unnamed-2-2.jpg

SPONSORS

THIS IS FOR YOU

LETTER GUIDE | SKYPE GUIDE | FAQs | REPORT CARDS

LETTER WRITING GUIDE

If this is your first time writing, thank you!

Just as you are interested to know about your child and family, your child is delighted to hear from you. Here are some guidelines to get you started!

General Guidelines:

The purpose of writing letters to your Sozo child is to provide a consistent source of encouragement that he or she can look back on as they grow up.

We would love for each letter you send or receive to build on each other. For example, you can keep the letters your child writes, and follow up with them based on what they write. If you shared something new in your life with them, you can send an update on that in your next letter.

End your letter with a couple of open-ended questions for your Sozo child to answer and if possible, include pictures with your letters that show what you talked about in your letter.

You can send as many letters as you’d like to throughout the year. However, please understand that letters are distributed roughly three times per year. Letters can be mailed to the Sozo Children office or emailed to the Child Development Coordinator.

Writing Ideas:

envelope.jpg

Describe what your life is like. What is your typical day like now? What do you do at church/work/school? What are some interesting facts about your state/region? How do you relax? What is your biggest challenge at the moment? What are you learning right now? What are your closest family members like? How has God been faithful to your family? What are some recent changes in your life (workplace, moving, graduations)?

Talk about your spiritual life. This will help shape your Sozo child’s journey as well. How did you become involved in your local church? How has God comforted you in trouble? What was the last sermon you heard or class study about? How has that impacted you?

Explain how you are impacted by sponsorship. What is your prayer for your Sozo child? How do you remember the child throughout the week or month? What do you appreciate about this child? (Comment on recent letter, the child’s prayers for you, artwork in a letter, smile in the photo, or something else.) How can you encourage your Sozo child on any recent successes or milestones he or she has achieved?

Topics to Avoid:

The list above is a good starting point for exploring together what you have in common. There are, however, a few things that might make your sponsored child feel uncomfortable or create expectations that can't be met. These include:

✖ Elaborating on your material possessions (for example, the size of your home or kind of car you drive). This will only accentuate the difference between you and your child.

✖ Suggesting that your sponsored child visit the United States.

✖ Using slang or colloquialisms that would be difficult to translate or understand.

✖ Asking the child what they want as a gift from you. The kids are told not to ask for things from you out of respect, so please send any questions about gifts to the Child Development Coordinator.

✖ Asking the child you sponsor if they have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Children living in the Sozo homes are not allowed to date before college, but more importantly, asking this question could create shame or confusion by implying that they are “supposed” to be dating. Growing spiritually and excelling in school are our two main focuses.

 

SKYPE GUIDE

If this is your first time Skyping, thank you!

Skyping* is a unique way to connect with the child you sponsor in a meaningful way! Each holiday, Sozo children look forward to the encouragement, love, and joy they receive through Skyping with their sponsors.

skypephone copy.png

GENERAL GUIDELINES:

Sponsors get the opportunity to video chat with the child they sponsor three times per year, and they are notified via email for scheduling. All Sozo children have the opportunity to Skype.

Skyping (video chatting) is an opportunity to talk with the child you sponsor face-to-face and stay updated on their life. Skype calls last between 15-30 minutes. Come prepared with a few open-ended questions to ask your sponsor child.

Remember that a Sozo staff member is there to help facilitate the call and translate when needed. Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it during the video chat!

Please understand that video chatting is new for some Sozo kids, and they might be shy at first. This does not mean that they are disinterested or not enjoying the Skype. It gets better with time. Thank you for your patience and understanding! Remember to encourage the child you sponsor to ask you questions as well.

*If you are unable to Skype, we can also make accommodations to video chat via FaceTime.

CONVERsATION STARTERS:

School: What are you doing over your holiday break from school? How did you like school last term? Who was your favorite teacher last term? What was that teacher like? What happened during a typical school day? What is your typical day like now?

Personality: What are some of your favorite things to do? What goals have you set for yourself? How much progress have you made? What’s your favorite holiday? How would you describe the sights, sounds, smells, tastes of that holiday? What are your close family members like?

Spiritual: How can I be praying for you? How have you seen God teaching you things this school term? What was the latest sermon you heard or class study about? How has it impacted you? 

You can also use this GREAT acronym to guide you.
G — Greetings
R — Remember something your sponsored child has said and build on it.
E — Explain something new (since the last time you talked) about yourself or your world.
A — Ask your sponsored child open-ended questions.
T — Ta ta! Say your goodbyes. This is a great place to share a Bible verse, a word of encouragement, and prayer requests.

