they see their friends receiving letters from abroad. Hopefully these children will get a response from their sponsors soon.”
A short message from you could play a vital role in the life of a child. A letter can develop a heavenly bond of love. This small piece of paper can bring huge inspiration, hope and change in the life of a child.
All of our ministry staff in Bangladesh really appreciate the effort you take to not only support the children of Bangladesh but to also strengthen the bond of love by writing to them.