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What is Child Sponsorship & How Does It Work?

Child Sponsorship 101

As we step into the new year and reflect on the joys and blessings to come, it’s important to remember that there are children around the world who are suffering and in need of our help to have the future they deserve.

A child’s future is determined – to a large extent — within the first few years of their lives. You can help make a difference in these lives in order to ensure these children reach their full potential. For the millions of children who need help around the world, a small contribution can go a long way.

We can provide newborns with a healthy start, give children a strong foundation in education, and empower teens with the skills needed for promising careers. Choosing a child through a sponsorship program can make a world of difference in one person’s life and to the lives they touch as they grow.

So, where do you begin? You likely have a lot of questions as to how you can help and how sponsoring a child through Save the Children can help positively impact a person’s life — through childhood and beyond. Read on to learn more about how you can make a difference.

Basic Education - Indonesia

 

What is child sponsorship?

Through the child sponsorship program, you the donor can choose a child whose story has touched your life in a special way. Even if you’re halfway around the globe, you may see some similarities between yourself, your loved ones, and a child you wish to sponsor. Each month, your sponsorship helps provide children with the necessities for a healthy and successful start to their life – nutrition, early childhood and adolescent development, education and school health.. Over the course of months – or even years – your sponsorship will continue to make an impact on this child and his or her community.

As of 2016, Save the Children and the sponsors we are fortunate to work with have benefitted over 2.5 million children worldwide, in 43 global communities, and have contributed over $70.7 million to enrich the lives of these children.

What does it mean to be a child sponsor?

The primary goal of sponsorship is to help provide children with their best chance for success. Through the sponsorship program you will develop a strong and important relationship with the child through letters, birthday cards and photos. The most important aspect of being a child sponsor is the impact you will have on the community as a whole. Your contributions will directly affect the education, health care, recreation and safety of others within the community, as well.

How much does it cost to sponsor a child?

You can help change the lives of children all over the world for just over $1 a day. Sponsorship starts at $36 per month, and you will be changing the lives of more than just one child.[1] Your contributions are combined with other sponsors and donors in order to help better entire communities. This ensures that children in these communities still benefit from the programs and support even if they do not have a sponsor of their own. If you’re able to give more than $36 per month, your donation will help achieve greater goals for the children of these communities.

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What impact does sponsoring a child have on the community?

The positive impact on the lives of these children can’t be measured in money alone. Thanks to our network of generous sponsors like you, we’ve been able to help treat 418,000 children for parasitic infections (often due to unclean, unsafe water in their regions), making sure their childhood is as healthy and happy as possible. We were also able to equip 37,000 parents with the tools they need to support their children’s early development. And we’ve helped train 6,000 teachers to give children in impoverished parts of the globe the education they need to build a better life for themselves and their community.

Your contributions help lift entire communities and assist not only the children, but also the families, caregivers, and other people in a given area. Depending on which program and age group you wish to sponsor, you’re able to help a wide range of people [2]:

  • Babies & Expecting Mothers: Even before birth, you’ll improve the lives of expectant mothers and provide them with the health and nutrition services that will ensure their babies begin life happy and healthy.
  • Toddlers & Young Children: You’ll be able to provide children with early learning opportunities that will lay a strong foundation for educational success. You’ll be able to improve the overall learning experience for all children in the community ensuring the quality education they deserve.
  • Teens & Pre-Teens: Adolescence is a time of intense change that shapes future opportunities. With your assistance, you will help pre-teens and teenagers build lasting life and work skills to build a better community.

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. With millions of children living in poverty, it is the primary goal of Save the Children to connect children in need with people like you who want to become involved and make a serious impact. Sponsorship provides these children with the necessities for a successful and healthy start to a bright future. Through sponsorship, you’ll be able to support these children as they learn and grow.

If you’d like to sponsor a child and make a tax-deductible donation today, please connect with us for more information.

