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A sponsored child’s smile can mean so much

POSTED January 21, 2019

A sponsored child’s smile can mean so much

Our country director in Paraguay gives us a window into the impact a sponsor’s letter has on a child

By Jorge Méndez Rheineck, country director, Paraguay

Jorge with children

In Paraguay, when we see a child expressing contagious contentment through a tender smile, we often say, “His smile does not fit in his face.”

This smile, which genuinely and spontaneously emerges from the soul of a child, overtakes their face often punished by poverty. It transforms their face for a moment — and also their soul — gradually and for the rest of their life.

This is often what sponsored children experience when they receive a letter from their faraway sponsor.

We repeatedly experience this scene and ask ourselves: ‘Do donors realize the life-changing role they play in their sponsored child’s life? Do they realize how their material and psychological support affects a child living thousands of kilometres away, in a poor and vulnerable rural community?’

We think they have some understanding, but it’s difficult to completely grasp how a donor’s support can transform a life without actually seeing what we do and how children value their letters.

Certainly, thanks to donations, thousands of children and their families improve their lives by accessing enhanced basic services in health and nutrition, education and income-generation training. These services help a child grow healthy and educated.

Donations also help us address child-protection issues and encourage children to participate in decisions affecting their life so they can grow up to be strong, self-assured, self-confident and trustworthy.

Girl reads card

We are supporting children to develop their full potential — and that’s not just corporate speak.

Therefore, sponsorship is about more than monetary support. It’s something that has an enormous, tangible impact on a life of a child; it’s the lasting psychological imprint of support communicated in a letter from their sponsor.

The affection and stimulus a letter carries is essential to the development of a child and their family. The letter constitutes an invaluable gift that a child receives from his sponsor; it required a sponsor’s time, energy and attention — the most precious gift a human can give.

We believe sponsored children feel their donors’ affection and care through their letters. It’s why children smile so brightly and beautifully when receiving a letter from their sponsor. It’s magic.

However, the impact a letter has on the life of a child is not limited to that happy moment. No, the scope and depth of impact goes way beyond. It nurtures the soul of the child with hope, encouragement and self-esteem.

Education and health are crucial, but for a child to make the most of those gifts, they need to feel hope, encouragement and self-worth to grow strong and confident. Letters from sponsors can do so much to satisfy these needs.

Learn more about writing letters to your sponsored child.

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Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

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