What is a great amount to send for a birthday gift?

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I am new to this, and one of my sponsor children has a birthday next month (early May). In a panic, I sent $25 before looking at the gift catalog. Is that enough for him to get a birthday toy or should I send more? I do plan to send his family a goat next month, but did not want the goat to be a birthday gift. I want to make sure I sent enough for him to be gifted something he will truly love, without it being so much it makes the other children jealous. When looking at the gift catalog, and saw that a Bible (for example) was $100, it made me nervous that a mere $25 is just not enough to make his birthday special. Also, who will pick out his gift, and is it based on what he likes? Will he get the option to pick out his own toy? And finally, will I get anything back telling me what he actually got?
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Jennifer P Hinson

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Posted 3 years ago

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Jenny Kim

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What country is your child from?
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Jennifer P Hinson

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the particular child in question (in this case---I sponsor 2) is from Rwanda. 
I also have one with a bday in June, and after reading through this forum, I am worried that you have to send gifts/cards months in advance for them to get them on their birthday, I would like to include her country as well to get your opinion. She is in East Indonesia. 
The more I have read, I feel like I definitely shortchanged him---I see other forum posts stating they sent anywhere from $50-$100. I based my gift amount off what a typical good toy in the US would cost. But I would like honest feedback if it is not enough (it will not hurt my feelings---I am willing to send more but I am new to all of this)
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Jenny Kim

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I think $25 is good to start with and you can send more in the future if you'd like :)
I personally like to send large family gifts than birthday gifts because a family gift gives benefits to a whole family.  Here is the link to how much things cost in Rwanda and East Indonesia. I think it will be good to make judgement based on these prices. I hope this helps!

Rwanda:
https://support.compassion.com/compassion/topics/how_much_do_things_cost_in_rwanda
East Indonesia:
https://support.compassion.com/compassion/topics/is_there_a_reference_page_for_the_cost_of_living_ag...
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Garry Sagel

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Jennifer, $25 buys a lot more in any of the countries where Compassion is, than it does here. They will be able to buy more than just a toy, although it is unlikely they will buy a toy. Typically, the student center coordinator and family will talk and determine what they could buy that would be of the most value. About the time frame, gifts don't take as long to get to the kids as letters. There is no translation necessary, and the money is sent electronically. 
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Jennifer P Hinson

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Thank you---it makes me sad that they have to base their birthday gifts on what will be better for their family over themselves---but it gives me a greater appreciation of our lives here. I might call in tomorrow, to see if there is a way that I can give a family gift as well so that he can truly use the $25 for something enjoyable for himself. Thank you again!
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Jennifer P Hinson

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Jenny, Thank you so much for putting forth the effort to link those for me---that helps so much
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Mr. & Mrs.Hughes

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In addition to what Gary said, I think you have misread the catalog. One Bible is 10.00. 100.00 would buy 10 Bibles. So that ten children could get new Bibles. The children receive new Bibles periodically throughout their time in compassion. Actually, 25.00 is a very good amount. I sent 10.00 to each of my children for both birthday and Christmas. One family bought food, one bought,"beautiful tennis shoes so she can go to school beautiful."
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Jennifer

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It is a little strange to our ears that the children would not buy something fun for themselves, but that is a reflection of our relative wealth and our culture. We just don't approach things the same way, but there are a lot of parts of the world where it is more natural to share than it is for us -- so being able to help provide for the family would make them happy rather than sad. For the most part when I've given gifts there is always something in there for the child: an outfit, or some cookies or candy if they are buying food. It also depends on the location: my African families have always bought food, clothing, or income-generating items, plus once a bike. There has never been anything frivolous. The Central American family has not bought anytjing frivolous, but the items more ressemble things we are used to, since the cultures are more similar.
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Garry Sagel

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I have visited my Guatemala and Colombia kids numerous times, and to be honest, toys isn't even something you see that can be purchased, in most cases. In Guatemala City, they have Walmart, and you can get about anything you can here. But, in the villages spread out over the rest of the country, for the most part, practical items is what you will find for sale. You may find small toys, like Yo Yos and the like. Visiting Colombia, I have been in a couple small malls. I wasn't specifically looking for toys, but I don't recall seeing many. I was in Guatemala a couple years ago visiting two kids I sponsor, through another ministry. I was there the week of Melany's 6th birthday. I asked her mom what I could get for her, expecting her to say clothing, shoes or something else practical. She said they didn't have the money for birthday cakes, pinatas, etc. So I took mom and her aunt to the store, and we got a pinata, candy, and I ordered a cake from a local baker. They had Melany's cousins get the word out, and we had a huge party for her and about 40 kids. Things we take for granted here, are not available, for economic reasons in these countries. 
(Edited)
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Beth

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Garry, thank you for sharing your experiences of child visits! I have several children in Guatemala, and always like to learn more of what it is like there. I know one of my children bought a birthday cake with the money I sent one time, but I have also seen the money buy clothes or food. Only occasionally a toy, but that is fine with me.
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Beth

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Garry, thank you for sharing your experiences of child visits! I have several children in Guatemala, and always like to learn more of what it is like there. I know one of my children bought a birthday cake with the money I sent one time, but I have also seen the money buy clothes or food. Only occasionally a toy, but that is fine with me.
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Chantel

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Jennifer, gifts purchased through the gift catalog do not go directly to your Sponsor child. Those gifts go to any child whose family would benefit from the gift. This is because some gifts, such as a goat, may not be a practical one for your child's specific living conditions/situation. You can give a monetary family gift and make suggestions as to what it be used for but ultimately someone at your child's Project will sit down with the family, help them determine what their particular needs are, and spend the money that way.
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Mr. & Mrs.Hughes

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Garry, that explains why my just turned five years old in Guatamala was so proud to get food and a cake to share with his family for his birthday. Thanks for helping us understand.

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