letter writing queries

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What dimensions should any attached gifts be? And can my child in Thailand read in English or is it not worth sending books in English? I was thinking of sending a manga bible as it's full of wonderful pictures, but I don't think they have translated it into Thai yet, and I didn't know if it would be too big. Would it be better to donate to the program and let them but the books?
Also, how often should I write? Should I wait until I receive a letter, or just keep sending them?
Is there restrictions on what kind of paper I should write on? I write a lot of letters so generally like to use nice papers, but they don't exactly have a separate space for translating. Should I insert extra pages for translation, or just use the templates? I really like to hand write them though ^^
Also, are there any recommendations for culturally acceptable books? I'd love to send something like the Narnia series on installments but I'm not sure that particular series would make much sense across cultures. Are there any good Thai Christian books or fairy tales etc that you would recommend (and links as to where to buy them?)

I know it's a lot of questions sorry, but I sent my first letter off the other day and I think I might have done it wrong ^^ I put in a hologram bookmark and I'm not sure if that will get past customs. Whoops.
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Fairlight Williams

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Posted 6 years ago

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Teresa Dawn

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I don't work for Compassion, other than as an advocate, but they are closed for the weekend so I'll answer what I can :)

The dimensions to send are 8.5"x11" and no more than 1/4 inch thick.  Usually books will not go through as they are too thick, and also "resellable." If it's not too thick, it's best to take the cover off so it can't be stolen and resold.  (I think if you don't remove it, Compassion might when it gets to their office.)  I do know people that have sent books by taking them apart and sending one chapter at a time in seperate letters and they've gone through.  (Including the Narnian series and the kids enjoyed them!  Narnia is pretty widely translated and it's possible to find it in many of the kids first languages)
But yes, that much text will not be translated.  I don't have any kids in Thailand, so I'm unsure if they learn English in school or not. 

As for how often you should write, that differs.  The average amount of letters a child receives is 2 a year, but I find that once a month works great for building up a good relationship with your child :) You definitely don't have to wait until you hear from your child, and you'll hear more often if you write more :) The kids are required to write only 2x per year if they don't get a letter from you.  If you DO write, they send an additional reply letter every 60 days, provided they had a letter from you within those 60 days. 
If you want to use your own paper, go ahead!!!  Just be sure to write your name, sponsor ID, and the child's full name and ID# at the top.  (Also write on this on additional items you send. ) If you enjoy writing, there's also a correspondent program so you can sign up to receive a child whose sponsor doesn't want to/is unable to write.  (For example, kids that are sponsored by large companies can be assigned to you as your child.  You write to them, but someone else covers the financial aspect of the sponsorship.)  At the moment there is a long waiting list for kids to correspond with, so it could take anywhere from days - a few months to be assigned a child, but it's well worth it :)  Just email or phone Compassion to be put on the waiting list.
As for the hologram bookmark, if it's paper it should go through, if not, I'm not sure.  It seems to be hit and miss with a few items.  Compassion will inform you if it doesn't make it through though, so if you don't hear from them, then you can assume the child received it. 

There's a forum we have set up if you are insterested. : http://childsponsorship.boards.net/  It's a board for exchanging letter ideas, talking about our kids etc :)
(Edited)
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Emily

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Hi Fairlight! Thank you so much for already reaching out to your child! Each letter that you send inspires, encourages, and motivates your child so please write as often as you would like! Teresa is right on target with the information she gave you so I am so glad that she was able to answer your questions while we were gone this weekend! In regards to your child writing in English; many of the children learn English at school. Your child may or may not know English already. If he doesn't know English, he will write in his language and the letters will be translated in country before being sent to you. My young girl in Indonesia was 9 when she began writing her own letters to me but they were in her own language. She is now 11 years old and is writing in beautiful English! It certainly just depends on the child and the teachers that they have. Our staff does work very hard to assist your child in improving their letter writing skills. Anything you send will also be translated in country into your child's language and dialect so that they are able to understand what you gave to him including your letters, coloring pages, stories, etc.  You may be creative in the items you send to your child as long as they are made of paper due to strict regulations in customs. Enjoy writing to your child and please let me know if you have further questions! :) 

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