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The benefits of sponsor relationship

The Evangelical Alliance Relief Fund


PRESS RELEASE

August 19 2008

Over 1 Million poor children know the benefits of sponsor relationship

As TEAR Fund surpasses the sponsorship of more than 1 million children worldwide through its partner Compassion, one of the keys to the success of its child sponsorship programme has been the relationships built between the child and the sponsors, said TEAR Fund Executive Stephen Tollestrup.

“While giving money is important, over the decades TEAR Fund has found that children who have built a relationship with their sponsors have been empowered to rise above poverty and impact their communities.
This is a big reason why TEAR Fund encourages sponsors to write personal letters to their sponsored children.”

Recently TEAR Fund NZ invited Paul Omondi from Kenya to speak to Kiwis about his experience of growing up as a sponsored child. While many of his peers from the slums dropped out of school and turned to drugs and crime out of a sense of hopelessness, he did not want to let his sponsor ‘mother’ down.

“When my friends asked me to steal or take drugs, I would think to myself, `would my sponsor mother want me to do this’? “

He said: “To have someone on the other side of the world believing in me and encouraging me helped me through life, and as an adult, I still have a strong relationship with my sponsor family and have visited them.”
(more)

Paul has graduated from University and now works for an aid and development organisation in the community where he grew up and he sponsors a child in India.

Building a relationship with a child through correspondence isn’t just a one-sided thing, there are rewards for both in the relationship, according to an Auckland woman, Beth Harper. She has made writing to their 30 sponsored children a family affair. They sponsor the children through their chain of CD stores.
“Writing to the sponsor children is a special time of sharing things with the children as a family and we get to know the sponsor children really well.”

Initially Mrs Harper was going to write a standard letter to send to all the children but she realised that each child was different and she couldn’t bring herself to do it.

As a family we get to know them and about the country they live in and we share about life in New Zealand. For instance, one of the children lives in Ethiopia and is crazy about soccer. His favourite team is Arsenal, so I clip items and photos from the newspaper about the team and send them to him.”
Mrs Harper recently went to visit one of her sponsor children in Uganda which was a very rewarding experience and one encouraged by TEAR Fund.

ENDS

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