Date on my letter

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Hey so...I've been following A lot of the letter fears and complaints worried that their child isn't even the one they are sponsoring and I have had my worries but I've just kept trusting...until today.
I have been sponsoring tigist since April 2016 I already received a introduction letter from her. But I now received another..:with a picture colored by an adult and questions about my family which I send her pictures every letter...I've also written her over 20 times in the past 3 months. And then this. In this new letter I saw a square colored out and I thought that was odd because I wasn't sure what was supposed to be there I assume a picture and the date it 6/9/08....please explain this to me I want to be wrong thank you
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Tanya Springer

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Posted 4 years ago

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Tanya Springer

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it asked what would you like to be when you grow up and on her side in what should be her original language it says doctor as well as volleyball bread etc. and the "translation" is in the bottom right . And on the back the hand writing is completely different Finally Tanya "unknown". I sponsored back in 2012 I've contacted compassion before I believe they truly know my last name which I will call and clarify this letter is making me extremely uncomfortable I hope you guys respond to me

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Jamie Riemersma

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Hi Tanya!

The ladies who monitor this forum will be back to answer your questions after the weekend, but I wanted to try and see if I could help with some of your concerns in the mean time.  I am a sponsor, like you, and have been sponsoring since 2012.

To start with, the date on the letter.  It looks like your child is from Ethiopia, correct?  I did a little research, and it looks like Ethiopia uses a different calendar than we do.  I'm not sure what the day and month would correspond to, but the year they are currently in is 2008.  Here's a link to show you:

2nd, it sounds like you are concerned because she isn't responding to the information you are sending her?  There are several things that could be playing a part in this.  1st, you say you just started sponsoring her in April of this year?  If that is the case, then she probably hadn't received most, if any of the letters you have been so faithfully sending to her at the time she wrote to you!  So, she wouldn't have known about your family, or any of the other things to respond to.  Compassion just rolled out their new letter writing system in April, and it is going to help speed up communication a lot, but there have been a few problems with it, and it's not as good as it's going to get, yet.  Also, keep in mind that she is very young, so it may take a while for her to get the hang of this whole letter writing thing.  She's going to have a tutor helping her for a few years.

It sounds like you received 2 introduction letters from her.  When a child enters the program, even before they get a sponsor, they have the child write an introduction letter so that as soon as a sponsor picks that child they can have a letter ready to send out right away.  If I understand the system correctly, after that letters are sort of automated; meaning they have a program keeping track of when the child needs to write next, printing out any stationary at the time.  Sometimes, computer programs make mistakes.  I actually received 2 intro letters from one of my boys, written several months apart.  I actually liked it, because the 2nd letter provided more information than the first had.

In looking at the letter, I think the square you are refering to is the blue box in the upper corner?  If that is the case, you needn't worry. :)  That colored corner is on all of compassion's stationary.  It's sort of a trade symbol for compassion.  Here's a bit from the webpage explaining it, and the link to the page:

"We debuted the blue corner in 2007 when we wanted a distinguishable marker to consistently tie our work together and communicate who we are and what we value. The Blue Corner is a device that serves to continually remind us to always “leave a corner.” To remind us of who we are and what we do as advocates for children in poverty, that all of us need to, at all times, leave a corner for the poor."

Okay, it also sounds like you might be concerned because the front of the letter is written in english?  I'm not positive, but I believe English is a major language in Ethiopia.  While Tigist may not speak it yet, she's probably going to be learning it in school, and the staff at the compassion center probably know it.  I'm guessing from looking at it that they may have started writing the letter with one tutor, and perhaps a 2nd finished helping her with it, since the handwriting, and the pen color on the front and the back are different.

The picture on the back looks to me to have been colored by a 4 year old. ;)  At least, that's what my nieces pictures usually look like when she's done with them.  It looks like they might have stamps or something of that sort that the adults put the outline in with, and then had Tigist color them in for you.  I like that idea.  My youngest sponsor kids usually send me squiggles.

And finally, your last name listed as 'unknown'.  That is something that started with the new letter writing system.  Don't worry, compassion knows your name.  I'm not sure if they are going to change that or not, but as far as I know, that is happening for all sponsors right now.

I hope that helps a little.  Sorry it got to be so long.

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Debbie Skacel Tovar

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I didn't realize right away that this had been answered, but smiled when I saw the date.  Yup, it's an Ethiopian date.  While you are waiting for letters to come, you might want to look up some Ethiopian culture.  They are kind of in a world to themselves :)  Dates and all.  I have been sponsoring with Compassion for about seven years, and yes, the kids are real.  I am now communicating with a few of my graduated kids.  All three of the ones I communicate with regularly have finished college, and are successful Christian members of their countries.  Have you been on your online account?  Under "write a letter' it would show if you have any new letters coming.  As mentioned above, there is a new letter writing system, and at least with Ethiopia, I know, there have been some problems.  It may show that many of your 20 letters haven't been through translation yet, and are just sitting there waiting.  While the best part of sponsoring is writing and getting letters, you might want to slow down on the letter writing a bit at least until the system is working well.  The children usually only get their letters once a month, and if most of those letters haven't gone through yet (I have two to one girl in Ethiopia sitting there for over a month), this little girl might be hit with 20 letters all at one time.  There is no way the tutor is going to be able to answer all the questions you probably asked.  Don't worry, the kids know you love them :)  If you are really into writing, which it seems you are, you might want to ask for a correspondence kid or two. That would be where you write a child that is either sponsored by a company or an individual that isn't able to write, and you are the one that writes to them.  All you have to do is request that on here, and the ladies will set it up for you.  Many people have visited their kids in the different countries, so believe me, the kids really do exist :)
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Tanya Springer

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Thank you guys so much! I am so happy my concerns were just ignorance because I really believe in compassion and what it stands for and was getting weary because of all the concerning questions people were asking so thank you guys so much for all your information and help
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Sarah, Official Rep

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I am so glad some of our long time, very faithful sponsors were able to answer your concerns while our staff were out over the weekend, Tanya! Everything they said was correct :). If you still have further concerns, please do let us know! You are an important and valued sponsor to our ministry, and we cannot thank you enough for the amount of love and concern you have already had for Tigist! 
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Everyone has answered super well and I just want to confirm all of that. Ethiopia is on the Gregorian calendar. It's 2008 there =) The cool thing is that I just got back from Ethiopia a week ago and while there, I was able to meet my sponsored children. They are real, they are receiving the benefits of the Compassion program, and they love you deeply. My boy Tariku was struggling in school due to vision impairment. My $38 a month has transformed this because Compassion got him set up with an optician and he now has glasses (with those fancy lenses that turn into sunglasses! Even I don't have those!) so don't worry, the needs of your child are being covered, things you don't even know are needed!
English is spoken by most of the project directors as well as Amharic (the national language) and any of the dozens of tribal languages in their area, so please don't be concerned about the multitude of languages and different handwriting. I promise you, your little one is receiving care you don't even know is needed.

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