What Impact Does Giving a Family Gift Have in a Child’s Life?

A few years before he had a family, 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, and 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 they had their only child, Sumonto, shortly after.

What Impact Does Giving a Family Gift Have on a Child's Life?

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. He 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 one of our child development centers 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 our staff and program. 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 because his sponsorship pays for it regularly. Sumonto’s parents are grateful that the center even provides lunch for their son and takes care of all his medical needs.

What Impact Does Giving a Family Gift Have on a Child's Life?

Biswanath was happy for his son, but the bigger changes began to take place as the generosity of Sumonto’s sponsor grew and he provided a monetary family gift.

Our church partners never hand over cash gift money to the families. Instead, they make purchases according to the need of the sponsored 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 or eggs creates an opportunity for the family to earn extra money.

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

What Impact Does Giving a Family Gift Have on a Child's Life?

Every day Biswanath sells three liters of fresh milk and earns around $1.30. This little income is a great help. 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.”

What Impact Does Giving a Family Gift Have on a Child's Life?

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 (leaves, 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.

If you sponsor a child or teen, sending a family gift is easy through your online account or on the Compassion app. Your generosity can help the family you’ve chosen to walk alongside through sponsorship in a life-changing way!

This was originally published on June 2, 2010.

104 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Amy Joyce January 29, 2024


    I sponsor a little 4 year old girl named Grace, she lives in Burkina Faso. I know she lives with her grandmother. Is there any way to get more information on her circumstances? I am not even sure if her parents are dead or alive. I would also like to know how what sort of family gift they may need. I have written her 3 times, once a month, since I began sponsoring her. But I am unsure when or if I should expect to hear back from a 4 year old. Thank you!

    1. Kaye-Lin January 30, 2024

      Hi Amy! First, I want to thank you for sponsoring sweet Grace. It is wonderful to hear that you are writing her letters so often as these letters truly make a difference! I will be sending you an email with the answers to your questions. 🙂

  2. Jessica January 13, 2022

    Hello I sponsor three kids. I send a family gift, birthday gifts, and child gifts every year and they seem to really help. I would love to send more to my sponsored kids. I know I can only send six flat sheets through the mail and I was wondering if anyone has found any cool gifts that meet this requirement. Besides coloring book sheets I haven’t found anything else meeting the requirement. Any creative ideas?

    1. Nicole January 14, 2022

      Hi, Jessica! ? I love your question; and as a sponsor myself, I completely understand the desire to send more to our kiddos. In addition to the coloring pages, you may also send nonmetallic bookmarks (nonmetallic because we strive to scan any text for translation), stickers, and pop-up cards. These items do not count towards the 6 sheet limit either. I have also seen some supporters include drawings or written stories, etc. I hope this is helpful, but please feel free to send us an email to [email protected] if you have any other questions. ?

  3. Jennifer October 11, 2021

    I sponsor 2 children, and I am curious if there is a way to find out more about their family and their potential needs. I send an annual family and child gift, but I would like to send more if something specific is needed for the family to improve their family income and overall household. How do I find out more about my children and their household needs?

    1. Grace October 12, 2021

      Jennifer, thank you so much for sponsoring two children and choosing to bless their families with gifts! I wanted to let you know that you are already helping to meet some of these family’s specific needs. ? For each gift, the local Compassion staff will meet with the family when the gift is delivered to help them decide how the money should be spent and guide them in using the money wisely. Your generous gifts will be used to help the family in the way they need the most! Whether this means purchasing livestock, buying groceries, or creating income-generating opportunities, you are providing for this family! That being said, I would encourage you to ask your children in your letters what are some of the needs of their families. Not only can you pray for these things, but if they list something specific, such as “my family needs a cow”, we can provide you with the approximate cost of a gift to that country. Although we have limited information about each family, we would be happy to share any information that we are able to. Can you please send our team an email at [email protected] with your sponsor number and we can look into this for you? I sincerely hope this helps, and please let us know if you have any questions!

