Child hasn't responded to info sent in letters ever. All letters from child are generic. Is he even getting them?

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We have sponsored a child for years. We get the same type of letter every year regardless of the letters we have sent, the child often asks us to send pictures even though we have. They never answer questions we have asked. In my last letter I said that I was concerned our letters weren't reaching him so I wanted him to address questions and info I specifically sent. Still, we just received a general letter that had my husbands name but could have been sent to anyone. The child is older and certainly able to respond. I am close to canceling our payments since in all the years we have sponsored the child has never acknowledged our letters. Anyone else with this concern? Any way to know if the child is really getting the letters or the money?
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Posted 1 year ago

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Photo of Jennifer


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Greetings: I am a sponsor like both of you. I am an ardent supporter of Compassion and its programs, yet can also understand how some people get frustrated. I have had the privilege of meeting several of my children as well as seeing Compassion's programs in action, and am very much impressed with the life skills given and the love the centers have for the children. Meeting the children allowed me to confirm what I've gleaned from the letters of their personalities, and see how grateful they are.

As for the letters I get, they are very hit and miss. Large chunks of lots of the letters are generic, particularly the ones from certain regions that have an oral vs written tradition. I imagine the kids sitting in their classroom on letter writing day and sometimes wanting to express gratitude and other days just wanting to get it done and copying the board. Having met them, one is very sweet but perhaps not wildly creative, so her words are simple but yet I know they have something behind them. Another is feisty and tough and probably not one to spill her emotions out on the page. Another is quiet and wasn't a big talker -- so he doesn't have much to say in the letters either.

When I was a teen, a friend and I decided that the children we babysat were going to be penpals because they had the same name. I tried to help my boy write a letter and it was like pulling teeth. This smart, funny boy full of personality was just not into it and had no idea what to say.

To summarize, the letter quality is greatly impacted by the culture and the personalities and the interests of the children themselves. From my experience, it doesn't mean that they don't hold you in high regard, and it doesn't mean that the program isn't having a massive impact on their lives. If you are able to look past that you are not getting great letters, I hope you will consider contimuing for the benefit of the kids. When I think to the future and where I'll sponsor next, I know I'll have to give up good letters in order to pick the place where I think my sponsorship will have the greatest impact.

One last thought -- on our trip we found out that the children struggle with the same thoughts. In many cases they, also, struggle with whether their sponsors are real, particularly the ones who don't write!

I hope my experience is somewhat helpful to you. Blessings!
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Sarah Heacock Schreffler

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Interesting. I have often wondered if the children wonder if we are real. IF some of the pleas to come visit are so they can confirm for themselves that we actually exist.
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I suspect that applies more to the kids who don't get letters! (But who are still expected to write them!)
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Richard Despres

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I to had my frustrations with the letters. How many times do we read here how important the letters are to the children. My first two kids both from Haiti. A boy and a girl within a couple years of each other. Ranging from 6 to 8 years old. I wasn't the most disciplined on my end but did manage to write and send pictures a couple times a year. I received the same generic letters in return. Many times asking the same questions over again. On one or two occasions there might be a sentence with a personal touch to it. When they were both in there teen years I just accepted and visioned a very orderly setting in which letters were written. Assuming the individual leading it felt it more important that a letter was written every so many months versus its content.
I received a very nice surprise after that. I don't know if there was a substitute that letter writting day or what. Both kids managed to pour there hearts there dreams and gratitude out in these letters. I was wonderfully shocked. I had to keep going over everything to make sure this was from them. It only happened once during there time in the program. Still gives me goose bumps today when I hunt the letters up and re read them.
I have to add one of them later contacted me on Facebook. He was about 2 years out of the program at that time. He was going to school for business, and learning new languages. All in all I couldn't be prouder of him. Talking to him was like speaking to my own sons. So gracious and full of hopes and don't get discouraged. I have found every country is different in how things such as letter writting are handled. Keep those insperational and up beat letters flowing to the kids. They really do matter to them. Remember we are doing this to fulfill the Great Commission. Very easy to get lost in your own thoughts and feelings when it appears so one sided at times.
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Sierra, Employee

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This is such an awesome testimony, Richard! Thank you so much for sharing. :) Those letters absolutely make a difference in the lives of these children, whether we see the benefits of them right away or not!

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