A Community Leader Knows

Author Portrait_Mengos Nazare Sebastiao, Basic Education Coordinator

Mengos Nazare Sebastiao

Basic Education Coordinator/Guinée


November 29, 2015

João Ussene is an old and wise man, born in Mecunula and still living there with his family. Currently he is the community leader and serving as chairperson and president of the primary school committee. 

The kind face of João Ussene, community leader and president of the primary school council

The kind face of João Ussene, community leader and president of the primary school council

In his own words, João tells us that he knows from A to Z what is being implemented by the Save the Children sponsorship program in his community.

Before the program entered, the situation in the school was not good. Children were studying in very poor conditions. There were no classrooms, desks, chairs or adequate blackboards. Additionally the school had untrained teachers, so João tells us that both children and teachers were really suffering.

When Save the Children started to implement sponsorship programming, there was a light at the end of the tunnel, he says, and things started to change. Currently the school has new classrooms, an administrative block and 7 latrines under construction. Moreover, teachers are benefiting from monthly trainings through the Literacy Boost program, a Save the Children approach to improving reading skills that will allow teachers to help school children to read and write throughout the different stages of their educational development.

The community leader tells us he can see smiles on the faces of children when the community is receiving school materials and parents are now really engaged with school issues. Both these results of the sponsorship program positively contribute towards motivating children to go to school and keep going to school. João sends a very big koxukuro (thank you in Makua, the local language) to sponsors, expressing his great gratitude and appreciation for their generosity in helping his beloved community look ahead at a brighter future.

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

Tablets for Field Work

Author Portrait_Adama Soro, IT Manager, Bamako Office, Save the Children Mali & Guinée

Adama Soro

IT Manager, Bamako Office, Save the Children Mali/Guinée


November 23, 2015

Adama Soro is the IT Manager at the Bamako Office of Save the Children in Mali and Guinée. Recently he travelled to Sikasso, the sponsorship impact area we work in here in Mali, to train sponsorship field agents on collecting child data electronically with a tablet.

For the first time ever, the sponsorship team underwent our child enrollment process using the tablet. To explain a bit more about our process, each child enrolled in our sponsorship program has a form that contains biographical information about him or her and allows the field worker to identify the child through his or her portrait photograph. Each year, new information on all the children enrolled in sponsorship is collected and updated in our sponsorship database. This information is used to populate an annual report on each sponsored child for his or her sponsor. This update includes information such as their current grade, favorite subject, daily activities, dreams for the future, favorite activity or game and the different programs that he or she participated in during the year. The field workers also take a new photo of the child. This new tool will help avoid any child data confusion.

The team testing out the new technology in the field

The team testing out the new technology in the field

After the theoretical training was conducted at the Sikasso office, the sponsorship team, along with the IT manager and staff who work in the field, travelled to the impact area for the first live test of our new technology. Niena was chosen as the first test community, located about 75 kilometers from Sikasso. The data collection is always done at schools in the community. We searched for the children by name in the tablet and used their stored picture, now easily viewable on the tablet. The child then confirmed if it is his or her photo and we started to update the child data electronically.

Each field worker did a test using the tablet for at least one child. They found that the electronic data collection is much faster and more efficient than paper collection. The whole team looks forward to gaining familiarity with this new technological tool in sponsorship: the tablet.

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

Arninda Gets Inspired

Author Portrait_Erniatun Hartini, Communication Officer - Sponsorship

Erniatun Hartini

Communication Officer – Sponsorship


November 16, 2015

Arninda, a third grader in West Sumba, Indonesia, beamed with excitement as a Save the Children staff member delivered a letter to her, knowing that she just received something from her Korean sponsor. She proudly showed the letter to her friends in class and teacher.

“I always wait for Save the Children staff to come here and to deliver a letter from my sponsor. I am proud to be a sponsored child. Every time I receive a letter, I always show it to my friends and I cannot wait to show the letter to my parents at home. They are proud of me since I have a friend abroad through Save the Children’s sponsorship program. I call my sponsor a ‘friend’,” Arninda said enthusiastically.