[1] https://support.savethechildren.org/site/SPageNavigator/sponsorship.html 

[2] http://www.savethechildren.org/atf/cf/%7B9def2ebe-10ae-432c-9bd0-df91d2eba74a%7D/2016%20CHILD%20SPON%20YEAR%20IN%20REVIEW_DIGITAL_FINAL.PDF 

Refugee Sponsors Are Changing Lives

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Victoria Zegler

Multimedia Storyteller

Save the Children in Egypt

March 20, 2018

“How does it make you feel to be a representative of your school, Aseel?” I asked.

She froze, hesitant to answer.

Then she admitted that she didn’t want to sound “arrogant,” so I reassured her, “Confident, Aseel! Not arrogant.”

It was at that moment she took a deep breath and let out the most genuine response I could have hoped for.

“As an ambassador, I feel that I have a nice talent,” she said. “They chose me from the entire school, they chose me from among 800 students! I cannot believe this!”

10-year old Aseel participates during a letter writing activity within Save the Children's refugee sponsorship program in Egypt.
Aseel participates in a letter writing activity within our refugee sponsorship program in Egypt.

As the war in Syria enters its eighth year,  there are still children who are out of school, and most are up to six years behind in their reading and math skills. This, I cannot believe!

For refugee children, war has put their educations – and therefore their futures – at risk.

Back in October, I was able to visit Save the Children’s refugee sponsorship program in Egypt. I witnessed firsthand the impact being made in the lives of children who, at one point, were without an education.

During my visit, I was given the opportunity to meet our four child ambassadors – Aseel, Mohanad, Malak and Karim. Each of these inspiring children expressed their gratitude for having Save the Children in their community school and felt honored to be chosen as a representative among their peers.

I watched plays orchestrated by local Save the Children staff to promote hygiene in a fun and inclusive atmosphere (think big toothbrushes constructed out of cardboard and plastic straws!). I heard the excitement in the children’s voices when they talked about attending summer camp and art exhibits. It made me smile knowing that our sponsors are giving vulnerable children the education and support they need to succeed.

Global Sponsorship Multimedia Storyteller Victoria Zegler takes a selfie with children participating in Save the Children's refugee sponsorship program in Egypt.
Global Sponsorship Multimedia Storyteller Victoria, takes a selfie with children in our refugee sponsorship program in Egypt.

After meeting each of these children and hearing their stories, I couldn’t help but notice their sense of self-awareness. All of the incredible support we receive from sponsors like you allows refugee children to thrive in a safe environment, one where they can focus on learning and just being kids again. These children recognize what is happening in the world, even though they may not understand it. They realize that they have been given a second chance, and they know they have to work hard. Because of your generosity, refugee children are able to continue their educations and dare to dream of their futures.

It moved me to see these young children serving as leaders within the community and talking about their hopes for the future. This is what your generosity is doing. You’re helping provide the care and support these children desperately need to pursue their dreams.

Thank you for making a positive difference in the lives and futures of refugee children like Aseel.

Within our impact area of Greater Cairo, Save the Children responds to both short-term and long-term needs of vulnerable refugee children and their families by offering child protection, education, health and livelihoods support, counseling and psychological support. Learn more and find out how you can help at SavetheChildren.org/RefugeeSponsorship

Shohayeb’s Dreams Come True!

Author Portrait_Md. Hasan Iqbal, Deputy Manager, Sponsorship Communications and Data Quality
Md. Hasan Iqbal

Deputy Manager, Sponsorship Communications and Data Quality

Save the Children in Bangladesh

March 19, 2018

Shohayeb is a 12-year-old boy studying in 7th grade, at a sponsorship supported school in Meherpur, Bangladesh. He was enrolled in the child sponsorship program in 2011 when he was only 7, although sponsorship has been working in his community since 2006.

During this time, Shohayeb has gained motivation in his studies, knowledge on good practices in his personal life, for example how to wash his hands properly and how to eat healthy, and learned about the many benefits of a strong education. His community has also become strengthened and more aware through sponsorship, realizing too the importance of education for their children, healthy living practices and how the prevention of early marriage benefits the long term development and prosperity of their community. Shohayeb’s community has also received material benefits like vitamin and iron supplements for malnourished children, and school infrastructure development such as safe water treatment, hygienic latrines and new learning materials like books.

