Sponsor of the Month
We always ask our sponsors what you’ve enjoyed most and least about sponsoring. We love learning from both, the marvellous along with any Challenges or problems you’ve had. We are very interested in why you’ve continued sponsoring all these years?
Jean B has sponsored children and classes in IHF for twenty one years. Here is our interview with her
Can you tell me a little about yourself?
My name is Jean B, an individual who has been sponsoring IHF since 2001.
What have you enjoyed most and least about sponsoring?
I adore getting to know the children and their cultures. The biggest thrill for me is the children that have grown over the years, sponsoring a class has been different in that there are many children involved and of course in the early years and my visit to Bali I was able to experience some of those classes going on. I can only afford sponsoring one class a year, but love knowing how many young lives are changed from them.
I also sponsor a few children. Sponsoring one-on-one, the individual child, that has also been very meaningful over the long term, watching the child grow up, exchanging the letters, knowing that my sponsoring them has made the difference of their being able to attend all the way to graduation.
Having volunteered for ihf and visited, I know that IHF cannot accept a child until they have a sponsor financially so I am keenly aware (as other sponsors might not be ), that I am literally changing that child’s life by my sponsorship. I know there is often a long waiting list of many children in dire need, and that the child would not have been picked and able to attend preschool and eventually graduate from an excellent high school if it wasn’t for my sponsoring the small monthly amount over these years. I can’t reach all children, but I have reached one at a time, each child so meaningful, over these twenty plus years of sponsoring.
There is another aspect I would like to address that was an unexpected surprise for me, and that is now, in my 94th year of life, as I look back at all I’ve learned about these children’s different cultures. In the retirement home where I live with my friends, I find I’ve learnt so much in depth about the cultures these children come from. I live in a community of retired professors, writers, CEO’s etc, all very well educated. And yet when I’m talking to different people and there is news on different issues in countries, I realize I know all about the droughts in Kenya and much of Africa right now, that this is the dry season and there is no water, and I realize, as I splash my face, this water feels almost sacred to me and we are all connected. Or I know from my sponsored class in Indonesia, it is rainy season and both their slum and school flooded out. I have seen the video showing the families scooping water while singing. So many precious events year round I’d like to share if we had more time for this interview. For example,
I am excited for the children in Indonesia of their ceremonies, their belief systems, of the Muslim and Hindu, their lifestyles with that centre around these festivities. A far deeper understanding of religions different from my own.
Sponsoring through IHF has just brought home in a very personal way cultures through children’s day to day- in a manner I would not have known this in-depth.
Have you faced any problems with IHF?
There have been some mistakes, yes. I had made a general donation receipt saying that I wanted it used for a particular Center and that receipt did not come back promptly and correctly, it was about four years ago, but I was concerned when that happened and I had to notify, to write in about it, and so I do worry if that happened to anyone else. Of course you would never want that to happen and so yes that was a problem. I have promptly received all my receipt always now, it’s no longer a problem, but that one time did upset me.
Another problem that has happened over these 22 years, it’s both something wonderful and a challenge, it concerns the Sponsor Letters. They have become less personal from the children, and so I miss that, they seem to be more just on topic. Then again, I also have a challenge around the sponsor letters I love! I know you repeatedly tell sponsors they don’t need to write back- and I know many sponsors never do. And that’s fine. But I can’t not write. I love it- yet sometimes trying to write back to the children, is my challenge time wise. I put a lot of time and energy into my writing back to them, probably far more than I need to, but it takes time. And at 94 I might need to go from sponsor letter to sponsoring without sponsor letters and just get the newsletter automatically plus an update on the child or class ( from their center). In other words, offering sponsors the option of getting sponsor letters or not as they prefer. I loved them, but my age is advancing and many sponsors might be too busy.