Why ONE child? Why not EVERY child?
We want to communicate that each and every child matters, especially in God’s eyes. For many people, however, the problems of poverty seems so vast and overwhelming that it can be difficult to know how to help.
That’s why we invite you to discover what you can do for one child. We believe that one person can change the life of a child for eternity. No one person or organization will end global poverty in our lifetimes. But together with the OneChild staff and volunteers who work in the field, you can demonstrate the love of Jesus to one child who lives in a difficult place.
How does OneChild work?
OneChild is a global community that helps children in poverty. Our staff in the field, who we call Child Champions, live in the same communities as the children we serve. In every community where we work, we develop a Hope Center where care designed to meet the unique needs of the community’s children is delivered.
OneChild focuses on holistic child development, providing programs that nurture children in faith, health, education and community. For more information about how we work, visit the Our Work page.
Is OneChild affiliated with a church or denomination?
OneChild is not affiliated with a particular denomination. We are interdenominational, partnering with Christians throughout the world.
How often will my sponsored child write?
The more you write to your children, the more you will hear from them. They’ll respond to each letter you write! In addition, you will always receive two communications from your sponsored child each year. This includes a Christmas card and a special communication piece each year.
How often can I write to my sponsored child?
We encourage you to write to your sponsored child at least two to three times a year, but you may write to your sponsored child as frequently as once a month. The letters you write to your sponsored child are a tremendous encouragement to him or her and greatly treasured.
What should I write about?
You can write to your sponsored child about many different aspects of your life, as this will help your sponsored child get to know you. We suggest you begin the process of building a relationship with your sponsored child by writing about some of the following topics:
- Holidays you observe
- Prayer Requests
- Relationship with Christ (Jordan or Lebanon)
What should I not write about?
As a general rule, you should avoid any topics that emphasize the poverty your sponsored child is living in or anything that could be culturally offensive to him or her. Topics include:
Personal possessions – Discussing material items only highlights the disparity between your material wealth and your sponsored child’s poverty.
Dating relationships – Cultural differences surrounding this topic are significant. For example, in some cultures, marriages are still “arranged,” and your sponsored child may find discussions about dating objectionable.
Gifts – Do not ask your sponsored child what type of gift he or she would like from you. In many cultures, this question puts the child in an awkward, uncomfortable position.
Personal Contact Information – Your home address, email address, phone number, and personal or professional website is private information that should not be shared, for both your sponsored child’s privacy and yours. If your personal contact information is included, our staff will remove it before sending it on to your sponsored child.
Note: We reserve the right to withhold any letters or materials we feel are inappropriate or potentially dangerous to the child. In the event that your letters or materials are withheld, our staff will attempt to contact you and inform you of the reasons for withholding your items.
How should I approach topics of spirituality with my sponsored child?
- Share your story of faith
- If you know your sponsored child is a Christian, let him or her know that you are praying for him or her. But please be sensitive to your sponsored child’s age, background and spiritual maturity.
- Keep in mind that your sponsored child may not be a Christian.
My sponsored child lives in a sensitive country (Jordan or Lebanon). Can I write about topics of spirituality with my sponsored child?
For the safety of your sponsored child and our Child Champions, all specifics regarding spirituality should be avoided.
When writing to your sponsored child, please help us by keeping in mind the following guidelines:
You can safely do the following.
- Refer to God.
- Be personal and share your faith story, but in a creative way that will not mention words specific to Christianity.
- Use Bible verses in sentences, without explicitly quoting the verse. For example, in lieu of quoting Jeremiah 29:11, say, “God has plans for your future that are good and full of purpose.”
- Use simple phrases like, “You are in our thoughts and prayers.”
- Mention “Christmas.”
Please refrain from the following.
- Using names that refer to Jesus, including Christ, Lord, Savior (or Salvation), or God’s Son.
- Mentioning Christianity or Christian.
- If you would like to quote a Bible verse, please do not include the word “Bible” or the scripture reference. Please do not use a Bible verse if it includes any of the above words.
- Including any pictures, drawings, or stickers with Christian symbols, such as a cross, Bible verse, etc.
Do all children write their own letters?
Many younger sponsored children are unable to write on their own, so a staff member or volunteer at the Hope Center or family member may do so on their behalf. At times, children join our community when they are older, without having had any previous educational opportunities, and help is needed. We hope that all children can write for themselves by the age of seven, but this is not always possible due to the unique circumstances in a child’s life.
How long does it take my sponsored child to receive my letter?
Your letters are typically delivered to your sponsored child within three months. Shipping to our centers is costly, and the centers are often located in remote areas of the world, so it takes time. To save costs, we ship to our centers once a month.
How long will it take to receive a response to my letter from my sponsored child?
It may take about 4-6 months to receive a direct response to your letter. Because it takes 2-3 months for your letter to reach your sponsored child, it will take about the same amount of time for your child to write his or her response letter, have it translated in the country office, and then ship it back to our offices in the U.S. for processing.
Will my letter reach my child faster if I write it through My Account?