In August of 2017, Shohayeb had the great excitement of meeting his sponsor, Hyeona from South Korea, for the first time, who has been sponsoring him since 2013. They spent two days together, talking, reading, drawing, taking photos with each other and just getting to know one another.

Shohayeb with his friend and sponsor, Hyeona.
Shohayeb with his friend and sponsor, Hyeona.

During this time, Shohayeb even got to celebrate Hyeona’s birthday with her, as it took place during their visit. It was an amazing journey with friends. Hyeona visited his school and met with his teacher and classmates. She saw how now, thanks to sponsors, classrooms have print-rich learning materials and posters, instead of blank walls. She even witnessed a vision screening test at his school, a service that wasn’t available to children with vision problems until sponsorship came to his school. Later, they spent time together making arts and crafts, playing ball games with Shohayeb and his classmates, and even dancing!

Shohayeb tells us he will never forget those memories. He shared many things about himself and his family with his friend from so far away. Hyeona also shared stories about herself and her experiences, so Shohayeb not only gained a close friend but also learned many new things.

Shohayeb shared after the visit, “Now I can look to the future and hope to fulfil my dreams. My friend [sponsor] supports me a lot, and encourages me in her letters. Sponsorship has done much more for me, my family, and my village. Thank you my friend, Hyeona Kim.”

It was a wonderful moment for both. During their farewell, Shohayeb expressed his feelings, “I never thought that I could meet my friend. Over the last two days I talked to my friend, we ate together, played together… I became very happy. But, she will go soon… I cannot see her more. I hope that we could meet in future. I wish that one day after I grow up, I will go to Korea to see my friend.”

Hyeona is proud to be Shohayeb's sponsor.
Hyeona is proud to be Shohayeb’s sponsor.

Hyeona also shared her experiences about her visit to the sponsorship programs in Bangladesh, “I feel very happy to have met with Shohayeb. He is a very nice person. I feel really proud of this good boy. He will be a very gentle man in the future. We enjoyed very much our time together. He drew a picture for me – that was wonderful. We took photos together of our memorable moments. I will never forget Shohayeb. I think he will remember me. And also I feel very cheerful because my support is effectively received for children’s wellbeing. After this visit, I understand how successfully and hard Save the Children has been working for the children.”

Where does your sponsored child live? Would you like to learn more about what life is like in that country, and how your sponsorship is changing the lives of children there? Consider making the big trip to visit. Contact our team in Fairfield, CT at ChildVisits@SaveChildren.org to learn more!

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

No More Stomach Pains

Author Portrait_Anisa Naimi, School Health and Nutrition Officer, Faryab Province
Anisa Naimi

School Health and Nutrition Officer

Save the Children in Afghanistan

October 3, 2017

In Afghanistan, especially in rural areas, people are suffering from the lack of a consistent energy source for heating and cooking in their homes. To overcome this problem many families still prefer traditional ways of supplying energy. This means that often children can be seen walking the streets to collect animal wastes. Dung, or called “sargen” in Dari, the local language, can then be dried and used as fuel or even building material. Unfortunately, the lack of knowledge on protecting ones health and hygiene was causing children to get sick after collecting sargen.

9-year-old Amina is in 3rd grade at the girls’ school in her village, in Faryab Province. She lives with her parents and is third eldest among her 3 sisters and 2 brothers. She is an active student, but a few months back she suddenly was facing some difficulties, enduring a pain in her stomach followed by her health quickly deteriorating. She tried to attend school regularly but her poor health conditions did not allow her to actively participate in the class work and recreational activities at school.

Her mother Gulbadam shared, “Our family worried about her health. Her father gave her a pain killer medicine, but the pain continued because she felt terrible cramps in her stomach. She preferred to stay at home and was disappointed and sad.”

