Individual sponsorship is a window into a different world, a world that has a markedly different pace of life. You will slowly discover a new culture and way of life. You will get the opportunity to share your own experiences and daily life with a willing listener.
As in any relationship, the bond between a sponsor and sponsored child can take time to be established, particularly because of the difference between cultures. Below are some tips to help strengthen the bond.
If you prefer to support a group of children, without entering into an individual relationship, please consider collective sponsorship.
CREATE THE BOND
Exchanging letters enables you to create a lasting relationship with your sponsored child. It is highly likely that your sponsored child will have only one person who sends them letters: you. Your letters help them understand who you are and they also serve to increase their self-confidence. Our local managers and volunteers constantly remind us of the impact on a sponsored child when they receive a letter from their sponsor.
Not all children like to write, and like any relationship, this takes time. But it is also the power of sponsorship. Little by little, over time, the letters of your sponsored child will chart their growth, their opening-up, their maturity.
All the letters are translated into the child’s language by volunteers. So, you can write in English.
Gift a sponsorship
Many sponsors get their children and grandchildren involved in writing letters.
You can also gift a sponsorship to your children or grandchildren!
This is a nice way to inculcate the spirit of solidarity in them and show them what a precious opportunity education is.
THE JOY OF LETTERS
WHAT SHOULD I PUT IN MY LETTERS?
- Introduce yourself, as well as your family, then talk about simple subjects: food, seasons, holidays…
- A postcard is particularly suitable! When we visit sponsored children, it is not unusual to find postcards from their sponsors pinned on the walls of their house.
- Send photos of you and your family, drawings of your children…
- Your sponsored child probably doesn’t have access to the internet or has only paid access. Therefore, it is not possible to communicate with them by email.
MEETING MY SPONSORED CHILD
Going to Asia to visit your sponsored child is an amazing opportunity to get to know them better, to discover their family and their way of life, and to understand the impact of your sponsorship.
You will need to notify Children of the Mekong 2 to 3 months before your departure. We will update you on the geographical situation and other things to consider for your visit. We will put you in contact with our local manager or the overseas volunteer.
You will always be accompanied on the ground by a manager, who will take you to your sponsored child’s house and will help you to communicate with the family.
“Accompanied by Marie, the overseas volunteer, we met our sponsored child’s family. It was a meeting full of emotion. The most touching moment was when her mother explained to me that thanks to our sponsorship she has been able to bring back home two of her six children, whom she had given up as she couldn’t feed them. Sponsorship helps to send a child to school and save a family. Going to meet them was a real eye-opener for our family, a time of unbelievable richness.”
CAN MY SPONSORED CHILD COME TO THE UK?
It is not the mission of Children of the Mekong to bring sponsored children to the UK. Just like you, we want what’s best for your sponsored child. The aim of sponsorship is to send children to school in their own country. Nothing is better for a child’s stability than to be educated and raised within their own family, roots and culture.
It is possible to send small presents to your sponsored child, provided they fit in an envelope: a small picture book, colouring crayons or other small objects which fit in a padded envelope, for example. Your sponsored child will be thrilled to receive this thoughtful gesture.
You can also send an additional one-off donation (via Children of the Mekong), for example, on their birthday.
However, sending money and parcels are best avoided. They are at risk of not reaching their destination and when they do, the child’s family may have to pay high customs charges.
If writing letters is not your cup of tea, you can also support a collective sponsorship programme to help the street children of Manila, in the Philippines.What is collective sponsorship?