  4. Rodger Markle September 19, 2020

    We have been blessed to sponsor several children over a number of years. Recently one of them has contacted me through Facebook Messenger. Most of the conversation is “thank you” and greetings.
    However he has started asking for money for different things. Most recently he asked for money to pay for an internship. How do I handle this situation? I want to help. Hate to say no. But Is it a legitimate request?
    I need your help handling in this situation.
    Thank you

    1. Anna September 21, 2020

      Thank you for contacting us about this, Rodger! We are so blessed that you sponsor these precious children. Is the child that contacted you through Facebook still a beneficiary in the program, or have they graduated? If they are still in the program at this time, we have a strict policy of no contact outside of letters for the protection of the child’s information, and your information. Each child and their family is aware of this, but in a world where social media is so readily available, from time to time we need to send a reminder. Would you mind sending us an email at [email protected], so that we can access your account and send a reminder to this child’s church center? If your child is still in the Compassion program, I advise against any further communication through Facebook. You may send any explanation through letter, and the child will understand the reason for the lack of response via Facebook through their church center. However, if this child has graduated from the program, you may continue communicating through Facebook. We cannot guarantee that his request is legitimate, so I would advise not sending money if you do not feel comfortable. God bless you!

  5. Christy Combs August 28, 2020

    I was wondering how I could find out more information about my sponsored child, Adon and his family.They live in Sri Lanka. He is 2 years old which makes it difficult to communicate about these things. I know he lives with his mother and a sister. But how can I find out if his father lives in the home? And is it appropriate to just come out and ask what their needs are in a letter? I do not want to offend them in any way.

    Thank you.

    1. Shayla August 28, 2020

      Hi Christy! I would love to assist you further! Would you mind sending us an email at [email protected] with your sponsor number and questions about your child. Our hours are Monday through Friday, 7 am to 5:30 pm, MDT. In regard to asking your child what they need, you can certainly do so! I would just be sure to ask in a way that portrays your heart. ? -Shayla

  6. Kortney December 30, 2019

    I love all these comments and it gives a lot of information. I recently sponsored a child and correspondence has been quick due to the changes CI has implemented with the scanning of correspondence. When you state that it takes up to 6 months for the child to send a thank you note for monetary gifts- is this because it takes up to 6 months for the funds to get to the church for the funds to then be used? or were the 6 months statements going off of the previous correspondence that was snail mail and had delays due to distance? I told the child that I sent her funds so that she would know it was coming.

    1. Shannon December 31, 2019

      Hi Kortney,

      Thank you so much for choosing to be a sponsor with Compassion! We are excited to welcome you into our Compassion family! Please know that when you send a gift it does go out at the end of the month, but it can take a few weeks to go through currency transfer and be delivered to the Compassion project. Once your gift is delivered, one of our staff members will meet with the child and their family to decide how the gift should be used. We do this to ensure the money is used wisely. Once decided, our staff will go out and actually purchase these items for them. Once the family receives the gift, the child will write a thank you note at on the next letter writing day at the project. The letter then needs to be translated and go through quality assurance before it is delivered to you. Also, if your gift is over $60, the staff will include a photo of what was purchased. This whole process takes about six months. As you can see, it is pretty involved. I hope this is helpful! Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  7. Christopher Jelich December 7, 2019

    I want to give money to Selina’s family to buy livestock , like a milk cow. I don’t know if they have a way of feeding or keeping livestock. Is there any way I could find out what their needs are so I could send the amount of money needed?


    1. Sierra December 9, 2019

      Hi Christopher! Thank you so much for your desire to bless your child with a family gift. 🙂 You are welcome to send a family gift in whatever amount you would like, and then Selina’s family will be free to use those funds for whatever they most want or need. You are welcome to ask her in a letter if there is anything her family needs, but regardless, whatever gift you do decide to send will be a huge blessing to them. Thank you so much!

  8. Amy Stricker July 25, 2019

    I have a question. I wanted to verify what is considered a year. We sponsored Boris and June. I wanted to know if the year is considered June to May, or January-December. Thank you for taking the time to answer my question.

