Concerns over letters

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I’m a little concerned over my letter writing. I understand compassion is a great organization but also that there is the possibility of corruption in these countries. I have been sponsoring my child for years and the letters I receive are mostly from my child’s aunt. And when my child does write, the letters are very generic. I have been willingly sponsoring for years but my red flags were raised after the most recent couple of letters. I started thinking that there has never been a mention of anyone in my family even though I have a son that is the same age (11) along with a daughter. I constantly send pictures but there has never been any mention or personalized response. I get that kids may be behind But I can’t help shake the feeling that something’s not right. Obviously, I am happy to sponsor but is there a way I can get some assurance that my money is actually going to my child instead of somewhere else? Can compassion actually check to see if everything is on the up and up at the school my money is going? Because at this point I am considering stopping my sponsoring. If something doesn’t feel right, it usually means it’s not.
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Posted 1 month ago

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Sarah Heacock Schreffler

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You might also check the translation. I recently got a letter where at the beginning my child told me "I give you congrats for everything you have achieved with your child" then, at the end "Do you have any children?"  -- Which seemed... off. But when you look at the Spanish I saw the last question was "Tienes mascotas" -- IE do you have any pets.  Which makes a lot more sense .

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Compassion will answer you soon, I am sure. As a sponsor who has had the privilege to meet a few sponsored children, I can tell you that they were quite recognizable and I was very impressed with the detail in their records. I don't want to make light of your question, as it is clearly causing you concern, but one thing we learned on our sponsor tour was that the children, also, often question if their sponsors are real! I think, like sponsors, some children put more effort into things than others, but it is a great program with a lot of amazing training given to the kids in all the years they are there.
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Shannon Massey, Employee

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Hi Steve, 

Thank you so much for reaching out regarding your letters. I am so sorry to hear that the lack of personable letters and information has been causing you to question Compassion and even consider cancelling. 

Please know that we understand the challenges of correspondence between a sponsor and their child. This is due in part to distance, time and cultural differences. In addition, letter writing is a foreign concept to developing countries. Sometimes the staff will write a list of suggestions or letter samples on the board to help the children in their letter writing. This is one reason letters can sound scripted or unoriginal; out of a deep desire to communicate with their sponsors, children will copy the samples or follow the list word for word; or even in your case, the tutor will make suggestions of what to write and the child will just agree in an attempt to have a nice letter for their sponsor. I see your child is 12 years old, so they are probably starting to write on their own, but it may take too long for him to write a whole letter, so he just asks the staff to help. Also, remembering what sponsors ask can be difficult for some children. Most children treasure their letters from their sponsors and will take them home and put them in a place of honor. Regrettably, this means that they often forget to bring the letter back to the project on the next letter writing day and cannot remember what you asked them specifically. 
Moreover, children are required to write two times a year to their sponsors. Many do this and never once receive a letter back from their sponsor. The best way to get to know your sweet boy is to write. The more you write to him, the more comfortable and open he will be in his letters back to you. In your next letter to Woldy, you may want to highlight your questions. Try keeping them simple and to the point and this will help draw his attention and our staff's attention to these questions. 
Lastly, we truly appreciate your care and support of this sweet young man. We want you to know that each center we work with receives a yearly audit where we do monitor and track that our staff is is being good stewards of Compassion and the funds that God has given them through loving sponsors like you.