It's true, it happened to a friend of a friend of mine...

Losing our sponsored child...

, posted: 25-May-2008 16:19

It's really sad when your relationship with a sponsored child ends. The first time it happened was with World Vision. We had sponsored a child for several years, and I don't know if they still do it, but at that time the community you lived in sponsored one community overseas. Well, sort of like that, it wasn't a legal requirement or anything...

Our young man was from India. I actually never wrote to him, we had small children of our own and I never knew what to say. (A common thing, no doubt.) When we went back to Australia, we 'took him' with us. We wouldn't like to stop sponsoring a certain child, it would seem like abandonment to me.

Well, the community we sponsored became self-supporting. Good for them, but we no longer sponsored this young man. So, we never said hello, we never said goodbye. I had hoped to be able to put him through uni if such a thing were possible.

Mind you, a friend of mine has a sponsored child, now a woman, in Thailand, and has visited her, as she is a seasoned travellor. This young woman went to uni, and my friend paid for it, but it was very expensive, and she feels the young woman only went because it was expected of her. It's a hard call, I guess.

Anyway, earlier this year, I noticed we hadn't got a photo of one of our sponsored children from Rwanda. We had two in the same village. I got two photos, but not the third. (The other is in Uganda, and is very clever, and has already shared with us that he would like to be an accountant.)

I rang Tear Fund, the Kiwi partners of Compassion International, with whom Network Communications in Australia worked with very closely and whom we started our sponsorships with...

I asked why I hadn't received a photo of our nearly sixteen year-old. The young man on the other end of the phone did not know, and I was told they would look into it, and perhaps it wasn't time for his photo? Which it was, as they always came together previously. Of course I told him that.

Well, we just got a letter. Here it is exactly, as translated...

'Mrs and Mrs G...'

'I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.'

'We are unhappy to let you know your son H---------- is no longer in our project because he never returned to school and to the project after the Christmas holiday.'

'We were sad about it.'

'We thank you for all your support and sponsorship to this child.'

'May god richly bless you.'

'Read Isaiah 49:5'

'Written by a project worker.'

It's very sad, but possibly expected. He has just turned 16. He was living with his grandmother and was below average at school. We had selected his photo at 'the Gathering' one year, from a group of urgent cases, mostly older children, who had not been sponsored although enrolled in the project.

Can you imagine being fifteen and only in fifth grade? With approximately 80 children? His parents were dead, AIDS or the war, I am not sure, and he had siblings. I think he was the oldest. I remember one year he bought a goat with his christmas money to raise for milk etc. The poor goat died. Poor being the operative word; when he told me he had bought another goat I used to pray for food for it, as well as for all H-------'s needs, health, food, to pass the next grade, as you don't go up until you pass.

I used to pray that he would 'get it', those lessons that seemed so hard to grasp. I pray the same sort of thing for the fifteen year old girl that we sponsor - she is now in grade five, too.

Like the boy, she lives with her elderly grandmother and has siblings. She looks so sad in her photos. When we first picked her photo out, I thought she may have a withered arm... I am not sure that she doesn't have a problem with one arm. But, oh, the sadness...

When she heard we were going back to New Zealand, she wanted to know all about sheep. She has a goat now, too, and would like me to come visit her so I could drink her goat's milk. (Hmm, not quite a fan of goats milk...) and possibly share posho and beans, too. Although I am not sure what posho is! Gruel perhaps. I would dearly love to go, but it's a bit too much on our income. I guess it's more important to sponsor the children in the first place.

One day I brought my photos in to work, to share with another friend, along with some letters... Mrs Boss seemed to think I was being ripped off, but I do not, and never will, agree. We have so much, and if we were really poor, like in some countries, we would be dead.

But back to my original thought, I am very sad that we no longer sponsor this child. I will write a last letter of farewell and God's Blessings to him, and they will attempt to deliver it. He may still be in the same area, unlike our daughter's first sponsored child who's family moved to the big smoke in order to find work.

That family were in South America. Our daughter used to clean hubby's shop every week to pay for the sponsorship. She sponsors another child now, they sort of send one out to you without asking what you want to do. I would prefer her to sponsor through Tear Fund, it seems to me as though World Vision has lost some of it's cutting edge Christianity in a bid to be PC.

So, now we have to decide on whether to sponsor another child. Only once in the last six or more years have we not been able to pay, that was the month we moved into our new house, over here, we sorta ran out of money...

Do we choose a child in the same project again? With good grades or without? (Our Ugandan boy actually writes to us directly in English...) A baby or most desperately in need of sponsorship? (Our first-born's God-Parents always sponsored girls because she had five boys!!!)

I can't think that we need the extra money here, as we have never missed it...

But one thing I do want to know is what our money, including birthday money, (which, incidentally you don't get to do with World Vision,) has gone to in the intervening months. I am not asking for it back, but I believe in accountability and good stewardship... The letter was written on 23rd March, so you get an idea of how slow the mail can be!!! 

And at least he is still alive;  we have another friend who's sponsored child died.  How very sad...

Other related posts:
So, How's Junior?
'The times they are a-changing'

Comment by TEAR Fund, on 26-May-2008 11:46

Hi there!

I work for TEAR Fund and happened to see your blog. You are obviously really passionate about sponsorship, which is wonderful to hear. Thank you for your obvious commitment to the children!

Please do call us with the questions you have about your donations as we would love to help answer any questions you have.


TEAR fund

Author's note by mobygeek, on 26-May-2008 15:12

Thanks, Claire, I will, tomorrow, as it is my day off.  It's just good to know there is accountability!

Comment by Mike Thorn, on 26-May-2008 23:38

A great supporter of World Vision is is a dual-purpose site for building an English vocabulary and raising money for under privileged children in the most

impoverished places around the world.

Check it out at

Author's note by mobygeek, on 27-May-2008 12:32

Thankyou Mike, all help to the children of our world is to be encouraged, as most child-aid agencies would say! 

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Linda George
New Zealand

Five Children*, Three Cats*,
One Husband, One of Me.
(Oddly enough...)
A few Aussie Accents,
One dedicated Kiwi,
Several ANZACS.
Go Figure.

*One Kitty Kat...

What I write from my life might just help you in yours...