    1. Shannon July 26, 2019

      Hi Amy,

      Thank you so much for sponsoring Boris and June! I am not sure what you mean by what we consider a year. Could you clarify in what regards you are asking please? Are you asking for taxes or to know when sponsorship is over, etc.? Thank you so much! -Shannon

  9. Bret Sims May 27, 2019

    Shannon, you say that when someone sends an extra gift that the sponsor will receive a letter thanking them for what they received. I have been sponsoring 2 children for a few years and have yet to receive such a letter. I got tired of asking what my children had received. It’s also a little disappointing to know that my children aren’t getting extra gifts that I am sending the money for which kind of defeats the purpose.

    1. Sarah May 28, 2019

      Hello Bret! I took a look into your account to see what may have been going on with you not hearing how your children used the special gifts you have sent. I actually see that Renatta thanked you for the $25 birthday gift given in March 2017 in a letter from September 2017. She received a nice pair of black shoes with your gift. Johanna was given a $20 birthday gift in July 2016 and received a shirt and skirt. She mentions the gift in her letter from November 2016. I also see two other gifts on your account from April 2019. It can take up to six months to receive the thank you letters back from your children, so we do not yet know how these gifts were used to bless your children. I hope that helps, but please let me know if you are speaking of other gifts so that I can be of further assistance.

  10. Adreanna Alvarado May 23, 2019

    how do i know what my sponsor childs family needs?

    1. Shannon May 24, 2019

      Good morning Adreanna,

      This is a great question! We are very thankful that you desire to send your child and their family a gift! We encourage you to send letters and cards as often as possible. However, please know that the only physical items that are able to be sent are musical and pop-up cards, bookmarks and stickers. All of these items must be 100% paper other than the stickers which may include plastic stickers also. Anytime you send something to your child, please make sure to keep it to six pages (front and back) or less. All letters, coloring pages or pictures will be scanned into an electronic document, unless otherwise noted above, and then printed in the child’s country office to be delivered. If you would like to send your child a gift not listed above, you may do that through sending a monetary gift through Compassion. You may give two child gifts each year in the amount of $10-$100, and you may send gifts to the family of $25 to $1,000 (not to exceed $1,000 each year). The local Compassion staff will meet with the family when the gift is delivered to help them decide how the money should be spent and guide them in using the money wisely. Please be aware that Compassion will utilize 10% of your individual child-gift donation for the ministry’s administration and program delivery costs of the gift. You will receive a thank you letter, approximately six months from when the gift was given, to let you know what was purchased. Also, if you happen to send a gift of $60 or more, the family will send you a picture of what was purchased! 🙂 Please know that you are welcome to also send a recommendation of what you would like your gift money used for, but if the family receives the money and decides they have a better use for the funds, we do allow them to make that decision, as this will ensure they get exactly what they need most! The only real way to know what they may need is through writing letters to and from your kiddo. But as I mentioned, if you send a gift, the family will have help in making the decision how to spend that gift money to ensure they get just what they need. I hope this is helpful! Please let us know if you have any other questions! Have a wonderful day! 

  11. SHERYL A SCHULTE March 6, 2019

    Hello, I sponsor a child in Dominican Republic. Can you give me some ways that families use their family gift there in the DR? I am praying for the amount and was wondering if you can tell me how much a cow is, washing machine, or other types of things are usually requested in that area? Doesn’t have to be exact just trying to get an idea of cost/expenses there.

    1. Sarah March 7, 2019

      Hi Sheryl! Families use the gift funds to purchase items they are in need of, which can vary greatly from family to family. Many families will use gift funds on food or clothing items they are in need of, but they may use it on quite a number of other things. The exchange rate between USD and Dominican Pesos is 1 to 50. In the Dominican Republic, a bike usually costs about $80-$140, a sewing machine costs about $100, a soccer ball costs about $10-$20, and new clothes can be between $10-$15. I hope that helps!

  12. Erica October 25, 2018

    We would like to send a monetary family gift for Christmas to those we sponsor. Will we be able to send a card with it?

