Not hearing from Ethiopia

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  • Updated 4 years ago
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I have many children in Ethiopia.  None of them are following letter writing guideline of 6 per year (I write about 2 times a month). Most of them are only writing twice a year.  Since I cannot inquire until after 6 months there is no way the number of letters I receive from them will ever increase despite the supposed guideline.  It is hard not to be discouraged...I barely hear from them.  And when I tried to start an inquiry after not hearing from one girl for over 6 months I was told to wait another month.  That does not make sense to me.  I know I am not the only one with issues getting letters from Ethiopia.  Why isn't there more being done about it?  It has been a problem for years.  When OurCompassion was around I know a lot of people mentioned it.  If anything it has gotten worse, not better.  I will never give up on supporting Ethiopia, but it would be nice if they actually followed the guidelines about the letters.  How are sponsors supposed to connect with their child? I love Compassion and love my kids, so my criticism is out of concern not anger or spite.  I would just like to be able to know my Ethiopian children as well as my others.  Thank you.
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Joseph

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Posted 5 years ago

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Laura Allen

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I completely understand where you're coming from, and I feel the same way.  I hear from my one child (correspondent) in Ethiopia less frequently than most, if not all, of my others.  I have heard from other sponsors that have the same problem with their child(ren) in Ethiopia.  With all of the concerns/complaints, surely Compassion must be looking into this.  I posted about this a couple of weeks ago ("Ethiopia project not following letter guidelines?"), and you can read the response from Compassion there, if you are interested.  I'll be following your post.  Blessings to you and your Compassion kids!
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Denise Bailey

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My first sponsored older gal in Ethiopia and I had such a wonderful connection for the three years I sponsored her that when she graduated I added 8 more and my experience was much different . Most were older so they graduated within five years. I still have three and although I don't hear from them real often I am very happy with them. Do you have any in Addis Ababa? I have a friend there that I am sure would be willing to go visit them and ask them questions for you and SEND you pictures! Hee ias an LDP grad and an amazing friend to sponsors!
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Laura Allen

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Denise, my little Samuel is in ET505, and the nearest major city is Addis Ababa.  Do you think your friend would be willing and able to do that for my child, or were you only offering that for Joseph?  I don't want to presume anything, but I'd be thrilled if it would work out!  :) 
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Denise Bailey

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Laura, are you on Facebook and a member of the Compassion Sponsors/Correspondents Facebook Forum?
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Denise Bailey

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Laura, yes. He is a wonderful Christian man! He even went to see one of my graduates from Compassion that I can now be in contact with again!! Are you on Facebook?
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Laura Allen

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Sorry, I was not able to get to this over the weekend, but you found me on FB, so thanks! :)
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Mellanie McCreary

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Denise, I can never find that page to join it, I only see closed groups with like 25 members. How can I find it? :)


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Denise Bailey

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Melanie, I will let someone know to add you.  I can't add you or I would.  Hopefully it will happen very soon!

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Denise Bailey

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Watch for an email, I invited you, Jennifer said she just has to approve it which she will do now.
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Teresa Dawn

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I had an inquiry out about my girl after not getting a first letter for 6 months (I've gotten that letter now).  This was the response I got from Compassion Canada last week:
"They have also apologized for the delay in receiving her first letter, and advised that although the Ethiopian office has transitioned over to the new reciprocal letter writing system up to 6 letters per year, there was a glitch with their computer system which resulted in this delay. This has now been rectified so you should see an improvement in the time that you are receiving letters back."

So, I'm hoping it's solved now and we'll start to hear from this country more
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Emily

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Joseph, I am very sorry to hear that you have not had a positive experience with writing to your children from Ethiopia and for the disappointment you're feeling. We understand the letter writing process can be frustrating.  I appreciate your desire to know your children more and for the commitment you have made to bless each of your children with letters even though you have not received consistent correspondence in return. 

Each child in our program is different and has a unique personality. Some children love
letter writing while it takes a little more encouragement to get other children to write their sponsors. After receiving this concern from several sponsor's, we contacted our department that communicates with our centers directly and oversees our centers in various parts of the world, including Ethiopia. We wanted to see if this was an issue that needed to be addressed to the country as a whole, but we found that this issue is only related to specific projects. Because of this we have decided to address these issues case by case, and not on a widespread global scale. As these issues come up, we are happy to contact our field staff in that child's project and research further why these guidelines are not being followed and request further training for our project workers to assist the children in writing letters to their sponsor's. You're correct that our policy says that each child is required to write twice a year if they do not receive consistent letters but if their sponsor writes frequently (as it sounds like you write very often), the child is required to reply to each letter for up to six letters per year. We want to ensure that these guidelines are being followed by each project as we want your sponsorship experience to be a positive one and we understand the impact that letter writing makes on a child's life.