Thanks to sponsorship, 9-year-old Amina no longer gets stomach pains and is able to stay in school.
Thanks to sponsorship, 9-year-old Amina no longer gets stomach pains and is able to stay in school.

Amina told us proudly, “Save the Children staff came to my school and conducted deworming campaigns. They told teachers and students about worm infestations which is very common in school-aged children in this community, because every day children collect sargen and the germs enter our stomachs and makes us sick.”

She added, showing what she had learned on the topic, “Save the Children staff told us that if these worms grow they would make children much weaker and sick. It is always better to take dewormers to kill worms and to wash our hands with soap. They gave deworming tablets to all the children in school and I took the tablets too. The next day it kicked out many worms from my stomach and I felt better.”

After being inspired by her new knowledge of what had made her sick, Amina become a member of the child-focused health education group in her village, and actively participates in the sessions. She mentioned, “Before I never knew to wash my hands with soap after collecting sargen, and that [washing with] only water does not remove the microbes and causes stomach worms. Thank you Save the Children,” she added shyly.

The child-focused health groups are sponsorship supported programs that provide a forum for girls and boys to meet once a week in the homes of volunteers or in community spaces. At these meetings, health skills such as how to maintain good hygiene and nutrition and prevent diseases are key topics. Children learn through participating in public campaigns to spread health messages through their community, as well as in meeting sessions learn through activities such as drawing, storytelling, roleplaying and other child-friendly activities that strengthen important health skills, like proper handwashing.

Amina explained, “Now our school is closed for winter holidays but there is a [child’s health] group in our neighbors’ house. I regularly attend each session because I enjoy learning many new things, I learned when to wash my hands with soap and why I should do so. Before this I rarely used soap but I learned if I do not use soap I will face stomach worms which is very scary and painful.”

Amina and her fellow child-focused health education group members practice safe handwashing.
Amina and her fellow child-focused health education group members practice safe handwashing.

As a part of the child-focused health groups, child participants are asked to share what they have learned in each session with at least 3 family members or relatives. Community elders, parents and school management are also invited to some of the events. In this way, not only do the children benefit but the impact of our programs are felt throughout the entire community.

Amina’s mother says, “Children learn best when they are healthy. Thanks to Save the Children for implementing very helpful and useful programs. Now I encourage my children to always wash their hands with soap after participating in deworming awareness raising and deworming tablets distribution campaigns.”

Amina’s mother also says, “Amina regularly attends school and is much more active and healthy than before. I am really happy and appreciate Save the Children for its efforts for our school.”

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

The Sky’s the Limit for Sarabeth

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Rebecca Poehler

Program Operations Manager, U.S. Program

Save the Children U.S Program

September 20, 2017

In rural Kentucky where 26 percent of children live in poverty, children face many challenges at home and in school. But with help from our sponsors, our sponsorship program is giving children in the United States the skills they need to succeed, and the opportunity for a brighter future.

Sarabeth just started second grade and loves participating in the sponsorship program at her school. When asked how reading makes her feel, Sarabeth answered, “It makes me smart”. You can find her reading her favorite book, Dinosaurs Don’t Eat Broccoli, or dreaming of going to college and becoming a doctor when she grows up.

Sarabeth participates in sponsorship programs which help improve her reading skills.
Sarabeth participates in sponsorship programs which help improve her reading skills.

Sarabeth didn’t always love reading. She was referred to Save the Children because her reading assessment scores were low and she was falling behind her peers. Since joining the program and getting the support she needs, Sarabeth has shown great improvements in more ways than just one. Her teacher, Mrs. Collins, reports that she has seen a difference in her reading comprehension, spelling and vocabulary skills. “I’ve seen much improvement in Sarabeth and look forward to seeing more at the end of this year,” she says.

Sarahbeth has also developed confidence and social skills thanks to the sponsorship program. Her mother says, “I have noticed that she is becoming more confident and more willing to speak out.” Sarabeth’s mother says that her daughter now loves going to school since joining the program. “Save the Children is a great program! Sarabeth has made new friends, improved her schoolwork and has become more confident. It also allows her to be more socially active than ‘regular’ school does. It’s good to see programs like this help our kids so much. Thank you!”