    1. Shannon October 25, 2018

      Hi Erica,

      Thank you so much for choosing to bless your child in such a tangible way this holiday season! We do ask that all Christmas donations be sent in by October 31st, so ideally at this point we would ask that you make your donation on the phone or online if at all possible before the 31st. However, we would absolutely encourage you to also send a Christmas card. These cards can take a little while to process as well, so we would encourage you to send that over as soon as possible as well. Thank you so much for asking and please let us know if you have any additional questions! Merry Christmas! -Shannon

  13. CYNDI LIVESAY September 6, 2018


    1. Susan Sayler September 7, 2018

      Hi Cyndi! I am emailing you with some more information about your child’s family. Please feel free to reply to my email with any further questions or concerns.

  14. Robert K Rohrig May 30, 2018

    Good Day, I have been sending a family gift of $25 each month since last February and just read on this blog that monthly family giving is not recommended. If I wanted to send $150 twice a year or $300 per year how can I change the giving now without my sponsored family thinking there is something wrong? Can I communicate this to the family through the local center? I was given the chance to travel to Bolivia and meet my sponsored child and his family last February (What a Blessing). The family is awesome and I just wanted to help with a little extra. Any suggestions moving forward?

    God Bless You

    1. Susan Sayler May 31, 2018

      Robert, I appreciate the sensitivity to your child’s family and your obvious heart to bless them. Because it would be the same amount just given differently, and we teach the families to avoid expecting these extra gifts, I would recommend that you simply make the change. There is no need to give an explanation or to communicate with them about the change.

  15. Mark November 19, 2017

    Hello, Thank you for the postings on this blog and it is so helpful towards understanding the needs of the sponsored children, their families, and the best ways sponsors can contribute.

    I just began sponsoring a little girl in Guatemala about 4 months ago. Over that time, I have tried to understand the conditions in which she lives and how best to help from afar. I’ve been very blessed that I just completed my first mission trip to Guatemala that was organized through our local church. It was absolutely God’s way of love and bringing an awareness to the least of these. To all who may read this blog, please know with conviction that everything counts, no matter what amount or frequency is given. Your commitment to a child in another country is life changing for that child.

    In the future, I hope to be able to visit my sponsored child Daily but until then I will continue with monthly donations and hope to be able to meet her family needs. I’m waiting to hear back if they have livestock or can benefit from the other gifts that can be given.

    God Bless all who are sponsors, and know that God has brought us all together to make a difference in the world.

  16. Anne September 11, 2017

    These comments are very helpful, thank you! I recently received an unexpected monetary gift and would like to give some to my little girl’s family. Due to our financial situation this will probably be the only time we can do this. I worry that the family might expect to receive an extra gift like this every year. Also, I’d greatly like for them to use the gift to establish a small business. I don’t want them to over extend and use it in a way that would require another gift later, though I’d also like to know if there was a way to do even better things for them by a slightly greater gift. Is there a way to get more personal info about what would be most helpful in this specific situation?

    1. Susan Sayler September 11, 2017

      Hi Anne! Frequent family gifts are not something that is expected, required, or recommended. If you send one, the family will likely assume this is the only gift they will ever receive and that they better use it accordingly. I understand that you just want to make sure this gift that you are able to send this one time is used wisely. We always assist the family in using the money wisely and in a way that is developmentally appropriate for your child. Many family gifts are used to help the family start an income generation project which would mean that the gift would multiply and keep giving to the family. Food or livestock is also a common use for family gifts. Regrettably, we do not keep a record of specific family needs because again family gifts are not expected or required, but I can assure you that the use of your generous gift will be overseen to make sure that it is used wisely.

      1. Anne September 21, 2017

        Thanks Susan, that is good to know. I read somewhere that when you fill out the forms to send the gift, you can also write a note about what you have in mind (I know the people at the project will help them decide and it’s not up to me). Do I simply go on the site and mark a gift as a “family” gift? Is there a place to enter a few personal notes about why I’m giving or my hopes as to how it might be used?

