As a child sponsor, you may have noticed some changes in the letters from your child and our communications about them over the past several months. The primary change has been that we no longer use full names.

We’re living in the Information Age, and we all know that information can be used for good or to harm.

The internet, social media, computers, mobile devices — all this technology has enhanced our lives. More and more people across all countries are on the street using smartphones. This increased connection creates new opportunities for people in poverty to gain knowledge and steady employment. Many young people in the sponsorship programmes are learning computer skills to help them compete for high-paying jobs someday.

But as we all know, the Information Age has also created new risks. People who seek to exploit and abuse will always find ways to do so—and technology is one of those ways. Such people could use children’s full names to identify and find them.

So, Compassion and Tearfund are making ever-greater efforts to protect children’s names and locations — and, therefore, their privacy and safety.

Children-and-tutors.jpg
Sponsored children at a Compassion Centre writing letters. 

A Shift to Preferred Names


Instead of seeing children’s full names—their first and last names and anything in between—sponsors and the public now will see the name each child goes by in everyday life.

These names are not made up or “assigned” by Compassion. They are the preferred names given to us by the children, or by their parents if the children are too young to say.

It’s the name they’re called by their friends, their family and those who know them best.

In most cases, your sponsored child’s preferred name will be the same as their first name or an easily recognisable nickname.


And the same is true for you.

In the same way, we also have a duty of care to protect your privacy and information, which is why we have also brought in “preferred names” for you as a sponsor at the same time.

If you want to check or amend what we have for you, as your preferred name, please contact us to ensure we have that right for you.


What does it mean?

Please continue to engage with your sponsored child through letters! As you sign your letters, please use your chosen “preferred name” instead of your full name. For example, you may prefer to be called Mr and Mrs Smith. Or, you may prefer to be called Jane and John. However, we ask that you do not include your full name: Jane and John Smith.

Please don’t try to find your sponsored child online. Please use our letter-writing channel to communicate with your child. That helps protect both you and them. Please don’t respond to requests for connections of “friend requests” if a beneficiary or their family finds you online. Please let us know if this happens, and we will work with the sponsored child and their family to understand our communication guidelines. Please share your interests with your sponsored child through your letters, but remember, we cannot send through anything that contains an Instagram handle or social media name, YouTube channel, or web address.

Acting-Project-Director-Abreham-Beyene.jpg

Please use our letter-writing channel to communicate with your child.


Child protection begins with prevention


We know that child protection begins with prevention and as we are always working on improving our child protection policies, we have put new safeguarding practices in place which will affect all communications between you, your sponsored child, staff and volunteers who all work together to provide a safe environment for children.

Tragically, ways to harm children continue to evolve, including the use of technology and social media. The availability of the internet in the areas where we work has also grown exponentially in the last few years and we have to be constantly vigilant in protecting children.

Data privacy is becoming a real concern to many and therefore we are taking a global approach. We believe that all children are precious to God and our goal is that all children are known, loved and protected through their local church.

Please know that these changes are to protect everyone in our care and we will continue to educate and train frontline church staff, Compassion and Tearfund staff, and children, on ways to prevent harm. Click here to see our Child Protection Policy.

Thank you for supporting the local, front-line Church to develop children fully so that once they graduate from the programme, they can ‘give back’ to their communities. You are an essential part of a team that is striving to see a lasting impact in families and communities for this generation and the ones to follow.

Related posts

Thank you for choosing me

Thank you for choosing me

Friday, 22 April 2022 — Compassion International

After two years of praying, seven-year-old Lizeth from Ecuador can hardly contain her excitement when she is told she has a sponsor. She is so grateful that someone has chosen her. Sponsorship means so much to a child growing up in poverty.
 

Read more

Three ways you have helped change lives during the pandemic

Three ways you have helped change lives during the pandemic

Thursday, 21 April 2022 — Compassion International

For more than two years, we’ve grappled with the unprecedented as Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc on the world. But when confronted with the unprecedented, Compassion’s church partners have become unstoppable.
  
 

Read more

The top 10 most read stories of 2021

The top 10 most read stories of 2021

Wednesday, 26 January 2022 — Tearfund New Zealand

From Afghanistan, to ethical fashion, to child sponsorship to modern slavery, these were some of the stories that moved you in 2021. Take a look!
 

Read more

Want an idea for a meaningful New Year

Want an idea for a meaningful New Year's resolution? Here's six

Wednesday, 26 January 2022 — Juliette Epstein

Sticking to a New Year’s resolution can be difficult, so why not choose an achievable and meaningful resolution for 2022 that can make an impact? Here are some ideas to choose from!
 

Read more

Why the way you donate to help disaster-affected people, matters a lot

Why the way you donate to help disaster-affected people, matters a lot

Tuesday, 25 January 2022 — Juliette Epstein

Want your donations to a disaster to make a big impact? Here’s how you can deliver maximum benefit to those who have been affected by a disaster.
 

Read more

Ten stories from 2021 that will make you smile

Ten stories from 2021 that will make you smile

Friday, 14 January 2022 — Compassion International

Natural disasters and a pandemic only exacerbate the effects of poverty, leaving children and families with no hope for a better future. But these micro-stories show that when the Church offers a helping hand, their circumstances can change.
 

Read more

How does sponsorship help a child’s physical development?

How does sponsorship help a child’s physical development?

Thursday, 16 December 2021 — Compassion International

The final blog of our four-part series discusses the impact that sponsorship has on a child’s physical development. For a child to break the cycle of poverty, they need a holistic development approach. This starts with meeting their physical needs. 
 

Read more

Show more