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Writing to your sponsored child

Sponsored children love to receive letters. Write a letter today!

What to write about

Please keep letters brief, warm and friendly. Communications need to be translated when they reach our Field Offices overseas so please write clearly.

  • Send photographs or postcards. Children love receiving pictures and will often display them in their homes or pass them around their community.
  • Write about your family, work, food or the weather.
  • Try describing your last family gathering. Introduce all the members of your extended family and describe what it’s like when you get together.
  • Write about your neighbourhood. Are there stores, fields, busy roads?
  • Describe the seasons. What does snow look like? Are the autumn leaves yellow or red? Is it a hot summer day?
  • Many sponsored children live in agriculture-based societies and may be interested in hearing about your garden.
  • Acknowledge your sponsored child’s family.
  • If you have children or grandchildren, involve them in writing the letter or enclose their drawings.
  • Simply write that you’re thinking of your sponsored child and wish them the best. This is a warm reminder that someone far away cares and is one of the most important things you can ever send a child.
What to avoid

Discovering cultural differences can be enriching for both sponsors and children but it is easy to inadvertently cause offence. We ask sponsors to avoid the following areas:

  • Politics and religion are likely to be sensitive topics. In more extreme situations where local politics are unstable, your comments could actually put the family at risk.
  • Pets may not be a familiar concept to some children. Animals have different roles and significance in other religions or cultures.
  • Avoid being too familiar. What is acceptable in our country might be inappropriate in the child’s culture. It’s a very fine line but parents of a sponsored child might be offended or concerned by open expressions of affection made towards their children. We always advise sponsors to err on the side of caution, however close they feel to the child.
  • Give careful thought to the pictures and photographs you send. For example, images of people in swimsuits or cuddling pets can cause offence.
How to send a letter

Once you have written your letter:

  • Ensure your Donor ID number and sponsored child’s number are clearly indicated on the letter. Also ensure all pages are secured together so pages can’t get separated.
  • Do not include your address. Letters can be seen by a large number of different people during customs procedures, translation and delivery to your sponsored child’s community. This measure protects you from any unwanted requests for money or assistance.
  • Do not seal letters or cards in envelopes. This increases the weight and Plan’s postage costs. Also, Plan reviews all letters sent to sponsored children and it is easier for us if correspondence is not sealed in an envelope.

Send your letter by email to Plan Canada at letters@plancanada.ca or by post to: Plan Canada, 245 Eglinton Ave East, Suite 300, Toronto, Ontario, M4P 0B3. Please remember to include your Sponsor Number and Sponsored Child Number are indicated on the letter.

Why letters aren’t sent directly

There are practical reasons why this would be difficult. There may not be any mail delivery system where your child lives, the family may not have a postal address and there are language barriers. Plan staff and community volunteers act as the postal workers for delivering your correspondence as well as translating them when necessary.

In addition, we screen all letters to sponsored children as part of our child protection procedures, and we do not share addresses from letters or any other communication to protect you and the children.

How long it takes to receive a reply

Your letter leaves our office in a parcel along with other sponsor letters for the same country or Plan field office. Letters are generally sent monthly in bulk by courier to save costs. After being cleared by customs the package continues to Plan’s country office where the letters are translated into your sponsored child's language and sent on to the relevant field office.

Plan staff and community volunteers ensure the letter is delivered to the family. Reaching some communities involves a long journey by bicycle, boat, foot or donkey! For example, your child’s village may be 50 km from the field office, which can be a day's journey or more.

Community volunteers deliver the majority of letters and collect replies from children to sponsors. These volunteers also help children and families who cannot write by writing down what the family wants to say. If this happens, the letter should make it clear who has written it.

The entire process can take many months between you sending a letter and receiving a response. If you haven't heard anything after eight months and you are getting concerned, please contact us and we will look into it.

Letters from children

Here are examples of the types of letters you’ll receive from your sponsored child.

Dear Sponsor:

We greet you very cordially and I hope you are in good health conditions together with your family. I thank you very much for the nice letter you sent me.

I like the following books: history books, riddle books, fairy tale story books and others. I also wish to tell you I am back at school and I am attending 4th class in Primary School. I am very happy I have returned to my classes. I also like playing with my dolls and reading.

I say goodbye, until soon. I am looking forward to hearing from you again. Goodbye again!

Love always,
Carla

Dear Friend:

First, please accept our hearty regards. We are all well here and hope you the same. We were very glad to get your letter. Right now it is the rainy season. The auspicious "Ramjan" celebration is going on. Hope to hear from you soon!

Love,
Azmeni