Letter Delivery Party

Did you know there is a World Letter Writing Day? It is celebrated every September 1, and the idea behind this initiative is to encourage the practice of picking up a pen and paper to write a letter to someone special. This might sound archaic in these modern days of texting and social media, but you wouldn’t believe how meaningful receiving a hand-written letter can be for a child.

Save the Children has an initiative called Letter Writing Parties – events organized at local companies in the U.S. to provide employees with the opportunity to learn about Save the Children programs. The occasion also provides a chance to write a letter to a child who doesn’t receive letters regularly from his or her sponsor.

Katerine and her classmates working on artwork for their lettersRecently, we received dozens of these letters in our community near the impact area of Sonsonate in El Salvador, and I had the opportunity to witness a delivery “event.” We gathered two groups of around 20 boys and girls, and we told them we would be hosting a Letter Delivery Party! The children were surprised with all the colorful letters that came to us, and although some of them didn’t understand at first what was happening, they soon learned the letters contained messages of love and care for them. They were happy that someone from far away had taken a bit of his or her time to write a special letter just for them.

“I felt very happy today with the letter I received,” explains nine-year-old Katerine who has never received a letter from her sponsor. “I think if people want to say something important sometimes they write a letter, and when you get the letter they tell you that important thing. On the letters we read today, people wrote about their dogs, daughters, or that they are from Texas.”

In El Salvador, we have more than 12,000 sponsors, but only 1,500 of them write letters. That is more than 10,000 children who don’t get the chance to establish a friendship with his or her sponsor. That’s why the Letter Writing Parties initiative is so important – it gives children who do not regularly correspond with their sponsor an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of sponsorship. “To the person who wrote this letter for me today (his name is Shawn), I want to thank him and tell him that I have a dog named ‘Doggie,’ and a little sister who is three years old,” says Katerine.

Katerine reading a letter from her new friend Shawn

We know it can be difficult to find the time, but we encourage you to pick up a pen and a piece of paper, and send an inspiring message to the little girl or boy you sponsor – we assure you it is worth the extra effort!

Small Words, Big Impact

By: Romy Carol Lima Nina, Sponsorship Assistant

I wish you could see Roberto’s big contagious smile and wide eyes every time he receives a letter from Manisha, his sponsor.  It brings him such joy!

Roberto, who lives in Bolivia, had sponsors previously, but unfortunately, he never received any letters.  When I informed him that he now had a new sponsor, he hoped that this time things would be different.  Luckily they were. Roberto and Manisha began exchanging letters and soon developed a very special friendship.

Most people do not recognize the huge impression a sponsor’s letter can have on a child’s life. In the case of Roberto, the friendship he has with his sponsor is very important to him.  In one letter, Manisha asked Roberto what he wanted to be when he grew up. This simple question really got him thinking and he decided then to work hard and fight for his dream of becoming an architect. Manisha’s response in her next letter encouraged him to move forward and wished him success.

Roberto sharing his dreams with his sponsor Manisha

In a recent letter, Manisha asked Roberto what he wanted to build once he became an architect.  Roberto felt so motivated, because for him this was not such a simple question. He felt that even though Manisha is thousands of miles away — and he has never seen her face-to-face– she cared about his interests, hopes and dreams. Smiling, he replied: “I would like to build a 30-story building.”

Every time I arrive in Roberto’s community, he runs to ask me if I have a letter for him and he tells me he is already learning things about building houses. He started helping his dad and brother who are construction workers. He proudly says: “One day I will build a house for my mom” and makes sure to share all of these experiences with Manisha so she can be proud of him.   

Sponsorship Assistant Romy Carol Lima Nina and Roberto reading a letter to his sponsor

I have known Roberto for the past three years and his smile brightens my day. As a Sponsorship Assistant, I have the opportunity to work with many children in the letter-writing process with their sponsors. I have witnessed many letters that range from very descriptive, to touching and funny. It is motivating to see how even a few small words and phrases like “Hello,” “How are you?” or “What do you want to be when you grow up?” have such a meaningful impact on the lives and in the hearts of these children.

My Sponsor’s Name is Kim

Author Portrait_Maria Rosario Garcia, Sponsorship Communications Coordinator
Maria Rosario Garcia

Sponsorship Communications Coordinator

Save the Children Philippines

August 8, 2017

“My sponsor’s name is Kim,” 6-year-old Maria proudly told me as I spoke to her one day after class. I was visiting her community in South Central Mindanao to deliver the newest letter she had received from her sponsor. She spoke confidently and proudly, and sounded like she knew her sponsor very well.

