Paying It Forward: The Story of Ralph, a Former Sponsored Child


Eira Maurice Erfe

Sponsorship Assistant

Save the Children Philippines

November 10, 2016

Sometimes, all we need to get ahead in life is a little nudge to push us in the right direction. For Ralph, that nudge came in the form of Save the Children and his sponsor, who gave him a better fighting chance for success.

Ralph was only a teenager when he joined the Sponsorship Program in Iloilo, a province in the central portion of the Philippines. He is the eldest among five siblings. Growing up, both of his parents were unemployed so life for his big family was very hard. But poverty did not stop him from dreaming of a better life. When he became a sponsored child, he knew change was within his reach.

Ralph inside a library he and his team built for children belonging to the minority Mangyan tribe.
Ralph inside a library he and his team built for children belonging to the minority Mangyan tribe.

Ralph participated in our Adolescent Development programs, which include education sessions on important life and leadership skills. It is through these learning opportunities that he developed his self-confidence, helping him become the man he is today. According to Ralph, Sponsorship programs molded him into a better version of himself. He believes that Sponsorship created a lasting impact on his life, and the lives of his friends, because it opened their eyes to new opportunities, and it made them realize that they could do more and be more.

Now 30 years old, Ralph already finished his studies and is working for an international financial institution. As one of the many underprivileged children supported by Save the Children, Ralph believes in giving back by supporting children himself as an adult, so that they too can develop to their fullest potential.

Ralph working with a project that gave food and school supplies to elementary school children.

Apart from supporting his parents and helping his younger siblings finish school, he currently organizes different volunteer activities that help children and families in poor communities all over the Philippines. He also spends his free time working as an academic tutor for homeless children.

Ralph said, “People should realize that if they can give hope to others, others will feel that the situation they are in isn’t going to last forever. They should see that there are people who can maximize opportunities given to them, and that they can be helped.”

Hopefully, in the near future, we can see more people like Ralph, who not only represent a picture of sponsorship success, but also act as a proponent of change, continuing a cycle of volunteerism and bringing the teachings of helping others to another generation.

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

The Words that Changed a Little Girl’s Life: “You Have a Bright Future”

The words that inspired Elizabeth to
imagine a future beyond her family’s limited means and expectations, and
empowered her to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor, were written by her
sponsor. Save the Children’s Dr. Elizabeth Bocaletti was once a sponsored
child. This is her story.

Img010 - Elizabeth as a little girl in Guatemala (second from right)_sized
Elizabeth as a little girl in Guatemala (second from right)









Elizabeth grew up in a large family of
modest means in rural Guatemala. She was a good student, but opportunities were
limited, especially for girls. And yet, Elizabeth dreamed of becoming a doctor.
In fact, she was determined to do so. Elizabeth attributes her high aspirations
to the letters she received from her sponsor.

DSC02466 - Elizabeth leads a community children activity in El Alto, Bolivia
Elizabeth leads a community children activity in El Alto, Bolivia











“These letters said things like, ‘You
are a great girl, a good student. You will go far. You will have a bright
future,’” Elizabeth remembers, “And I know that these words influenced my life
– the way I understood my future. They opened my mind to new possibilities.
They gave me a certain determination to make an impact on the world.”

DSC00072 - Launching of the Neonatal Strategy at the Panamerican Health Organization
Launching of the Neonatal Strategy at the Panamerican Health Organization with Charlie McCormack, former Save the Children President and CEO












Elizabeth did fulfill her dream,
earning her MD in Pediatrics, and then a Master’s degree in Public Health.
Today, Elizabeth works for Save the Children as an Advisor on our work helping
children survive and thrive throughout Latin America, where she continues to
make an impact on the world every day. The dream even lives on in her own
children, both of whom are studying to become doctors.

DSC01030 - Working with SC staff in Dominican Republic
Working with Save the Children staff in Dominican Republic









Elizabeth will always treasure her
sponsor’s words of inspiration and empowerment – and we thank her for sharing
them, and her story, with all of us.

DSC01130 - Introducing the Regional Neonatal Strategy in Washington, D.C.
Introducing the Regional Neonatal Strategy in Washington, D.C.











“Never underestimate the power of your words

on the life of a child.”

 – Elizabeth Bocaletti, MD, MPH,

Save the Children Advisor, and former sponsored child

DSC03393 - Visiting Save the Children programs in Sinaloa, MexicoVisiting Save the Children programs in Sinaloa, Mexico











Brighten your sponsored child’s day – and future – by writing a letter today.

If you are not already a sponsor, become one today.

What Makes Sponsorship Special to You?

Karisten StrongKaristen Strong, Sponsorship Marketing Associate

Westport, CT

Wednesday, September 1, 2010  

 When you sponsor children through Save the Children, you have the unique chance to change lives and to build relationships with girls and boys in need. One New Jersey family has made sponsorship an integral part of their lives. Kim, Tom, and their daughter Felicity sponsor four children from Egypt, Mali, Nepal, and Haiti.  

The best thing about sponsorship is that the family is connected to the Felicity 2world around them. Kim noted that it allows them to support Save the Children’s programs that work to impact lives and build strong communities. She realizes it takes time to achieve sustainable changes and sponsorship allows her family to remain engaged through these community transformations.   

Felicity, 11, raised over $3,000 in February for Save the Children’s relief efforts in Haiti by selling cookies and she is currently raising funds for our relief efforts for children affected by the flooding in Pakistan through selling pins.  

Kim and Tom instilled their passion for sponsorship in their daughter at a young age. Felicity began writing to her family’s sponsored children when she was just 6. She was encouraged to write to their sponsored  girl in Mali named Korotoumou when she began learning French. Felicity now writes to her family’s sponsored children monthly. “I am very happy and excited when I get a letter,” Felicity says.

Felicity 1
“I’m interested to find out what they are doing, about their cultures and what has happened since I last heard from them—it’s wonderful!” 

In their letters, they share what they are learning in school, stories about their families and pets, and about their favorite activities. 

Felicity’s advice for letter writing—keep it simple! Felicity understands the importance of being involved in sponsorship. She says, “You have to start young and take the time to be part of the close relationship you can gain from giving to others.”   

What makes sponsorship special to you? We’d love to hear from you!