        1. Christina September 22, 2017

          Hi Anne! If you would like to request that the funds be used in a specific way, there is an option to do that when giving online at the bottom of the checkout screen by clicking the link that says “I have additional instructions regarding this donation.” The use of the gift is ultimately up to the family so if they have an immediate need they may use the gift to help meet that need, but our wonderful field staff will definitely take your suggestion into consideration :). God bless you for your generosity and for being a blessing to your child!

  17. Kim Borden May 27, 2017

    We currently sponsor a 14 year old girl in Rawanda. In one of her letters late last year she said that her family had to move in with friends because their house fell down. This made me very sad. I asked how much it would cost for her family to build a new house. She asked her dad and he said it would cost 2,000,000 Rawandan Francs which is $2375.36. Is there a way to get this money directly to her family and if so what steps should be taken to ensure this? Thank you so much for your help!

    1. Susan Sayler May 30, 2017

      Kim, I am touched by your heart for your sponsored child and her family! Thank you so much for your care and concern for them. Regrettably, the limit for family gifts is $1000 per year. You could send a $100 child gift at the same time but that would not equal $2000. We have these rules in place for safety and security for the families in our program, and so my initial answer would be to send $1000 family gift and a $100 child gift if you are able to afford that. You are welcome to designate the gift for a new house. Please note that the final use of the gift is up to the family at the time that the gift is delivered. That said, if you want to email me ([email protected]) with some more information regarding your request, including your sponsor number, I may be able look into this further for you.

  18. Laurie May 17, 2017

    What is the average cost for livestock in Nicaragua? I am going to send a family gift soon and thought I would designate it for such (if the family is set up to care for livestock). Thanks.

    1. Shannon May 18, 2017

      Hi Laurie,
      Thank you so much for your generous idea to give livestock to your child and their family! Regrettably, we are not provided with information on pricing of what this may cost, nor do we know if this is something that the family would be able to use. I would encourage you that if you would like to make this specific donation, to write a letter to your child asking these questions. They will be able to tell you much better is this gift would be possible for their family. If you would prefer, you are welcome to send any amount you are comfortable with and indicate that you would like them to use this gift for livestock if this is possible for the family, and if it isn’t, the family will be able to use your blessing on something else that may better fit their needs. Also, in case you do not already know, if you make a donation of $60 or more, you will receive a picture of what they were able to purchase with your gift! 🙂 Either way, I am positive that your donation will be such a blessing to this family! If we can help you to process your gift, please let us know! -Shannon

      1. Amy Cain June 21, 2017

        Hi Shannon,
        I typically give the families of the children I sponsor a gift of more than $100 each Christmas, I have yet to receive a picture of anything they have purchased nor have I been told what they have purchased. Does this practice vary by center?

        1. Sarah June 22, 2017

          Hi Amy! Thank you so much for blessing your families with special gifts to celebrate Christmas! I do see that you sent $100 gifts to your children’s families at the end of December. We do give the projects a full six months to send the thank you letters and photos before we send inquiries. If you don’t hear from your children regarding your generous gifts for Christmas by June 28, please let us know! We will absolutely send inquiries to the country offices to retrieve those for you at that time.

  19. Mandie April 26, 2017

    Hi I’m new to the program. I just have a question about giving. I sent a gift for my childs birthday. How many more times may I send gifts for my child and his family??

    1. Sarah April 27, 2017

      Hi Mandie! Thank you so much for blessing your sweet kiddo with a birthday gift! You are able to send a gift for a child, either birthday or a general gift, between $10-$100 up to two times per year. That means you can still send one more gift to him :). You can also send family gifts to his family between the amount of $25- $1000 per year, not to exceed more than $1,000 per year total. We also recommend sending gifts no more than three or four times per year total because we don’t want the family to become dependent on frequent gifts. Your gifts are treasured by your child and his family, and do make a significant difference in their lives! Thank you so much for your heart for his family!

  20. Terri Paterson April 19, 2017

    Are family gifts and child birthday/general gifts tax deductible donations?

    1. Shannon April 20, 2017

      HI Terri,
      Your gifts are tax deductible. If for any reason you did not receive a 2016 Tax Summary, please let us know and we will be happy to email you a copy for your records. Have a great day!

