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Questions about child sponsorship

Frequently asked questions about sponsoring a child

How much does it cost to sponsor a child?
We ask for a minimum donation of £20 a month for new sponsors. Many donors give £25 or £30 a month.

Will this cost rise as the child grows up?
In general if the cost of sponsorship rises we tell donors. However, existing donors may carry on paying their existing rate unless the difference becomes too great.

Where does the money go?
100% of the sponsorship money received goes towards the expenses of the village where the child lives and our projects in that location (such as support programmes for AIDS orphans still in their own villages). Since children live with an SOS mother in families of around 10 children, we do not split budgets down child by child; however, where sponsors give additional gifts to the child for christmas or birthdays we ensure that this money is used for that specific child (we accept financial donations, which are put into a savings account for that specific child).

So how do you pay for your costs, newsletters, information etc.?
Where people pay for sponsorship through payroll giving etc., so that the tax is already reclaimed, we cover the costs of sponsorship from our general funds. Where people pay us directly, and giftaid their donation, we can reclaim this tax and the tax is used to pay for the costs of sponsorship for them and others.

May we write to and visit the children we sponsor?
We always welcome letters to the children and the children always like getting letters. We can also help with translations, where necessary. However, we do not make children reply to every letter or write a thankyou letter for every gift. Some children do so themselves and sometimes they correspond frequently with sponsors, especially if they speak the same langauge.

We have thought a lot about this, and realise in general that this is the polite thing to do in English society. But our primary concern is the welfare and happiness of the child and we would like the child to feel the love and support they are getting is unconditional. Also a mother with ten children to care for does not always have the chance to sit down with each one and help them write a letter.

It is also possible to visit the village, although we do not wish to turn our villages into a kind of zoo - the privacy of all the children in our care and their right to a normal upbringing will always remain our priority.

Can we choose the child we sponsor?
Basically, no. There are privacy issues involved in sending out details of children to potential sponsors. You can tell us what particular type of child you would like to sponsor (boy, girl, approximate age) and you can choose which village around the world you would like them to live in. If you would like to sponsor a special needs child (we have quite a few children physically impaired by polio or land mines etc.) you can talk to us and we will see which children are available. Also if for some reason the first child you are sent is not suitable, we will try to help.

What religion will my sponsored child be?
We bring up children in the prevailing religion of their country until they are old enough to make decisions themselves. If you would like to sponsor a Roman Catholic child, a Protestant child or a Hindu child for example, then we have many children available for sponsorship in countries where each is the national religion. Although many of our sponsors and people who work for us are religious and we treat religion very seriously, we do not try to introduce different religions or cultures into a region. In general we respect the local culture in its entirety: there are only a very small number of exceptions to this (we prohibit physical punishment of children even if local culture and law allows it).

SOS classroom Mali

In general, you can choose the country in which you wish to sponsor a child, or you can leave us to direct you towards a country with the greatest need. At present we have eight villages which are in particular need of sponsors; Dassa-Zoumé in Benin, San Vicente in El Salvador, Kankan in Guinea, Gabú in Guinea Bissau, Imzouren in Morocco, Tete in Mozambique, Ziguinchor in Senegal and Kitwe in Zambia. You can find our more about these villages on our villages in need of support page.

Read some testimonials from child sponsors and find out more about being a sponsor. We also have some discussion on the idea of a sponsor.

Sponsor online here

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