Sarabeth proudly shows her drawing.
Sarabeth proudly shows her drawing.

Sarabeth isn’t the only child who has made great strides since joining sponsorship. Mrs. Jarvis, a Save the Children program coordinator, sees the difference in so many children who are developing a love of reading. “I am encouraging students to choose books based on interest and reading ability. We have book talks that students enjoy and are beneficial to them in understanding what they’ve read.  As a classroom teacher, that was not always possible as time was precious and there was always more to do than could be accomplished in a day! The Save the Children program is allowing children to develop a love of reading and allowing me to rediscover my love of reading also.”

Sarabeth and so many children like her in Kentucky are making great progress, thanks to sponsors like you. We’re excited to see where Sarabeth goes next – it seems like the sky’s the limit!

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

Gelane Goes Back to School

Author Portrait_Temesgen Afeta, Community Mobilization & Communications Coordinator
Temesgen Afeta

Community Mobilization & Communications Coordinator

Save the Children in Ethiopia

August 4, 2017

In the remote and rural West Showa district of Ethiopia, not all parents have equal understanding of the importance in sending their children to school, and how this helps them become productive adults and succeed in life. Some may not even think about helping their children in their education, as most lack the awareness on how significant a quality education can be for shaping their children’s futures.

12-year-old Gelane lives in a community where Save the Children sponsorship funded programs started in 2011. Initially, there had been no school in her village, and parents had been sending their children far away to get to school, or kept them at home altogether. In order to reach the closest school, children would need to travel an average of 3 hours a day on foot. Often, only the stronger, older children would be able to make the journey, however many older children are also pulled out of school to help support their families. Additionally, the teachers that were available were untrained and used traditional, rote memorization teaching methods that do not create a supportive learning environment for children. All this combined to keep attendance rates very low and, for what children did attend, learning was difficult and not interactive or fun.

Thanks to support from our sponsors, Save the Children was able to build a brand new school, train the teachers, provide learning materials and speak to parents about the importance of sending their children to school. Since then, all the children in the community have been going to school. Currently, the nearly 200 children from preschool to grade 4 who are now attending the new school would have found it nearly impossible to reach a school before. Through sponsorship across West Showa, new classrooms have been built in almost 50 different schools, supporting more than 30,000 children in accessing a quality education.

12-year-old Gelane is happy and proud to finally be back in school.
12-year-old Gelane is happy and proud to finally be back in school.

Gelane, though she went to the old school, had struggled in completing grades or attending consistently due to the distance and lack of engaging lessons once she got there. She dropped out in grade 3, already falling behind other students at just 9 years old. Her parents needed her support to handle extra chores around the home, while her older siblings were allowed to continue learning instead. Gelane was out of school and at home for an almost unbearably long two years.

Despite construction of the new school, dialogue amongst community members was still needed to sensitize parents and caregivers about the importance of an education. As a result of these efforts, sponsorship staff finally convinced Gelane’s parents that she should return to school.

With Gelane’s dream of returning to school realized, she has been able to continue her learning in the same grade from when she had been forced to drop out. Today, she is enjoying school with both old and new friends, and participating in sponsorship’s literacy, numeracy and school health and nutrition programs at school. She found the school environment she returned to was full of new storybooks and lively and fun lessons for her to participate in. For example, through the newly established Girls’ Club, she is gaining important knowledge about how to keep her body safe and healthy as she becomes a woman – something she couldn’t get a word on from either of her parents at home as the topic is considered taboo. Additionally, at the newly established community learning center in her village, also set-up thanks to sponsors, she is able to practice her reading skills outside of school or on the weekends by using or borrowing the reading materials now available there.

Gelane studying with some classmates from her sponsorship supported school.
Gelane studying with some classmates from her sponsorship supported school.

