Lettters - FAQ

If you can't find the answer you're looking for,
call 0800 800 777 or email us

Yes! If your sponsor child is based in Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, please refer to these specific letter writing guidelines to ensure what you would like to communicate in your letters is both appropriate and allowed.

If you are receiving letters from your child digitally, you can simply reprint or download your letter again from the PDF letter attached to your email. If you no longer have the email, please contact us so we can resend it to you.  

If you receive printed letters via post we would be more than happy to send you another copy of the letter from the project - just get in contact with our team and let us know you'd like one. You can email us at info@tearfund.org.nz or call 0800 800 777.

We love to hear that you appreciate receiving the Compassion International project letters! Unfortunately, we're unable to facilitate two-way communication between a Compassion International project/staff and a sponsor. The main purpose of these letters is to give you some wider context of your sponsored child's surroundings and give you a new perspective on some of the issues they may face. We hope it helps strengthen your relationship with your sponsored child by enhancing your letter writing experience. You are welcome to let your sponsored child know you have received a letter from their project, and ask any questions that you have from the letter about your sponsored child's daily life.

Yes! The personal relationship you build through writing letters is one of the most valuable investments you can make in your sponsored child's life. Children love to receive letters, photos and cards and the emotional, social and spiritual boost that your encouragement gives your sponsored child can be pivotal to their development. Graduates consistently point to their sponsors' letters and prayers as the two things above all others that gave them hope, courage and the belief that they could overcome their circumstances.

A 2012 study Compassion International carried out in Peru, Rwanda, Guatemala, East India and Thailand found that:

  • Over 90 per cent of children report strongly experiencing joy, love, encouragement and a sense of belonging when they receive letters from their sponsors.
  • Children who receive letters report feeling more motivated at school and church activities.
  • Children who receive letters consistently demonstrate greater confidence, including behaviours like an ability to care for others, awareness of generosity and sharing, ability to communicate, obedience and helpfulness.
  • Children write a least two letters a year to their sponsors - we encourage you to write at least two letters a year in reply.

Your sponsor child will receive a physical letter, even if you send yours digitally. Your letters are considered very special to your sponsor child and they love being able to keep a physical copy of what you have sent them. Your child will receive a printed copy of your original letter along with the translation.

Tearfund encourages sponsors to write to their child. You can go on to our website to write a letter to your child at https://www.tearfund.org.nz/Letter-Writing or use the online link in each child letter email we send you! Alternatively, you can write a letter and post it to us.  

It is a good idea to send your child a personal or family photograph. You can upload 2 photos to each of your online letters to your child, or feel free to post them to us (be sure to include your supporter name and number and child’s name and number).  

Your letters don’t need to be lengthy.  It’s also a great idea to highlight questions in your letter to prompt the child to respond. Our field staff will translate your letter and deliver it to the child you support. Sponsored children typically keep their sponsors’ photos and letters in their homes as treasured possessions.  

You may write to the child you sponsor as often as you like. When you write, your sponsored child will benefit from knowing that someone in addition to his or her family really cares. Your words of encouragement will make a big difference to your child.

Correspondence between sponsors and the children they support is truly developmental. The more you write the child you sponsor, the more he or she will reap the benefits of your relationship.

As a Compassion International sponsor, you will receive at least two letters each year from your sponsored child. In addition, you will receive a letter written by an adult involved in your sponsored child's life (for example, their church pastor, program director or another Compassion International staff member who knows your sponsored child's circumstances well). These letters provide you with more detailed information about your sponsored child's community, child development centre, society and culture, and help you to build a stronger relationship with the child you support.

In addition to these three letters, you will also receive up to four reply letters in response to those you write to your sponsored child. If you write to your sponsored child regularly, this means you could receive up to six letters per year.

As your exchange of letters with the child you sponsor grows over the years, you can build a scrapbook of letters and photos from your child. Your scrapbook will serve as a constant reminder of the relationship you've developed with the child you're helping and of how you've contributed to his/her growth.

As a sponsor, you have many opportunities to communicate with the child you sponsor and we encourage you to do so. When you communicate with him or her, however, we ask you to provide comments and materials consistent with the Christian values and philosophies we share with our partnering churches.

We will not forward photographs and other materials depicting activities that:

  • Feature your personal details e.g. address, phone number, email address and Facebook details.
  • Might be considered inappropriate in another culture.
  • Promote lifestyle choices that we view as unhealthy and inconsistent with biblically based lifestyles or otherwise inappropriate for sponsored children.
  • Might threaten the safety of the sponsored children in any way.

For example, we will not forward materials that depict or describe the use of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, unlawful drugs and materials or activities that we regard as dangerous or unsafe. We will not forward materials or communications that advocate another religious worldview. In addition, we will not forward materials depicting persons dressed in immodest clothing or engaging in activities inconsistent with our ministry values and beliefs.

If your sponsor child is based in Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, you will need to adhere to different guidelines when communicating about Christian faith with your child. Please refer to these specific letter writing guidelines to ensure what you would like to communicate is both appropriate and allowed.  

Contact our Supporter Relations team by emailing info@tearfund.org.nz or calling 0800 800 777 and we will get a translation for you from centre staff in your sponsor child’s country. 

Writing and receiving letters helps build a strong relationship between you and your sponsored child, and is often one of the most valued forms of support your sponsored child will receive.

However, some sponsors are unable to correspond personally with their sponsored child for various reasons. If you are unable to write to your sponsored child, you may wish to nominate a family member or a friend to write on your behalf, or we can help find someone who can correspond with your child. If you choose to do this, unfortunately you will no longer receive letters from your sponsored child; they will be sent to the new correspondent so that they can continue the communication.  

In this case, you will continue to receive updated child profiles every 18-24 months, along with opportunities to donate financial gifts at special times of year (e.g. birthday/Christmas). We will also still send the annual letter from your child’s project so you can continue to learn about your child’s community.

Your Christmas card is a great opportunity to share Christmas joy with your sponsored child and their family with a short, warm message. Wish them a happy Christmas, encourage them to remember Jesus’ birth, share a prayer or a favourite passage of scripture. Share a little of your own Christmas plans or encourage your sponsored child for the coming new year. Your words are important, and the fact that you’ve taken the time to send your card means so much.

If your sponsor child is based in Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, you will need to adhere to different guidelines when communicating about Jesus or Christian faith with your child. Please refer to these specific letter writing guidelines to ensure what you would like to communicate is both appropriate and allowed.

One of the main reasons your letters go through our Tearfund office is so that staff can ensure the letter that is being sent to your sponsor child is fully appropriate in terms of content/images. We take very seriously the safety of all sponsor children and their families, and therefore need to have these checks in place. We also have field staff who translate your letters into the child’s language.

Letter writing is not always easy for children. In many countries, letter writing is not customary and it's uncommon to discuss personal things like hopes and dreams, or even what daily life is like. Our program staff endeavour to teach the children how to express themselves in writing, and will often use the letter-writing days as an educational activity.

Sometimes children write what they think their sponsor might want to hear. Your sponsored child may need your help to understand that you are interested in their thoughts and opinions, and in the small details of their life. You can help your sponsored child to understand that you want to know him or her better by asking many questions in your letters and telling your sponsored child about your own life. You may consider highlighting the questions you would really like answered.

If your sponsored child is young, their Compassion International tutor may help write their letter. Please be patient while he or she learns how to write.