  21. Kristi January 16, 2017

    Do kids no longer have a say in their birthday gift? We received a letter from Compassion asking if we wanted to pay birthday gifts in advance for the year. The letter said, “Before each birthday, your donation will be sent to their local Compassion center, where a gift WILL BE CHOSEN BY SOMEONE WHO KNOWS what will make your child’s eyes shine with joy!” We just don’t want to say anything to our kids in our letters about them picking something if Compassion’s policy has changed. Thanks for your help.

    1. Susan Sayler January 16, 2017

      Hi Kristi! I appreciate your sensitivity. In most cases, the child is able to pick out the gift themselves. In other cases, your child’s tutor will choose a gift that they know the child will need or want. You might avoid the issue entirely and just say something like, “We hope you enjoyed the gift we sent!”

  22. Erica Robinette January 10, 2017

    Hello! We are sponsoring a 6 year old boy in Ecuador. What might be a typical gift for their family?

    1. Sarah January 11, 2017

      Hi Erica! Each gift given to families of Compassion children is tailored to fit that family’s specific needs. Often, we do see families use the funds to purchase food or supplies they need for their housing. Honestly, it can be used in so many different ways that it’s difficult to say just what Romel’s family may use it on. No matter what, it is going to be used to purchase something that will be an incredible blessing to the family. Also, you are going to receive a thank you letter, up to six months after the gift was given, that should detail what his family bought with your generous gift.

  23. Samuel Wan January 4, 2017

    Hi, I had another quick inquiry. I just donated the max $1000 to my sponsorship’s family. Does her family have to spend it all at once, or can they make many purchases throughout the year (kind of like a bank and just deduct from the gift pool)?


    1. Sarah January 5, 2017

      Samuel, the family will use the full $1,000 when they receive it from the staff at your child’s center. I have no doubt that your generous gift will be an incredible blessing to them and allow them to purchase much needed supplies. The staff will sit down with them and help them decide how to wisely use the funds you sent. I cannot wait for you to receive the photo of what was purchased!

  24. Samuel Wan January 4, 2017

    Hello my brothers and sisters. Just a general inquiry. What percentage of my family gift will be allocated to my sponshorship’s family? Are there any hidden fees that will be deducted?


    1. Sarah January 5, 2017

      Hi Samuel! 10% of the gift is used to cost the administration fees involved with sending financial gifts to the children. The other 90% of the gift will go straight to your child and her family :).

  25. MJ Myers August 30, 2016

    I just had to tell someone of the joy that I am feeling today. I received my first letter from my child today. I now know of the dreams that she has and I know a little about her family. Writing will now be much easier. I want to be a really good sponsor and I know that starts with prayer and fasting. Thank you for listening.

    1. Christina Wilson August 31, 2016

      Hi MJ! Congratulations on receiving your sweet girl’s first letter! I hope you enjoy building a wonderful relationship and showing the love of Christ to Meskerem. Thank you so much for choosing to change her life forever through your love and support!

  26. Jenny June 26, 2016

    I just started to sponsor a child from Ethiopia. I want to send him and his family a family gift, so that they can buy some livestocks to generate income. But then not sure if they have resources to raise domestic animals in Southern Ethiopia. They might use it for immediate needs. How much should I send for them to fulfill their basic needs plus buying 1 or 2 livestocks (chickens or goats).

    1. Susan Sayler June 30, 2016

      Hi Jenny! Thank you so much for wishing to bless your child and his family in such a tangible way! You are more than welcome to send a gift and recommend that it be used for livestock. Please write this designation in the memo line of your check or in the special instructions on the website. Here are some estimates for livestock in Ethiopia:

      Cow $339 USD
      Chicken $5 USD
      Sheep $56 USD
      Goat $84 USD

      1. MJ Myers July 3, 2016

        Thank you Jenny and Susan. My child is also in southern Ethiopia and I wanted to send her family a monetary gift. May I ask will the church center my sponsored child is with help them to make a wise decision in fulfilling their needs? I havent yet heard back from my child and I feel a hesitation in designating how the gift should be used, when I do not really have an idea of their needs as of yet. My hope is that the church there will guide them, is this correct? Thank you very much.