Today, Gelane dreams of completing all the grades in school, like her peers. She hopes that the support she is getting both in school and at the community learning center will help make this dream a reality.

Gelane’s teacher, Shure, shared, “There are many children like Gelane, in the communities, who are born with a lot of potential but unlucky in getting a chance to make their dreams successful… Save the Children is supporting on this through community mobilization, and go-to-school and back-to school-campaigns. Many children are getting back to school as a result. We hope the situation will improve.”

Little by little, things are changing in Ethiopia, and the children and families there have sponsors to thank for that. Thank you for your support to brighten the future for children in West Showa!

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

Linh’s Fairy Tale

Author Potrait_Nguyen Thi Nga, Field Project AssistantNguyen Thi Nga

Field Project Assistant

Save the Children in Vietnam

June 9, 2017

 

Working in sponsorship, every journey makes an impression on my life.

I really appreciated the opportunity to meet with Linh, a 10-year-old girl enrolled in our sponsorship programs, as she welcomed her sponsor for a visit to her small village in the mountains of Vietnam. Here, in Phong Hai commune of Lao Cai province, people live high up in rural mountain villages and rely on agriculture, growing crops such as maize, rice, cassava or tea, to support their families.

I still remember the happiness that filled her face when she expressed her feelings about the day her sponsors would arrive. Her eyes lit up and she smiled brightly, and I felt a warmness touch my heart.

It was a rainy day, and she was playing with her friends while waiting for the exciting arrival. Suddenly, she caught the smile of her sponsors. She recognized them immediately – they had included a photo of them in their first letter to her which she cherishes.

Linh and her sponsors making gu cakes.
Linh and her sponsors making gu cakes.

What an amazing thing! Thanks to sponsorship, she was able to get acquainted with her two foreign friends, coming from a faraway country on the other side of the world – Italy. Their names are Federica and Manolo, a married couple who have been getting acquainted with Linh through letter writing over the past year as her sponsors.

She felt unbelievable, almost like a little princess from the fairy tales her mother had told her when she was younger. She felt one of those stories had become her real life when she met her sponsors, as they came to her school and met with her teachers, friends and her family.

“Hardly did I have [such a] memorable time like that. We talked to each other and played special games, like badminton… Then, we made traditional cakes.” These special cakes, called “gu cake”, is a traditional dish of the Dao ethnic group, an ethnic minority of Vietnam that lives in this area. It is made by wrapping a mixture of purple sticky rice, green beans, salt and pork in banana leaves and bamboo strings, and then boiling for a very long time, up to 5 or 6 hours. They are made to celebrate the Tet holiday, or the Lunar New Year, in Vietnam, and traditionally are placed on an alter to worship ancestors.

“It was also my first time to make these cakes by myself. It was such an interesting experience with my sponsors. What a pity! I could not speak with them a lot to express how glad I was because of our languages and my shyness. Perhaps, no words could ever describe my happiness at that time.” Linh said to me later, when reflecting on the visit. “I am truly a lucky girl to have met my sponsors in my life. Despite [the] far distance, they came to visit me with kindness and friendliness. I honestly appreciate their coming and love for me.”

Sponsorship staff member Nga, Linh and her sponsors, Federica and Manolo
Sponsorship staff member Nga, Linh and her sponsors, Federica and Manolo.

It was with a saddened voice when she spoke about saying goodbye to her sponsors. I would like to express my sincere thanks to those sponsors that visit our programs. It is such a unique and amazing opportunity to make a connection across distances and cultures. Thanks to our sponsors for their kindness in helping disadvantaged children in Vietnam and the world over. After participating in this visit, I have more motivation and passion about my work at Save the Children, with the big mission to better the life of children.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

A Working Day for a Sponsorship Facilitator

Author Portrait_Sama Mahaman Laouali, Community Development Facilitator
Sama Mahaman Laouali

Community Development Facilitator

Save the Children in Niger

March 31, 2017

When the Sponsorship program started in Niger in January of 2015, I was among the lucky staff members tasked with implementing the program in the selected 25 communities. The fact that I am from the region of Maradi, where Sponsorship now works, doubled my commitment to work for the welfare of children in this area.

