“I feel guilty for not writing’
“I am a bad sponsor: I have never written’
Here at Children of the Mekong, we sometimes hear people say these things, and to be honest, we express the same feelings of guilt ourselves! Consider this: What if being a sponsor went beyond simply writing letters? Here is a short piece written to ease any guilt you may feel and to suggest ways to deal with the problem together.
Every day, our overseas volunteers and our local volunteers tell us about the amazing experiences of families for whom everything changes as soon as their child attends school, or of young people who have continued their studies while all their friends have left to work in the fields or on building sites.
“I wanted to stop going to school; it was so hard. But I thought of my sponsor, and I decided to stick with it”. Acknowledgements like this one are often heard in Asia and they remind us that our sponsorship does not just come down to a question of financial aid. The moral support that it provides is just as important.
When sponsors’ letters are distributed to the children, the most joyful moment of all is when the letters are handed to each child. It is a very emotional experience for us to see their faces light up at the sight of a letter.
As witnesses to this simple joy, we are here to remind you to write to your sponsored child, even if it is simply a postcard. It is an indescribable gift! You are reminding them that they are in your thoughts, that they are important, and that you believe in them. You are doing something really big with something very small.
Knowing this, should you feel guilty? No! Here are three ideas and reasons for not feeling guilty anymore:
1/ Being a sponsor has a moral impact that goes beyond writing letters. Simply knowing that you are supporting them or thinking about them helps your sponsored child enormously. Our volunteers explain who their sponsors are to the children.
2/ If writing a letter or a postcard to your child is difficult, consider these solutions:
Take on a collective sponsorship. It is just as helpful as an individual sponsorship. You would be helping a group of children, an education centre, a school, or a community project. You would not need to write any letters but would receive yearly news from the programme. And of course, if you were to travel to Asia, you could see the impact your sponsorship is making first-hand.
Write an email to your sponsored child. You can now write an email that will then be translated, printed out, and given to them. It does not take long to write them a message and perhaps include a few photos!
Have your children/grandchildren write to your sponsored child so that they become part of the letter-writing. Your sponsored child will be delighted to correspond with someone of his/her age, and it is the perfect opportunity to introduce your children/grandchildren to the concept of solidarity, to open their minds and hearts to the world, and to have them be part of your sponsorship.
3/ And last but not least, you are a good sponsor, since you have taken on the sponsorship of a child. It means a lot. You are changing someone’s life, so please trust us when we say there is no need whatsoever to feel guilty!