        1. Emily Vanhoutan July 5, 2016

          Hi MJ! Yes, the church staff will absolutely guide the family in using the gift for the greatest need that they have at this time. That’s what I personally love about sending monetary gifts to bless a child and their family. It not only meets their immediate needs, but it also gives them an opportunity to learn good stewardship and how to spend money wisely, efficiently, and stretch it as far as they can. It’s a very important skill and value and we hold integrity very highly. We have trained our staff to help them in their decision and then you’ll receive a thank you letter within six months letting you know how your gift was used.

          1. MJ Myers July 7, 2016

            Thank you Emily I look forward to sending a gift to my sponsored child’s family. I do apologize that if I would have read just a few more paragraphs down in the blog you answered this very same question for another sponsor but I missed it. Thank you for the reply.

            1. Jenny December 1, 2016

              Hi MJ! Where in Southern Ethiopia is your child from? Mine is ET711.

  27. Jenny June 25, 2016


    I just started to sponsor a child from Ethiopia. Does anyone know how much family gift I should send for his family to buy domestic animals to make steady income?

    1. Emily Vanhoutan June 27, 2016

      Hi Jenny! Thank you so much for sponsoring Wogayehu! We are so excited for your relationship with him and appreciate that you want to bless his family in such a tangible way! You can send a gift anywhere from $25 up to $1,000 and the staff at his center will help your boys family make a wise decision on how the gift should be used and they’ll use it for their greatest need right now. Prices for animal purchase vary per country, as do what kinds of animals would be most appropriate for your child’s family. You can see an estimated cost of gifts in Ethiopia, here. If choose to help them purchase an animal, please know that the project leadership will work with the family to ensure what kind of purchase will be most appropriate and within six months you’ll receive a thank you letter letting you know how your gift was used.

  28. Peggy March 18, 2016

    Thank you so much for this blog of LOTS OF INFORMATION that I needed to know. I’m so glad that you do this. I have read so many of the blogs and it’s very informative and does help a great deal!! Thank you so much for doing this.

  29. Heather Marshall February 26, 2016

    My sponsored child is always praying hard to save up for a cow and I would like to send a family gift but can you please tell me how much is it to purchase a cow in Rwanda? Many thanks 🙂

    1. Susan Sayler February 29, 2016

      Hi Heather! Thank you so much for wishing to bless your child in such a tangible way! Cows in Rwanda cost about $324-568 USD.

  30. David February 17, 2016

    Greetings, I have been blessed with enough funds to send a family gift of a large amount. My question, is it better to send a one time large gift for the year or split it up into maybe four family gifts during the year. This is all new to me. God Bless.

    1. Emily Vanhoutan February 17, 2016

      Hi David! What a blessing that not only God has provided this opportunity for you, but also that you have chosen to use it to invest in your child’s family! Thank you so much 🙂

      First off, just as a reminder, family gifts can be sent in the amount of anywhere from $25-$1,000 within a years period. I personally would suggest sending one larger family gift rather than spread them out. The reason for this is because we do limit sponsors to sending a family gift only once per year because it’s a larger gift than the others. We discourage sending multiple family gifts throughout the year for a couple of reasons. We have seen that this can cause a family to become used to and dependent on these gifts and begin to schedule their lives around the confidence that their sponsor will be sending them an extra gift. We want these families to be released from poverty and become self sustaining. If they receiving consistent gifts throughout the year, it can hinder this opportunity for them to learn and grow in becoming self sufficient. It may also be extremely difficult or discouraging to them when they stop receiving these gifts from you. Even though, it was only the end of your planned extra giving that you were able to send, they may take it and wonder if they made you upset or question if they did something wrong to stop receiving these gifts. Another thing to consider if you send multiple large family gifts throughout the year is that people and gangs in the community may start to notice and begin targeting your child’s family. For the families protection, this is another reason we limit the amount of gifts that can be sent.