Letters from our sponsors are all processed the same way. Although you are submitting an electronic letter to your child, the letter will still be printed, processed and physically mailed across the world to your sponsored child on the first week of the following month. The time frame will be the same with a letter sent through My Account as it is with any other letter we receive.
How personal should I expect my sponsored child to be in his or her letters?
Letter-writing is an unfamiliar concept to most of our children, and cross-cultural communications are challenging, even in the most favorable conditions. Most children have never received a letter prior to becoming a sponsored child, so it takes time for them to become accustomed to writing letters. Please be patient with your sponsored child and encourage them in their learning process.
Will my sponsored child respond to my questions?
Because letter writing is initially unfamiliar to your sponsored child, he or she may not realize that a response is needed. Over time, our goal is to help your sponsored child become better at responding to your questions and asking his or her own. Your patience and understanding will help your child grow more familiar with letter writing.
Also, the time involved in delivering your letter to your sponsored child often plays a part in unanswered questions. It could take up to six months from the time we receive your letter for you to receive your sponsored child’s response. If you receive a letter from your sponsored child within a few months of sending a letter to him or her, he or she most likely has not yet received your letters and may answer your questions in a later letter.
Should I be concerned if my sponsored child’s name is spelled differently in his or her communications than in the information I originally received?
In many of the languages our children speak, there is no direct English translation and the spelling of names is very difficult. The spelling of names can and will vary between translators.
How do I write to my sponsored child?
Stationery forms and return envelopes are included with your new sponsorship packet or the letters you receive from your sponsored child. The form has space on the front and back for your letter and a translation. Please leave the section titled “Translation” blank on both sides. Feel free to copy this form for future use. You can send your written letter to our office with your monthly commitment or on its own to the following address: OneChild, P.O. Box 62600, Colorado Springs, CO 80962.
Can I use my own stationery?
Yes. However, if you do, be sure to leave plenty of room for a translation, and include the following information:
- Your sponsored child’s name and identification number
- Your name and sponsor number
- The OneChild office address on the envelope: OneChild, P.O. Box 62600, Colorado Springs, CO 80962.
Can I mail my letter directly to my sponsored child?
In order to protect the privacy of both the children and our sponsors, all communications must go through our office.
Can I give my contact information to my sponsored child?
No. We do not allow sponsors to give their contact information to their sponsored child, as a measure to protect the privacy of both sponsor and child.
Can I email my sponsored child?
No, but you can send a letter electronically through the My Account feature on our website.
Can I send photographs to my sponsored child?
Yes! Your sponsored child would enjoy receiving pictures of your family, pets, and local scenery, as well as simple postcards of where you live or trips you’ve taken. Because standards of dress may be different in your sponsored child’s culture, please do not send photos that depict people in immodest clothing or photos of possessions, since this only highlights the disparity between the material wealth many of us enjoy in the U.S. and your sponsored child’s poverty.
Can I recognize special occasions in my sponsored child’s life?
Yes. You may send greeting cards and other small, flat items as gifts to your sponsored child. Please keep these guidelines in mind:
- Limit your giving to no more than one envelope per month.
- All gifts must be flat and fit comfortably inside a 6“ x 9“ envelope. The thickness of the envelope must not exceed one inch.
- Please write your sponsored child’s name and identification number on each item.
- Christmas cards and gift envelopes must reach our Colorado office by the end of October to ensure Christmas delivery. Other cards and gifts for special occasions must be received two months prior to the occasion to ensure on-time delivery.
Can I send packages to my sponsored child?
No. Due to high international shipping costs, as well as customs regulations, we cannot send anything to your sponsored child larger than what fits in a 6“ x 9“ envelope. In the interest of good stewardship, we strive to keep our shipping costs low.
Can I write a final letter to my sponsored child when he or she leaves the program?
Yes. We realize that the relationship you have with your sponsored child plays a significant role in your life and that you may desire some form of closure. We will make every attempt to get your final letter to your sponsored child.
If I am involved in a group sponsorship, can we all write to our sponsored child?
We recommend that you appoint one individual to be the group’s correspondent. It is simpler for a child to relate to one person rather than a group.
ABOUT SENDING GIFTS
Can a special monetary gift be given to my sponsored child for his or her birthday?
You may give a birthday gift of $25-$50 for your child as well as a $50-$300 gift for your child’s family. Each of these gifts may only be given once a year. You can also give an additional $25-$50 gift if your child is graduating from the sponsorship program. The gift your child is given will be based on the child’s needs and will be determined by our Hope Center staff. We cannot verify what the child will receive ahead of time. If you would like to give a gift to your child, please call us at 800-864-0200.
Can I buy my sponsored child a gift and send it with my letter?
Due to customs regulations and high international shipping costs we cannot send anything to your sponsored child larger than what fits in a 6” x 9“ envelope. In the interest of good stewardship, we strive to keep our shipping costs low.
Can I ask my sponsored child what type of gift he or she would like?
Please do not ask your sponsored child what type of gift he or she would like from you. In many cultures, this question would put the child in an awkward, uncomfortable position.
What kinds of gifts might my sponsored child enjoy?