Regrettably, I was unable to locate your account by your name or email address. Please post one of your child's reference numbers in this forum and I would love check and see if you have a letter from any of your children on its way to you! I would be happy to review your account and each of your individual children's letter history with you. If necessary, I will certainly contact our field staff in your child's project and make sure that child is doing okay, but more importantly I will inquire further about how the specific project has been handling letters with your child and if there is a reason that your child is not writing you more frequently. I understand how frustrating it is to have to send an inquiry once much less, multiple times with concerns about letter writing but thank you so much for your understanding and patience with us. In the near future, we are looking forward to having a quicker and easier process for sending and receiving letters that we pray improves the correspondence with your children.  Again, I truly appreciate the time you take to write each child as often as you do and the energy you put into making each one feel loved and special!
(Edited)
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Joseph

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Emily, thank you very much for your reply. I appreciate it very much. I am not using my regular name & email on this forum because I received some unwanted contact (from other users, not Compassion) when I did that in the past. So that was why you couldn't locate my acct through this name and email.  Sorry for any trouble that caused.  The child I mentioned in my original post here I was told just yesterday that a letter is finally on the way from her. It has been 7 months or more though so I still wonder why it took so long, but of course I'm glad it is on the way now. Her number is ET5420165.  Another child that has only written twice in the last 16 months is ET5300171.  Thank you for your kindness and attention in the matter. I appreciate it.
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Joseph

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Hi again, first off I thank you for your help addressing my original post. You were very kind and helpful and I appreciated it a lot. In looking back over my letters received this year I still feel like Ethiopia has a letter issue though. I know you said it didn't seem like a country wide issue, but was specific projects having issues. I was wondering how many other sponsor/correspondents see this as a country issue too though? I write to 9 children/teens in Ethiopia all at different projects. None of them have written more than twice this year (and 1 is once, one is zero,but she's only been mine since July so I know that'll be the reason given on her). Every other child/teen I've written to in every other country for the last 3-4 years has written more than that. I know this is just my experience, but I wanted to share concern again that it seemed a bigger issue than just a few projects. Sorry if I seem like a complainer, I really do just care a lot about these children and wish I could know them a little better and know if they are okay and attending their centers. Thank you for listening and wish you a very merry Christmas.
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Joseph, it looks like we emailed you a scanned copy of a new letter from Gelila earlier this month. I hope that you received this letter. That said, I know that your concern was not about just one letter but the overall lack of consistency. Please know that we have spoken with the staff at Gelila's center and asked that they have her write more frequently from now on.

You may remember me from OurCompassion, as I was helping to manage the page when it was still in existence. When this concern was first raised on OurCompassion, I contacted my colleagues here in my office who help oversee Ethiopian operations and who make sure that everything is going smoothly and above board. I had wondered, as you do, whether there was an overall problem with correspondence in Ethiopia, because I had heard it from quite a few people on OurCompassion. My colleagues assured me that there was no overarching problem with correspondence in Ethiopia. I know that it may seem like quite a few sponsors are complaining about lack of letters from Ethiopia. However, when you consider that we have hundreds of centers in Ethiopia, each with several hundred children, and then we have less than one-hundred children who are not writing the correct number of letters per year but are writing, you see that for the most part letter writing is going well in Ethiopia. For this reason, we have decided to deal with this issue on a case-by-case basis with specific children who likely have very specific things going on in their lives that are causing them to not write as frequently as we would like them to.

Thanks again for your patience and understanding with this issue. I am so sorry that you have continued to pour love and encouragement into these children in Ethiopia and you are not feeling like you are getting much back. I will encourage you that your children receive each and every letter and they make such a difference in their lives whether or not they are able to communicate that to you.   
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Teresa Dawn

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I had inquired in late Sept as I hadn't heard in over 6 months from my ET girl.  That was with Compassion Canada (I'm Canadian so she's on my Canadian account).  about 6 weeks later they said they'd heard back that there was some glitch in Ethiopia's computer system or something and it was fixed now.  Since then I've received 4 letters from my ET girl.  
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Joseph

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Teresa, I'm curious, if you don't mind, could you tell me what project # your girl is in? I was just wondering if it was the same as any of mine. Thanks!
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Teresa Dawn

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i was told it was fixed at the country level, but shes in et431
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Joseph

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Thank you very much Susan for your kind reply. I do understand what you are saying. I worry I come across as complaining; though honestly I'm just concerned about the children I write because I do care about them a lot. And I've had a heart for Ethiopia for years; when I am able to financially sponsor again I do think Ethiopia will be my choice, so please don't think I'm a detractor in any way. I think Compassion is a great org and I feel blessed to be some small part of it. Thanks for taking time to answer me.
And thank you Teresa as well. I'm very happy for you that you heard from your girl more. I wonder if other centers had the same'glitch' you spoke of.

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