Even though you can quickly and easily zip off a love-filled letter online or via our app, the children you sponsor still use good old-fashioned pen and paper to share their lives with you. And the journey of how those paper letters get to and from the children you sponsor is sometimes one of adventure!
Our Compassion country offices work diligently to deliver your letters in the most efficient and cost-effective way. This sometimes includes using local and international postal and delivery services.
But in cases where a local church partner is isolated, they sometimes have to go the extra mile — literally — to get your letters into those eager little hands.
Imagine a farming village on the border of Thailand or a remote island in Indonesia or a rural town in Ghana. Places where electricity, paved roads, running water or modern conveniences — let alone post offices — can be scarce.
This is where dedicated local Compassion staff comes in.
For this month’s installment of the Compassion Letter Club, we’re going to follow the journey of how your letters in Ghana get delivered. Even though letter delivery varies from country to country, this will show you just how dedicated our staff around the world are to ensuring the kids get to hear from you!
When your letters arrive at the Compassion Ghana national office, they go through a series of processes including quality checks. Ghana’s official language is English so the letters don’t need to be translated. However, in countries where the children don’t speak English, the letters are translated by our talented staff.
Even though letters in Ghana are not translated, they are checked to ensure they don’t contain anything inappropriate, like personal addresses, phone numbers, Facebook accounts or the use of foul or insensitive words. This is to protect both you and the child you sponsor.
Additionally, your letters are reviewed for questions that need responses. These questions are highlighted in a special box on the paper letter. This is to make sure the center workers and children do not miss them when they are replying.
Your letters are then printed and sorted according to the development center. They are later bound, grouped into clusters of about 12-14 development centers, and packaged. Each package is put into a protective bag and sealed.
Every cluster in Ghana has a collation center and a collation officer.
A professional courier service picks up these packages from the office and delivers them to the collation points. Then, the representatives from the individual development centers make their journey to pick them up there.
Adidome Global Child Development Center (CDC) is the collation point for centers in the Tongu cluster in the Volta Region. Dove CDC is just one of the centers in the Tongu cluster.
While some of the CDCs deliver letters once a month, Dove receives so many letters to and from the children that they deliver letters once a week! So, every Saturday, the center’s activity day, children look forward to getting letters from their sponsors.
Lorlor Glover, a social worker for Dove, makes sure to meet their expectations.
It’s Lorlor who travels from Dove to Adidome every Thursday to collect your letters and also to send children’s letters to the national office so they can be sent off to you.
Lorlor’s journey is not a quick or easy one.
To get to Adidome from Dove, Lorlor has to cross the River Volta, which is about 30 minutes away by motorbike.
Lorlo motorbikes to the river, where she is then ferried by boat.
Once she’s across the river, Lorlor takes another 25-minute motorbike ride to the cluster’s letter collation center at Adidome Global CDC.
At the center, Lorlor meets Emmanuella, the collation officer, who has logged every letter. Lorlor double checks the log and signs before Emmanuella hands over the packages to her.
Then Lorlor repeats her long journey all the way back to Dove, bearing your precious letters. Phew!
When Lorlor gets to the center, she then logs all of the letters into a notebook. She also makes photocopies of each letter to put in the children’s folders so they can take the originals home to treasure.
By the end of Saturday, the letters are handed out to the eagerly awaiting kids.
Fourteen-year-old Godwin is one of the frequent letter receivers at the center.
“My sponsors write about two or more letters to me in a month. If one month passes without me getting any letter from them, I feel that something might be wrong. So, I pray for him,” says Godwin.
Godwin’s sponsors, Sharon and Chuck, have encouraged him over the years. Their letters are very special to him and his family. After reading and replying to the letters, he keeps them in a special compartment built into his parents’ bed to keep them safe from his little sisters.
Letter days are always special at Dove. Even though not every child gets a letter as frequently as Godwin, everyone still participates in the celebration.
Esinam, the Dove CDC director, says,
“When children get letters, the whole community hears about it and rejoices. Dove is a very small town that is not known to even some of her surrounding towns. So, for someone abroad to think about a child in Dove and write to that child, it is a very big thing for them.
We thank the sponsors for their support and the gifts they send to these children. It is a life-changing opportunity.”
All across the world, your letters are intimately cared for by Compassion staff and volunteers like these in Ghana. They have seen firsthand how the process of sharing two lives through letter writing can be life-changing for a child and his or her sponsor. And they go to great lengths to facilitate that relationship!
Make the day of the child you sponsor and write to them now!
Be sure to check out letter writing ideas and inspiration from other sponsors on the Compassion Letter Club collaborative board on Pinterest!
Story and photos by Vera Mensah-Bediako (Ghana Photojournalist)