Christmas is a wonderful time of year that most of us in the West are more than grateful for, especially during such strange and unprecedented times. The rich and rare foods, nostalgic music, exciting gifts and most importantly being around those we love, can really take us away from the stresses of daily life.
But, shopping-spree events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday seem to be getting bigger and bigger, and high streets packed full of shoppers weighed down by countless bags have become an unwelcome part of the festive experience. The pressures of getting loved ones the right gifts can be anxiety-inducing and the all-encompassing capitalism of the whole event can leave us feeling overwhelmed and empty.
Over £1 billion worth of toys are not even used after Christmas is over in the United Kingdom. In this article, we’ll share with you an alternative to the throwaway gift culture, something infinitely more meaningful that could change someone’s life forever.
An Alternative Gift Experience
If you’ve been to Southeast Asia you will most likely be aware of the kindness and gentleness of its people. You may also have noticed a level of child poverty on its streets that you simply don’t see in the West.
Many children exist without the privileges we take for granted such as a loving family or regular and free education. Children of the Mekong have been helping the children of Southeast Asia since 1958, they now offer a programme that allows people around the world to sponsor an individual child and to bear witness to the results.
A sponsorship can be gifted to a member of your family, it will give them the option to choose the country in Southeast Asia they resonate with the most with and even the gender of the child. Their gift will give an underprivileged child the opportunity to receive an education. A life-changing gift like this is a more ethical choice than almost anything you could find on your high street or online megastores. Plus, it will leave your recipient feeling fulfilled and a child thousands of miles away will be blessed by freedoms that they never thought were possible for them.
A Lifelong Bond
Many charitable organisations leave the donor with a generic newsletter and maybe an auto-generated ‘thank you’ email. Sponsoring a child through Children of the Mekong is more than just money, it’s about creating a friendship that spans beyond borders. The person you gift the sponsorship to will be able to write a letter to their chosen child about life in their home country and they can ask questions directly to the child as well. Children can then write back, and so a relationship begins. Photos can be shared as well and in a post-COVID world, the sponsor will even have the option to visit the child.
Children of the Mekong volunteers at both ends of the written correspondence will translate letters from English to numerous Southeast Asian languages and vice versa. This is an extremely important part of the sponsorship, it can give a child newfound confidence that despite the neglect and harm they may have experienced, someone, somewhere in the world is rooting for them.
How Can I Gift a Sponsorship?
Simply follow this link to begin the process of filling out a very simple online form. Following this, you and the person you decide to gift the sponsorship to will receive a Welcome Pack that will give information about the child you have sponsored. Your loved one will find out the child’s family situation, their age, country of birth and will even get to see what they look like.
Your family member or friend will then begin their correspondence to their child, sending as much or as little information as they please. This support will continue until the child has completed their schooling, by this stage life will have opened up exponentially for the child, their options for their future will have changed drastically for the better.
Will Sponsorship Be the Right Gift for My Loved One?
Children of the Mekong may have a long history and have completed hundreds of unique projects. But, they have not become too large for their own good like some NGOs, once a sponsorship begins your relationship with the child and the staff at Children of the Mekong remains personal. Any of your questions will be answered and support is provided for the duration of your sponsorship.
If you are wondering if gifting a child sponsorship is right for your loved one, just think about the following things.
- Do they have children of their own or an affinity to the wellbeing of children? – Sponsoring a child may fill the gap of an unfulfilled parental obligation.
- Do they really need more physical gifts? – The person that already has everything may find much more joy from helping another person.
- Do they have concerns about how ethical certain gifts are? – It’s hard to justify how ethical many products are these days as so much of our consumerism relies on the exploitation of poorer countries. There aren’t many gifts that are more morally rewarding than committing to helping a child thrive.
- Are they concerned about sustainability and the environment? – Mass production and shipping costs harm our planet.
- Do they enjoy travel? – They may eventually choose to go and visit their sponsored child in their home country.
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you should definitely consider giving your loved one the gift of changing a child’s life forever. If you’re not already convinced, I think we can all agree that it definitely beats another pair of socks or an itchy knitted jumper.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Children of the Mekong!