TOPICS TO AVOID:

✖ Asking the child you sponsor if they have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Children living in the Sozo homes are not allowed to date before college, but more importantly, asking this question could create shame or confusion by implying that they are “supposed” to be dating. Growing spiritually and excelling in school are our two main focuses.

✖ Asking the child what they want as a gift from you. The kids are told not to ask for things from you out of respect, so please send any questions about gifts to the Child Development Coordinator.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If you have further questions regarding your sponsorship, please reach out to the Child Development Coordinator.

How long will my sponsorship last?

Sponsorships last the duration of the child’s educational career or stay in the Sozo Children Home, whichever comes first. Many of our children have aspirations of getting their college degree, and many aspire to learn a trade and own a small business. We believe that walking with a child every step of the way to independence paves the way to sustainable growth in Uganda.

If I miss a payment will my sponsorship be canceled?

One missed payment will not result in the cancellation of your sponsorship. However, three missed payments in a calendar year will result in the cancellation of sponsorship. In order to reinstate a terminated sponsorship, all missed donations must be covered.

What should I do if I need to cancel my sponsorship?

We realize that situations arise where an individual or family may be unable to continue sponsorship. In order to cancel a sponsorship, individuals should contact Sozo Children’s Child Development Coordinator, Riley Cowell at riley@sozochildren.org or (334) 590-6032.

How many segments does each child have?

Children who live in the Sozo homes have 8 segments each (housing, education, medical, nutrition, lead, equip, disciple, nurture). Children who live with their families have two segments each (education and medical). Each segment is $35/month. Depending on how many segments each child has available, sponsors can choose to cover as many segments as they feel led. This means, some children have more than one sponsor. We believe it takes a village to raise a child and our children have unique relationships with each sponsor.

What if I want to cover another segment for my sponsor child in the future?

If you are feeling led to add a segment to your sponsorship or increase your monthly giving, e-mail Riley to be notified when a segment becomes available for your sponsor child.

What is expected of me as a sponsor?

Most importantly, you are expected to pray for your sponsored child. The children pray daily for their sponsors and we believe it is equally important for sponsors to pray for their child. As a sponsor, you are also expected to honor your financial commitment whether it is monthly, quarterly, or yearly. You are also expected to provide a Christmas donation for your child. To protect cultural influence, our Child Development Director in Uganda (Aggie Namuyomba) will purchase Christmas gifts based on the child’s needs. Your Christmas donation will be due mid-October to insure enough time to buy gifts.

Will I be able to send letters, pictures, or gifts to my sponsored child?

We encourage our sponsors to send letters and pictures throughout the year. Our kids cherish personal keepsakes from their sponsors. Sponsors are also allowed to send two gifts per year (excluding Christmas); the gift must fit in one gallon Ziploc bag and cost less than $30 USD.

Gift ideas include: soccer balls, basketball shoes, notebooks, nail polish, pens, small purses, lotions, perfumes/colognes, clothes, or hats. Unacceptable gifts include: electronics, expensive jewelry, mp3 players, or perishable food. These gifts are not expected, but always appreciated. Gifts from the sponsor must be given to the child by the Child Development Director. Failure to comply results in termination of the sponsorship.

Send all letters, pictures, and gifts to:
Sozo Children
Attn: Riley Cowell
4 41 st Street South
Birmingham, AL 35222

Will I be able to talk to my sponsored child?

Sponsors will receive monthly updates through newsletters from Sozo Children’s Child Development Coordinator. Sponsors will also receive letters, pictures, crafts, and report cards throughout the year from their sponsored child. Sozo Children offers supervised Skype opportunities three times a year for all sponsors during the children’s holiday breaks (May, September, and December). You will receive an email letting you know when it is time to Skype. The schedule is made on a first come first serve basis. Each child’s individual availability varies based on their schedule, so please be patient as we try to accommodate a convenient time for both parties. Social media is prohibited for every Sozo child. If a Sozo child attempts to add or contact a sponsor through social media, it is the sponsor’s responsibility to report the incident to the Child Development Coordinator, Riley Cowell. If a sponsor is communicating with a Sozo child via social media, the sponsorship is terminated for the sponsor and for the child. These guidelines are in place to protect everyone involved.

What kind of school does my Sozo child go to?

Our children are in school year-round, and performance on standardized tests determines which school the kids go to. For more information, contact our Child Development Coordinator.

Can I visit my sponsored child?

Yes! We would love for you to visit your child! Trip information can be found on our website at www.sozochildren.org/trips.

REPORT CARDS

Understanding AN UGANDAN REPORT CARD.

The academic grading structure in Uganda is very different than rubrics in America, so we've created a guide to help you understand your child's report card. Click the button below for a downloadable PDF.