About Child Sponsorship
Shelter Them provides for the total care of a sponsored child, including shelter, food, education, and medical care. To provide this level of care, sponsors commit to pay $40 per month.
Over 90% of all sponsorship contributions goes directly to the shelter, nutrition, education, and the health care of our children.
How Our Sponsorship Program Began
Shelter Them began in 2005, following a return visit to Rwanda by twin sisters, Jocelyne and Josephine. They watched the feeding program in Kigali organized by their brother, Jules Higiro, who is now the Country Director of Shelter Them. Recognizing that food was not enough to address the needs of these children, in 2007 they rented a home for four young boys and provided them with total care - shelter, food, education and medical care. To fund this initiative, Shelter Them began the sponsorship program to sustain and expand this total support for children in Rwanda.
The sponsorship program expanded to Gateko in 2016 when Jules was attending a meeting about plans for building the community centre in Gateko. On his way, Jules saw a young girl sitting by the side of the road. She was dirty and despondent, and despite the warm day, he saw she was shivering. Jules never made it to his meeting. He stopped to talk to her and learned that she had nothing to eat that day. He took her to a medical clinic where she was diagnosed with malaria. She was also infected with parasites. Jules realized on the spot that her plight, and that of many children like her in Gateko, was a more pressing need than the community centre, and we began to seek sponsors for needy children in Gateko. By the end of 2020, Shelter Them sponsors 98 children in Kigali and Gateko, supported by over 200 sponsors. And by the way, the community centre did get built. It now houses the Early Childhood Development Centre, which starts over 200 local children on their educational journey towards a hopeful future, made possible thanks to the generosity and kindness of our sponsors.
How Does Sponsorship Work?
- Fill out a I am ready to Sponsor Today form.
I am Ready to Sponsor Today form If you have any questions about the program please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Choose the child you wish to sponsor
You can select the child you wish to sponsor or our staff can select the child who is most in need.
- You will receive a welcome package
Once involved, you will receive a welcome package, providing more details on your sponsor child. You will receive a welcome letter and pamphlet which explains the program in detail. You will also receive a photo and a profile of your child.
- Write your child sponsor a letter
As a sponsor, you can have regular written contact with your child, with all correspondence from your child sent directly to you through Shelter Them team members. You will receive at least two letters and a photo of your child every year. You can also contact your child, directly via our website here at any time. The kids love to hear from their sponsors!
- You will receive a tax receipt for your donation
Shelter Them Poverty Relief is a registered charity, and you will receive a tax receipt for the full amount of your donation. If we have your e-mail address, you will get a tax receipt through e-mail. If we do not have your e-mail address but have your mailing address, your receipt will be mailed to you.
What to Expect
When your sponsorship is processed, you will receive a welcome package explaining the program, and a profile and photo of your child. If you wish, you can write to your child, using the information you have been given. Writing to your child is encouraged but not required. Click here to learn more about writing to your child.
At least twice each year, you will receive a letter from your child. One letter will arrive approaching the Christmas season, which will also include a recent photo of your child. The other thing you should expect is the sense of gratification and joy that many sponsors feel from changing dramatically the life of a Rwandan child.
First and foremost, through your sponsorship, all of your sponsored child's needs will be met – food, shelter, education and medical care. Sponsored children never receive direct cash payments, but instead, Shelter Them pools all sponsorship funds and distributes them where they will achieve maximum benefit to the children, their families, and the community. We made this decision because the expenses incurred by each child are not the same, and we must ensure that every child can have the opportunity to attain their full potential in life.
In many ways, the personal relationship that can develop between a sponsor and his or her sponsored child is an even greater gift than the financial support provided, and sponsorship is a gift for both the child and the sponsor. So yes, there are many ways to build a relationship with your child - writing directly from this website here, sending letters through the mail or through social media, or even visiting your child in person! In return, you will receive at least two letters each year from your child. Please click on Tips to Build a Relationship with your Child on the side menu of the sponsorship page for helpful advice on getting to know your child. The beautiful thing about sponsorship is that it is a gift both to the sponsored child and to the sponsor, who receives a gift of love from a child on the other side of the world
The answer to that question depends on the child and on the financial circumstances of the sponsor. A younger child, for example, will require sponsorship for a longer period than an older one. We do not have a particular age at which we cut off sponsorship because we want to ensure that every child has been given the opportunity to achieve to their fullest potential.
On the other hand, we realize that a sponsor’s personal or financial circumstances might change over the term of a sponsorship, and that sometimes a sponsor may unfortunately need to end a sponsorship before that goal is realized. In that case, Shelter Them will thank the sponsor for their generous support and find another sponsor for that child as soon as possible.
Yes, there are. For $15 per month, you can join the ECDC Club. Your contribution would go directly to the support of our preschool children enrolled in our Early Childhood Development Centre in Gateko. You can just click here or go to the Shelter Them home page to learn more about the ECDC Club. Or you can click here or at the top of the Shelter Them home page to make a one-time or continuing donation in any amount. You will always receive a tax receipt for the full amount of your donation to Shelter Them
If you still need further information about the sponsorship program, please contact David Jenkins, Shelter Them’s sponsorship co-ordinator, at email@example.com. David can tell you almost all there is to know about the sponsorship program with Shelter Them. But what he cannot fully explain to you is just how much each child appreciates the support they receive from their sponsor, and how much satisfaction and joy you can receive yourself by being a sponsor. To fully understand those things, you need to be a sponsor!
Tips to build relationship with your child
Writing to your sponsored child here is completely voluntary, but it does mean so much for a child to get a brief note or photo from their sponsor. It also provides you with the opportunity to get to know your child better and to see the lasting impact sponsorship has on a young life. Getting started is sometimes the hardest part about writing a letter. Here are some suggested topics that you could write about:
-Your favorite season and what the weather is like where you live
-The city or town where you live
-What you wanted to be when you were in school; what you do now
-Your hobbies and interests
-Simply sharing that you care for and are praying for them
Remember that letter writing might be difficult for your child too, especially if they are younger or if they do not have a good grasp of English. So, you could also ask them questions, to give you something to write about but also to make it easier for them. You could ask about:
-Their school, or their favorite subject
-Their favorite sport or activity
-What they want to be when they grow up
If you write directly from the Shelter Them website here. These letters will get directly and quickly to your child. On the other hand, you might want to use the postal service to send a letter, especially if you want to include a photo, or some small gift that would fit in an envelope, such as stickers, a bracelet, a bookmark, etc. If you wish to use the postal service, here is the address to send the letter:
Shelter Them Rwanda
P.O. Box 1705
Shelter Them staff will ensure the child receives the letter. But please remember that the Rwandan postal service is not quick, and that mailing anything overseas is not always secure. For this reason, sponsors should never send cash to their child.
You will receive at least two letters from your child every year. One of those letters will arrive in the weeks leading up to the Christmas season, and that one will include a recent photo of your sponsored child. Shelter Them staff will help them to write the letters and will translate them if your child is not yet proficient in English. It is very rewarding to read their letters and see how they have progressed over each year.
If you sponsor an older child, many of them are more comfortable with English, and like young people everywhere, they are very savvy with social media. Some of our sponsors keep in touch with their sponsored older child more frequently through social media, such as Facebook or WhatsApp. In addition, every two years, in normal circumstances, a team from Shelter Them travels to Rwanda. Sponsors who are able are welcome to join the team, at their own expense, and meet their sponsored child in person. Or they can send larger gifts to their sponsored child with a member of the team.