Maria and her family live in an area where most families do not have the ability to provide three meals a day, have clean drinking water or even a single toy for their children to play with. Her father works as a driver, who is able to come home only on the weekends, while her mother stays at home to take care of Maria and her 9-year-old brother, Zyrich.

Maria smiling in front of her classroom.
Maria smiling in front of her classroom.

Having a sponsor keeps Maria excited about her days. She is eager to share with Kim about her life and about what she is learning in school. People from Maria’s hometown have little mobility to move beyond the community – it is a small and remote village where usually people only travel as far as where they can reach on foot. Her eyes light up with wonder when she reads the letter describing what it is like in the country where her sponsor lives, in the state of Texas in the United States. Hearing stories about the different places in her sponsor’s life has made her realize that the world is bigger than she ever imagined it to be.

She knows there is so much beyond her community now and she awaits for stories about that world in the letters she receives – learning about Kim’s family, her pets and the places she has visited. Maria clearly remembers that she received three letters from her sponsor, each equally exciting and wonderful, over the little over a year she’s been sponsored by Kim. “It makes me happy to know that I have a picture in their house,” she shared smiling, describing the photo all sponsors receive from their sponsored children each year. Maria’s facial expression was more than happy as she continued to tell me that she felt like she’s part of Kim’s family, and that she feels cared for even though they are countries and oceans apart.

After two years of attending our learning programs, Maria is now happily attending her first grade in primary school. These sponsorship supported programs have provided Maria and the other children in her community with reading camps to practice their reading skills with peers, the provision of new learning materials and book banks from which books can now be borrowed, and additional supplies for their schools that enhance literacy and numeracy skills.

Maria now knows how to wash her hands properly, thanks to sponsorship health programs in her school.
Maria now knows how to wash her hands properly, thanks to sponsorship health programs in her school.

Today, Maria says she wants to be a teacher so she can teach more children how to read, write and color pictures as she is so fond of doing! She tells me she cannot wait to share this dream with Kim.

If I were able to meet Maria’s sponsor, I would tell her that she has all the reasons to be proud of Maria. Aside from her astounding progress in school, she is also one of the Child Ambassadors who represents her community in Save the Children’s programs – serving as an embodiment of the achievements her community has been able to implement with sponsorship support.

Sponsorship shares and inspires not just future teachers like Maria, but future doctors, police officers, pilots, veterinarians and more in the over 20 countries where we implement our programs. If you haven’t written to your sponsored child yet, we encourage you to do so! Our experience tells us that letter writing is extremely rewarding for sponsors and children alike – you may help to shape their future dreams!

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

Treasure Box

author-portrait_rosmery-mendoza-villca-sponsorship-operations-assistant

Rosmery Mendoza Villca

Sponsorship Operations Assistant

Save the Children in Bolivia

December 9, 2016

 

What is it like when a sponsored child receives a letter?

Hi, I’m Rosmery and I work as a Sponsorship Operations Assistant for Save the Children in Bolivia. I am very lucky – every day at work I experience beautiful stories of children who receive letters from their sponsors.

I want to share with you Jazmin’s story. She is a ten-year-old girl who has benefited from our Sponsorship programs, such as those that work to improve the quality of education at her school, since 2011. Today, I was able to visit Jazmin at her home in Cochabamba and give her a letter her sponsor had sent her.

 Rosmery will send Jazmin’s letter for her to her sponsor.

Rosmery will send Jazmin’s letter for her to her sponsor.

I could see her bright smile and a twinkle in her eye while she carefully read every word of her friend’s (as many children call their sponsor) letter. I asked her how she felt and she replied, “Very happy. I have a friend with a big heart and she is very important in my life, like my parents are.”

As I watched her get ready to write back, I thought to myself, how would her sponsor feel if she could see her smile and gratitude? Does her sponsor also feel the same way when she reads Jazmin’s letters?

Jazmin with her ‘treasure box’ full of letters, photos and small gifts.
Jazmin with her ‘treasure box’ full of letters, photos and small gifts.

After she finished writing, Jazmin showed me all the letters she had received over the years, that she lovingly stores in the ‘treasure box’ she built, to keep her letters safe and with her.

In one of her letters, her sponsor told her that she came to Bolivia and adopted a little Bolivian girl, just like her! She is all grown up now, and has 3 children of her own, Jazmin told me. We agreed that her sponsor must truly have a really big heart.

For those of us working in Sponsorship, we hope that every sponsored girl and boy could receive notes from their sponsors, so that we are able to bring smiles to their little faces and have more stories like this one.

There are still many people in the world who selflessly help children like Jazmin improve their self-esteem and gain access to a better quality education. We call those people our sponsors. The children call them their friends.

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