The work of a community facilitator is not an easy task, but it’s worth doing since it benefits children, their parents and the region as a whole.

Sama laughing and drawing with some sponsored girls.
Sama laughing and drawing with some sponsored girls.

When I wake up in the morning, I first have my breakfast and then I check everything is in working order on my motorcycle. Despite the hot, sunny days and sandy roads, I enjoy going to the communities.

We have become, as a part of Sponsorship, members of these communities. From afar the roaring of my motorbike can be heard, and children welcome me with their joyful “youyous”, a local saying used to describe the excited and joyful shouts of children, because they all know that I always come with good news – news from their sponsors or enrollments welcoming new children into the programs.

Smiling Sponsorship kids Djamila, Farida, Aicha & Maimouna.
Smiling Sponsorship kids Djamila, Farida, Aicha & Maimouna.

Children and parents are all proud when a child receives a letter from a sponsor. It’s new to them, but they already have confidence in Sponsorship’s activities. For parents, the program is a huge relief as they will not have to worry about buying school supplies. Children too believe in the change that will occur in their education, as their teachers are being trained and the school environment is already starting to transform. Reading camps are being set-up in communities and stocked with storybooks. The use of positive discipline is being taught to teachers, which means no more violence at school and children are made comfortable in class and are able to develop relationships with their teachers.

In these rural communities, letters coming from abroad are treasured and he who receives a letter from a sponsor is seen as a lucky child. Creating drawings for replies to sponsors is a scene of celebration as children are gathered to work together on them, and it’s marvelous.

Have you written to your sponsored child recently? We hear over and over that children “treasure” the letters they receive from sponsors – it truly is seen as a wonderful gift! We hope you will consider taking the time to write a quick note or send some photos of yourself and your family to your sponsored child. Know they will indeed treasure it for years to come!

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

 

Summer Learning Camps

Author Portrait_Rida Abasambi Abagojam, Education Program Coordinator
Rida Abasambi Abagojam

Education Program Coordinator

Save the Children in Ethiopia

March 6, 2017

I felt very fortunate when I joined Save the Children’s Sponsorship team in Oromia as Education Program Coordinator in 2015. I work with a highly committed and energetic team that is shaped by Save the Children’s core values and principles, in always reflecting accountability and innovation to continuously improve the quality of our programs reaching children, even during difficult times.

Save the Children has been implementing Sponsorship programming that partners with local communities in improving children’s access to quality education, by providing trainings for teachers, teaching materials for classrooms and conducting a continuous dialogue with community members and parents to improve their knowledge, attitude and skills on children’s development and improving educational environments.

This past year, the Sponsorship team began programs in Summer Learning Camps (SLCs), so that children can continue their education and be engaged in learning during the summer break from school. So far, nearly 250 villages in West Showa now provide SLCs for their learners. Broadening our reach even further, some SLCs serve additional smaller neighboring villages.

A child and community elder enjoying storytelling time together in a Summer Learning Camp
A child and community elder enjoying storytelling time together in a Summer Learning Camp.

We travel on foot, walking long distances and crossing rivers, to meet community leaders, identify camp sites, select village volunteers to manage the camps and to deliver camp materials. I was one of the team leaders who went to a small rural village, to meet with local elders, community leaders and village members to discuss and identify a new SLC site.

One farmer was waiting to greet us. He led us to where the community members were already waiting for us, sitting in the shade under a big tree. After we greeted and introduced ourselves, we then discussed the SLC initiative that we hoped to start in their village. They were so happy that they blessed us and told us they would support us in any way they could. They shared they too understood the significance of keeping their children in contact with books and reading during school breaks. They were also thankful to hear that book banks, or portable libraries with reading and writing supplies, and different kinds of games would be provided for their children. They excitedly discussed the possibility of children being able to borrow storybooks to read at home.

