What are the reasons why some children don't have last names?

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I have several children who don't use last names, and I was told that some centers choose not to give out that information.  I am fine with that, but just recently while browsing through unsponsored children, I found four at a center one of my children attends.  My boy doesn't use a last name, but all four of these (looks like newly registered children) do have last names.

Is it more of a case that it is something left up to the parents?  Could their have been a policy change at my boy's center?  Does my boy actually not have a last name?

I'm just curious why my boy isn't using a last name, but other children at his center are.
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Jamie Riemersma

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Posted 4 years ago

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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Hi Jamie! Most of our centers use school and official records for the names that we keep on file for each child. If centers ever do not share information, it is for child protection reasons (i.e. the information is sensitive and the child has not given permission to share that type of information with their sponsor). We take these types of situations and protecting our children very seriously. However, I can't imagine that a child's name would be so sensitive that we wouldn't share it and I have never heard of the centers keeping this type of information from sponsors. 

I do know that many other cultures do not use last names or surnames like we do in the West. Many names in Africa are actually tribal names and might be listed first or last. They would have a personal name along with their tribal name. People within the same family may not have the same "last" name but it could be dependent on whether it is a girl or a boy, birth order, etc. 

Having an initial within one's name is quite common in Indian culture and it is typically the first letter of the child's father's first name. For example, M. Helen Esther is the name of an unmarried young lady. Her father's first name is Moses. When she marries, she becomes M. Helen Pandian, thereby keeping her father's initial but taking her husband's name as well. The abbreviated initial may appear at the beginning or end of a child's name. 


I believe there are other cultural reasons for different naming practices in other places of the world as well, but I've given a few examples. 

(Edited)
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Jamie Riemersma

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Thank you so much for the information Susan.  That helps me understand what may be going on a little better.

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