      Your child’s family will be so blessed by your generosity and kindness! Sometimes, a family gift is just what your child’s family might need to fix their leaky roof or buy a door with a lock on it, or a plot of land that will be an income generator for them and ultimately pull them out of economical poverty! They may purchase livestock or invest in starting a business! God knows exactly what they need and our staff will help them make a wise investment on how best to steward the gift you’ve given them. However they use it, you’ll receive a thank you letter six months later, letting you know how it was used! You’ll also receive a photo along with your letter if you send a gift over $60 :).

      1. J.Joshua Kono April 9, 2016

        Hi, Emily! Thank you for the tips that are very informative and desired.
        Every time I write letters to my children, I’m sometimes tempted to ask them frankly what their families need and that way, I can send them gifts with the amount they need in accordance with their necessity.
        Having studied rural development and actually lived in developing nations, I know it is an unwise thing to just hand them cash and the result is both ineffective and disastrous.
        True, we do not want to create dependency in a child we serve as well as envy from their next-door neighbors.

  31. Dani Hendrickson September 10, 2015

    The minimum family gift is $25. How much does that really help? We have children in India, Honduras and Sri Lanka. We cannot do the $100 per family, but just dont understand how much $25 can do for a family. Thank you.

    1. Susan Sayler September 11, 2015

      Dani, in some places the average family income is only $25. If you think about how much an extra month’s wages one month would mean to a family, this amount means a lot. I’ve seen families purchase few pieces of clothing or a whole bag of rice and several cooking items for $25. In most places, $25 goes a long way.

  32. Sandy Bailey February 15, 2015

    I am so glad to read these comments! Now I have better ideas of what extra to send as sponsor. I agree that helping entire family is best.

  33. Julia October 27, 2014

    How do you know how much will help a family? I don’t have a lot of discretionary income, but would like to give a gift that would be a blessing to the family. I am sponsoring a young child in Ghana, Africa.

    1. Emily Vanhoutan October 27, 2014

      Hi Julia! Thank you so much for your desire to bless your child’s family despite your current financial situation. Please know that any gift you decide to give, will be a blessing for them. Our project staff will meet with them and discuss the best way to use your gift and they will use it for the greatest need at that time. I always encourage sponsor’s to prayerfully consider how much to give and whatever the Lord lays on your heart, will help them so much :). Whether you are able to give a gift of $25 or a gift of $1,000; God is able to take what you’re able to give, and multiply it for His glory!

  34. Gayle November 30, 2012

    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!

  35. Sarah Rohr November 16, 2012

    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.

  36. Diane Donohue November 7, 2012

    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.

  37. Leanne June 20, 2012

    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.

  38. Vicky Acker February 28, 2012

    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.

  39. Jeremiah2913 October 11, 2011

    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?

    1. Kim May 18, 2012

      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.

      1. Shelly Lynch June 25, 2012

        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!

    2. Elizabeth February 16, 2012

      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.

      1. Becky February 29, 2012

        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.

  40. Christine August 3, 2011

    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!

  41. Belinda July 29, 2011

    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!

  42. Jennifer Fisher February 2, 2011

    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.

  43. Diane Nichols January 18, 2011

    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.

    1. Kim Rabuya February 11, 2014

      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.

  44. Diane Nichols January 18, 2011

    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.

  45. Kathie D. August 29, 2010

    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!!!

    1. Elizabeth February 16, 2012

      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.

  46. Tammy June 9, 2010

    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.

    1. Diane Donohue November 7, 2012

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

  47. Sara E. June 7, 2010

    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

  48. Denise June 6, 2010

    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.

  49. Marvin June 4, 2010

    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.

  50. RoseAnn June 2, 2010

    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!

  51. Rachel Watson June 2, 2010

    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?

    1. Beth Luebke June 6, 2010

      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

  52. Sherry W. June 2, 2010

    What a super story. God is gracious!

  53. jennifer June 2, 2010

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

  54. Juli Jarvis June 2, 2010

    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!”

    1. Judith Tremblay June 2, 2010

      that is completely awesome, that you were able to sponsor a sibling!

  55. Teri June 2, 2010

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

  56. Amy Wallace June 2, 2010

    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.

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