May 20, 2011
I have been part of this organization for over 9 years, and I find that like most things in life the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. And I don't mean money. For the uninvolved sponsors it can still be satisfying with 2 guaranteed letters a year, and an annual photo. For people who want to be more involved liked my, the sky is the limit. I get more letters from my children because I write them back (CI has a policy that if the child hasn't written in the past 90 and gets a new letter then they're requested to write back). The children receive many privileges from program such as tutoring, medical and dental checkups, after school programs, nutrition edcation, emergency feeding programs, etc. But I can also choose to do more for my kids. The key is to really learn about the program. Someone else on here mentioned that they give money to the general distribution and not to the kids - that is incorrect, they do both. If you contribute to the christmas, easter, birthday, special hug funds, those are general funds and say so in the handbook they give in the beginning. But if you have enough to hit a certain minimum (currently $50) you can have it sent specifically to your child...that's a special gift, not a contribution to one of their quarterly celebrations. You can also ask about specific things you notice on the child's report and fix. Some of the items I've bought for my children are: a floor(there's was mud), a latrine, tutoring money, a bed, an addition on to the house. The sky really is the limit with how much you can help. How do you know it's real? Well, with each of these larger gifts I got pictures! I also have several friends who have gotten to visit their children (there's an open invitation for this) and they can promise every bit of it is real. I also love Children International because it's got an extremely high percentage of funds that goes directly to the children. You can also see by the number of volunteers in each community center, that the communities really love the program as well. CI has an individual approach to poverty - "one child at a time" where other groups tend to do more of a community approach (neither I think is better in general, but I really wanted to form bonds with the children and this afforded me the opportunity). I have even mailed packages to my children, which once again come with a thank you letter and photos - genuine as can be! They also have a great community for members on the site Liftone.org. It's for sponsors to talk to each other and learn more about the program. Lots of newer sponsors find out things through the site that they didn't even know they wanted to know. Overall I'm extremely pleased with this organization and the many other sponsors I've run into contact with.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
I've been a sponsor since 2002. My first sponsored child is already about to graduate from the program this year (2011) and I've seen her grow into lovely young woman and have seen how this organization has helped her.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Make sure all of the phone operators had more experience. There are a few who are new and seem to get confused by a few things which in turn confuses some of the newer volunteers. I say if you're new make sure to ask for a "senior representative" to avoid any confusion although most of them are good anyway.
Donor & I'm a sponsor.
Review from CharityNavigator