As she read through her letter, Arninda’s eyes shone brightly. Her Korean friend congratulated her achievement in school during the last semester, for achieving first rank with the best grades in her class. “I heard that you achieved the first rank in your class during the last semester. Congratulations! Honestly, I have never had scores so high. I am so proud of you!” Arninda’s voice trembled with excitement as she read the praise aloud. 

Arninda receiving a letter

Arninda receiving a letter

The letter has motivated Arninda to study even harder. She is very happy to be supported by a caring and loving sponsor. Although she walks over a mile to school everyday, it does not matter to her anymore. She never complains even though it is always difficult during the rainy season. Her spirit to study harder grows with the knowledge that she is so well supported by Save the Children’s programs. She wants to make her parents and also her sponsor proud.

Arninda also said that she would like to learn English so that someday she can write a letter to her sponsor in English. She wants to show her gratitude to her sponsor in this way. She has already learned some English words such as “hi” and “thank you” to get ready.

Arninda is a smart and clever student. Her teacher says she is a fast and enthusiastic learner. She never leaves class even when its raining and the road is slippery and she never loses her enthusiasm to study. Arninda shares that she wants to be a teacher. “I am inspired by my teacher to share my knowledge with others. I want to stand in front of the class and teach, like my teacher does. Being a teacher is an awesome job… I want to make Sumbanese children smarter by receiving a better education.”

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

A School Principal on the Sustainability of Sponsorship

Author Portrait_Yamileh Theodore, Sr. Officer Sponsorship Operations

Yamileh Theodore

Sr. Officer Sponsorship Operations


November 9, 2015

Recently I travelled to the town of Dessalines, where I met Jeanty, the school principal. Save the Children has partnered with his school in Haiti since 2012, however Jeanty has been working there since 1996, when he started as a teacher. Jeanty is not only a school principal but considered a notable and wise member of his community. He was eager to talk to me to testify on the positive impact of the sponsorship programs in his school and community. 

Principal Jeanty behind his desk

Principal Jeanty behind his desk

In the peaceful environment of his office, Jeanty begins by telling me how helpful and effective the different activities being implemented by Save the Children are. According to him, the Basic Education and School Health & Nutrition programs are the most important because they help improve children’s performance and wellbeing in schools. He really appreciates Save the Children’s support through the trainings provided to teachers and school principals. Additionally, he expresses the importance of Save the Children’s role in securing school supplies, pedagogical materials and especially books through the book loan program.

Jeanty affirms that Save the Children’s program package of interventions also reached schools and the community as a whole through nutrition and hygiene education trainings. He remembers last summer our organization marked its presence in this area by providing first aid kits to all partnered schools, as well as medicine and first aid care that positively impacted people in the communities. Additionally they offered parents, teachers and children training on hygiene and first aid care that included proper hand washing, teeth brushing and environmental care techniques. The most visible impact he remembers seeing was students becoming an intermediate in the dissemination of information, sharing what they learned with parents, other children and the whole community.

Jeanty recognizes also within Save the Children’s Adolescent Reproductive Sexual Health (ARSH) program “Parent, pitit ann pale” or “Parents, children let’s talk”. This program addresses the daily realities of Haitian families and teaches parents how to talk to their children about sexual health and the prevention of STIs, AIDS, early pregnancy, the use of drugs and other forms of juvenile delinquency. Jeanty remembers that for a long time, the community saw many young girls getting pregnant. “Now, we have seen a decrease in this situation thanks to Save the Children.” He continues, “We can now see the presence of parents’ committees in the schools that incite them [other parents] to be more involved in their children’s school life. Something that didn’t exist before.”

Jeanty meeting with a few teachers

Jeanty meeting with a few teachers

He believes the school belongs to the community and no longer to him, which makes him feel very proud.

Jeanty concludes with me by saying that Save the Children’s work has considerably changed their way of doing things, especially in the partnered schools. They have a clear understanding on how to delegate tasks and manage their schools. “I am very motivated to work with Save the Children because they teach us not to always expect to receive but to give to others. I know for sure now, if the organization leaves the community we will be able to continue the work they started.”

He hopes that the organization will go further to reach other communities where the needs are greater, and wishes a long life to Save the Children.

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