Thursday, May 10, 2012

Giving Financial Gifts through Compassion International

Are you following the Compassion Bloggers as they experience Tanzania?  If not, you should be!  Click the widget below to see their recent posts!

Compassion Bloggers: Tanzania 2012

As usual, the posts have been filled with a mix of beautiful and heart-wrenching images and the stories have brought Tanzania to life in my mind.

A few of the recent posts have touched on the topic of giving financial Family Gifts to sponsored children.

In Which I Cry Again by Jolanthe of Homeschool Creations shares how a yearly Family Gift has been able to help Doto’s family build up their house.

This post from Amy of Resourceful Mommy shares the same story.

Then this morning, I woke up to find an email asking me more about Financial Gifts, so it seemed like the perfect time to post on the subject!

Your monthly sponsorship payment goes to pay for the programs that your child participates in. This covers educational opportunities, medical check-ups as well as various programs that happen at the church.

But sponsors also have the opportunity to send financial Family Gifts, Child Gifts and Birthday Gifts.  Remarkably, 100% of your financial gift money will go to the child or family.

Now, Compassion doesn’t just hand the cash to the family and walk away.  Instead, the project staff will meet with the family and discuss what needs the family may have.  Then, they work together to make decisions on the best possible ways to use the money.  Every bit of the gift is accounted for and the project staff goes a long way to make sure that they are maintaining the standard of financial integrity that Compassion demands.

The Compassion website has a page with Give a Gift FAQs that answers many of the most common questions. I’ve also been asked several questions about gift giving.

How much do most sponsors send for Birthday Gifts or Family Gifts?

There really is no set answer to this question.  In my experience I have learned that some sponsors don’t ever send financial gifts. For birthdays, many people send between $10 and $25. (Remember that these gifts also take 2-3 months to get to your child, so mark your calendar 3 months ahead if you want to be sure your financial Birthday Gift will arrive on time!)

As for Family Gifts, I know that those who give these will do so in a variety of different ways or amounts. Some give a Family Gift once a year and some give them quarterly.  Some sponsors send $100 a year and some send $25, or anything in between. Some sponsors will look at their child’s information to find the place where it lists the average monthly income, then they will give some multiple of that number.

As for our family, we have decided to send $25 to each of our children for their Birthday Gifts.

Family Gifts, however, are a bit different.  We’ve decided to let the Lord lead us in giving.  Each of our Compassion families will receive at least one Family Gift per year but the amount depends on many different factors such as the area’s average income, the number of parents in each family, the needs of the family as we understand them and so on.  Again, we keep ourselves open and let the Lord lead.  I am so blessed that my husband has a giving and generous spirit and is the one who often approaches me with a number and asks me to divvy it up as gifts.

What do families buy with their financial gifts?

We’ve been blessed with some pictures, which I will show you.

 

This was the first financial gift that we sent to Precious and her family. The gift was $100 and her  family was able to buy large bags of sugar and rice, some canned tomatoes and soap and bottles of water.  They kept some of the supplies and used the rest to sell and trade at the market. The benefit if sending financial gifts is that, often times, the family can use the gift as an income generating opportunity.

 

 

 

 

With a $100 Family Gift, Bertille in Burkina Faso was able to purchase a bicycle, a school bag, some clothing, biscuits and drink mix. Bertille’s father is deceased and her mother is sickly, so this bike will not just be for fun. Bertille can now run errands quickly, carry items from the market and earn income running errands for others.

 

 

With a $25 birthday gift, our Yishak in Ethiopia bought his very own goat!  Oh, how this picture made us smile and also made us think.  A teenager in the US might buy a teeshirt or some songs on iTunes with a $25 gift.  But Yishak was able to buy something that could provide for his family.  We’re not sure if the goat is male or female, or if it will be used to stud out or provide milk or meat, but we do know that this gift has the ability to provide.

A goat! I love it!

 

 

Mkapagift

 

 

A $50 Family Gift for Mkapa in Tanzania was able to buy a trunk to store belongings and a padlock to keep them safe. It also bought a blanket, shoes, school bag (Bob Marley! Ha!), 12 notebooks, a big bag of maize flour, rice and sugar, a flashlight and batteries, soap and cooking oil.

 

 

 

 

Many of the projects where our sponsored children attend do not have access to cameras, but we’ve been told that some of our other children have been able to purchase clothing, mattresses and blankets, food items, bicycles, chickens, toys and special sweets among other things.

I also have heard of families being able to completely build a new home with a Family Gift of $200 or less.  That is just amazing, isn’t it?

How do I give a financial gift?

One way to do this is to log into your account on the Compassion International website.  On the left hand side, you will see a link that says Additional Giving.  There you can choose a child, what type of gift you’re sending and an amount.

Another way to do this is to call Compassion at 1-800-336-7676. The ever helpful phone reps will walk you through your donation.  If you have correspondent children, you do have to call your gifts in because there isn’t a spot to give online for correspondents.

As a sponsor, you certainly do not have to give financial gifts to your sponsored children, but it is such a wonderful gesture that is sure to be appreciated. 

Do you have any questions about financial gifts?  If so, please do not hesitate to leave a comment below.

If you have given financial gifts, what are some of the most memorable items your families have purchased? Share with the BFTB community!

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