As long as your gift fits in a 6“ x 9“ envelope, the following suggestions may be helpful:
- Bookmarks and stickers
- Educational activity pages
- Coloring book pages
- Child card games that promote learning
- Finger puppets
- Family/pet photos
- School supplies (pencils, markers, stencils, etc., but not crayons, please see below)
- Non-metal hair accessories, such as barrettes or ribbons
- Non-metal jewelry
- Small maps
What kinds of gifts cannot be sent?
Because of customs restrictions, risk of loss or theft, the high cost of delivery, and other challenges, the following cannot be sent to your sponsored child.
- Items larger than what fits inside a 6“ x 9“ envelope
- Cash or coins
- Seeds or leaves
- Battery-operated items
- Heat-sensitive items, like crayons
- Metal objects
- Electronic/musical cards
- Gently used items
What happens to the large items I send for my sponsored child?
Large items are removed from our shipments and are not sent to the child. Our staff will attempt to contact you and inform you of this.
What if I have sent a gift to my sponsored child but the child has left the program?
As long as your gift meets the stated guidelines, we will still send your gift and make every attempt to deliver your gift to the child.
Are the funds I give to the Christmas Gift Fund used only for my sponsored child?
As stated in our communications, the funds raised in the Christmas Gift Fund are disbursed to all of our projects based on the number of children who attend the Hope Center. This is to ensure that every single child we serve receives a Christmas gift, regardless of whether they have a sponsor or not.
VISITING MY SPONSORED CHILD
Can I visit my sponsored child?
Yes! If you are traveling to the country and region your sponsored child lives in, we will make every effort to connect you with your sponsored child.
How soon should I contact OneChild if I am hoping to visit my child?
Please contact us at least three months prior to your trip since it takes time to coordinate your visit with the leader in the field.
Can I meet my sponsored child’s family?
Possibly. This is left to the discretion of the leader in the field and the child’s family. While the family is grateful for your support and encouragement of their child, they may be hesitant to meet you because of cultural differences. Also, missing work has larger consequences in the developing world than it might for us; families can’t always afford to miss work and may lose their jobs if they miss work.
What information do I need to have in order to schedule an individual visit?
To make the coordination of your trip as smooth as possible, please be sure to have the following information before requesting an individual visit:
- Your sponsored child’s name and identification number
- Your dates of travel
- Date that would be most convenient for you to visit your sponsored child
- In-country contact information, i.e. lodging information, phone numbers, etc.
Who is responsible for arranging my visit?
Since this is an individual visit, you will need to make your own plane and hotel reservations and provide your personal transportation. For security reasons, OneChild staff will arrange to meet you and drive you to the Hope Center and back.
What expenses will I need to cover?
Possible expenses could include transportation, a translator, food, and a gift basket. We will provide an estimate of any expenses upon request.
Will I need to fill out any forms for a sponsor visit?
Yes. A Traveler’s Information form will be sent to you. This will need to be returned to OneChild. The form will include traveler and emergency information, a media waiver, guidelines for the visit, and a covenant not to sue.
Who needs to fill out the Traveler Information form?
Anyone who plans to visit a sponsored child will need to fill out the form separately. The form may be copied.
If I filled out the Traveler Information form for a previous trip and there aren’t any changes to my personal information, will I need to fill the form out again for a “new” request?
Yes. For your security as well as our own, we require that the form be filled out for each sponsor visit request.
When should the Traveler Information form be returned?
As soon as possible, in order to assist OneChild staff in coordinating your visit. Please do not leave without submitting the signed form for each person visiting.
Will a OneChild staff member be present at all times?
Yes. This is to facilitate the visit, provide translation services, and to carry out the visit according to our Sponsor Visit Guidelines.
How long will I be able to spend with my sponsored child?
Typically, sponsors spend several hours to a whole day with their sponsored child, but this is arranged on a case-by-case basis.
Can I bring gifts for my sponsored child?
Yes! We recommend you give your sponsored child practical gifts, since the need is great. However, any gift you give your sponsored child will be greatly valued and appreciated. Here are some recommendations:
- Backpack or tote bag
- School supplies
- Coloring books with crayons and markers
- Personal hygiene items (toothpaste, toothbrush, etc.)
- Soccer balls
- Photo albums with photos of your family
- Hard Candy
Please note: the OneChild field staff will also provide a food gift basket for you to give to the child’s caregiver during the visit. This gift is separate from any additional gift you may choose to give the family. You are responsible for the cost of the food basket and will need to reimburse the OneChild country office.
Can I bring gifts for my sponsored child’s family?
Yes! Please do not bring expensive or large gifts for the family since this may overwhelm them. Our idea of a small gift is much different from theirs, and a small gift from you will be treasured. Let us know if you would like to provide a gift for the family and we will coordinate this with our staff based on the family’s needs.
Do I need any specific immunizations before I leave?
We recommend that you seek the advice of your physician, health care provider, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)l for the recommended or required immunizations of the country you are visiting.
Do I need a passport?
Yes. All U.S. citizens are required to have a passport for international travel, regardless of the destination.