Child requests for money after graduation for University

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Hi There,

I have a quick question. I sponsored a child from Tanzania who recently graduated from the Compassion Program, as he is now 22. He recently found me on social media and has been requesting assistance paying for college. I told him I would possibly look into it, but couldn't promise anything, because i don't understand the university system there, nor do I know that I can afford to pay the total amount.


The student put me in contact with someone from the school who has broken down the costs for the education ($1,600 tuition, room, and board) and told me how to "wire funds" to the University Bank account.

I am still up in the air about whether I will go forward with this or not. Besides the amount of money in general, i am concerned about transferring a large sum of money directly to a University that I don't know, and whether it will actually arrive safely.

Is this something common that past sponsor children ask? Have you heard of any other sponsors wiring money directly to the university? 

Best, 
Andrew
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Andrew Bottom

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Posted 1 year ago

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Elizabeth Pease

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I don't know your financial situation, but this may be a scam that your 'child' has entered into because his relatives or friends have told him to ask you for money, even thought you are not financially obliged to do so.
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Andrew Bottom

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As a young professional living in LA this is quite a lot of money for me. I would like to help, but it makes me very nervous to send that sort of money abroad, and also to be quite frank, to someone who I have not met in person to build a strong relationship. The University in case anyone else has had a similar request from Tanzania, is called Mzumbe, and he says he is at the Mbeya campus. 

Initially, when he contacted me, I thought it was a scam, so i didn't reply because he was quite admit about me helping him out  (I began sponsorship when I was quite young myself, only in Middle School, and as I got older, my parents took over the financial part of the sponsorship, so I actually hadn't communicated with him for quite a few years when he found me on Social Media. One of the very first things he asked me for was for funding, so I was quite turned off to start with. Over the past few months though I have been communicating with him and have been able to get to know him more as a person. So I at least feel now that I have more of a grasp of who he is.

Anyways, just looking to see what other's have experienced out there and what you think. 

-Andrew
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Shannon Massey, Employee

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Hi Andrew,
 
In this very connected, digital age, there is always a possibility that a sponsored child will contact their sponsor, or previous sponsor through email and/or social media. However, Compassion strongly advises that sponsors not respond to the communication. While in the program, the children do agree not to communicate with their sponsors on their own, but rather allow Compassion to help you communicate. However, once they have left the program, there is nothing more that Compassion can do to ensure that they will not contact you. Sadly, these contacts may develop into potentially problematic situations like this one. There is no guarantee that it actually is your child who is trying to contact you, or that what they are telling you is true, even if it is your child.

We have two blog articles on this subject that you may be interested in reading: http://blog.compassion.com/what-should-i-do-if-my-sponsored-child-contacts-me-via-facebook/ and http://blog.compassion.com/why-cant-i-communicate-with-my-sponsored-child-via-facebook/. They do talk a bit more about what to do if your child is still in the program, and you situation is a little different, but they are still very informative. 

Please keep in mind while you make this decision that the likelihood that your child will receive your funds and that they will be used for school fees is very small. You have no proof that this is your child, nor that you are speaking with someone at the university. This child should have been more clear with you while in the program that they needed additional money for school so that you could send a gift through Compassion. I know it may seem hard to say no, because your heart wants to help, but please know the majority of these situations are not genuine. I am so sorry you are placed in this situation. 
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Andrew Bottom

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Hi Shannon,

I appreciate your response. Yes, its been a difficult situation. My sponsor child is now 22, so he  just aged out of the program in Tanzania, which is probably why he (or whomever is chatting) reached out to me directly. He has sent photos of all the old letters and photos that were sent, as well as photos of him supposedly in the university this past year, although some look pretty staged to me. 

Sometimes it seems like a fishy situation and other times it seems totally genuine. It's sort of heartbreaking to say no, but at the same time I feel too uneasy sending money abroad through an unknown wireservice to a random university. And I know if I was someone else on the outside looking in, that I would be very skeptical of the situation.

In general, is there any way that I can get an update on my sponsor child's situation, up until he left the program? I haven't been in contact with Compassion for quite a few years, so I actually don't know much about him at this point (besides what has been sent me recently on social media/Whatsapp through my supposed sponsor child).

Best,
Andrew
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Beth

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Hi Andrew. I am a sponsor, who's kids are still in the Compassion program. I would love to keep in contact with them after they are out but if I do I have already made up my mind that I will not send any financial assistance. One just does not know where the money really would go or how it would be used. (It's the same when you give a cash gift to someone in person. I recently gave $5 to an elderly man in the grocery store who looked like he was adding up what was in his basket to see if he could afford meat. He thanked me profusely, then later when I headed to the checkout I saw his basket of food abandoned in the middle of an aisle. He was nowhere to be seen.) If it were me, I would not send the money. You can still pray for your child.
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Jenny Kim

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I agree. I would avoid sending money once they are out of the program. I know how you feel as he was your sponsored child, but this conversation should have been done while he was in Compassion. Has he ever mentioned in his letter that he has a plan to go to university or mentioned about his future goal before? $1600 is a lot of money. I heard somewhere that if you send a graduation gift then usually children use it to pursue further education.
For me, if I had $1600 to donate then I would sponsor another child in need who needs support. 22 years old is an adult and they can sustain themselves by working as well.

But once again, it's your choice. If you truly believe that this money will go to his university tuition then you could, but I would still avoid paying full tuition for him after he is out of Compassion.
(Edited)
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Beth

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What a great suggestion, Jenny Kim, to instead sponsor another child through Compassion! You would still be pouring into the life of another person, but Compassion would be able to oversee that the funds are used appropriately.
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Sarah, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Andrew, before he left the program, Yonas was studying courses in cooperative management and accounts and from what I see, he finished at least two years of school before he left. Other than that, I don't really have a lot of information on him. Compassion updated the systems we use in the last few years and he left before that. We know that the sponsorship was a beneficial experience for him in deciding what to pursue as a career and being able to do so. He was still living with his mother when he left the program and enjoyed math :).

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