As we finished our discussion they led us to the camp site they proposed. When looking to identify sites, we make sure that there are no natural hazards nearby like cliffs or rivers in which children could hurt themselves, as well as other hazards of town-life like stray dogs or nearby roads. As this location was in a shady and grassy field, we agreed it was a very safe place for children to learn and play.

Children excitedly gather for storytelling with one of the elders.
Children excitedly gather for storytelling with one of the elders.

We also agreed to build the tents for the camp together, and that the community members would provide wood to help construct the tents. They also said they would make wood benches for the children. Sponsorship then in turn provides the additional materials needed, like storybooks, educational games and the plastic for the tent itself, and helps train facilitators to run the camps in a child-friendly way, to help foster a love of reading in all the camps’ participants.

After a site is set up, we visit the Summer Learning Camps twice a month. I always feel happy when I’m able to do this, and see the children playing and reading at the camps. When I arrive during the elders’ storytelling time with the children, I really enjoy sitting for a moment to listen to the stories with the kids, and return back to my work station with renewed energy. I love my career and feel lucky to be part of such a dynamic team that is always turning challenges into opportunities, to create positive changes in the lives of the children our sponsors help us reach.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.

Sponsorship is “Save the Children’s Engine”

Author Portait_Noemi Maidana, Sponsorship Assistant
Noemi Maidana

Sponsorship Assistant

Save the Children in Bolivia

February 10, 2017

Hello, my name is Noemi. I am a Sponsorship Operations Assistant for Save the Children in Bolivia, here in Cochabamba. I would like to share with you some of the valuable work Sponsorship makes possible, and one of the amazing people that works directly with the families and children we support.

Meet Justa, a primary school teacher who has been working with children for over 22 years.

Justa is a very active, hardworking and loving teacher. She explained to us that before Save the Children started working in her school both students and teachers faced many problems. “This was a largely forgotten school by local authorities. [We] had many needs and were used to old fashioned and routine-based teaching methodologies.”

Justa explaining the Sponsorship enrollment process to children.
Justa explaining the Sponsorship enrollment process to children.

When Sponsorship arrived, Justa viewed having Save the Children work in her school as a great opportunity to further improve educational quality for her students through its various programs. She regularly participates in Sponsorship workshops, meetings and activities to learn how to make her lessons more engaging and improve her teaching processes.

She understands the importance of the operational piece of Sponsorship, and how helping our programs run like a well-oiled machine on the ground directly relates to the funds we receive through donors. This combined with her great experience in our workshops and trainings motivated her to become a Sponsorship Operations Lead Volunteer in her school. She tells us Sponsorship is “Save the Children’s engine”.

In volunteering to facilitate sponsorship operations, Justa helps enroll new children into our sponsorship programs. The first and perhaps most important step of this process is meeting with parents to explain what Save the Children does and how it helps children, schools and communities. Justa thus acts as an ambassador for our programs in her community, helping to explain the purpose of our strategies in health and education, and sharing results from other Sponsorship supported areas and those already occurring in her school. She also encourages parents and teachers to attend events and fairs on topics like health, safety and education, to help them improve the learning of the children in schools and at home. By organizing meetings with parents and community members, volunteers like Justa help us continue to reach even more children in need.

Justa with her students, Rosmery, Sindel, Teresa, Maria, Cristian, Luciano, Brayan & Roberto.
Justa with her students, Rosmery, Sindel, Teresa, Maria, Cristian, Luciano, Brayan & Roberto.

Justa shares, “I believe that all children receive help thanks to the support that each sponsor contributes to Save the Children’s programs. I think that losing a sponsor is like losing a family member. Therefore, I consider [it] very important that children participate and exchange letters with their sponsors.”

Have you written to your sponsored child recently? When you do, dedicated Sponsorship team members in each of our country offices sit with your sponsored child to help them compose letters to their sponsors, and learn about reading and writing while they do. Someone like Justa will be beside him or her, guiding them to put their thoughts into words and say hello from across the globe.

Interested in joining our community of sponsors? Click here to learn more.