It appears that the organization uses most of the children's birthday contributions for purposes other than birthday purposes. If you were to do the simple calculation of converting american currency to that of the currency of the country in which your sponsor child lives, then compare that difference to the approximate price of the reported gifts, as I did, you would realize that the numbers do not add up nearly to the amount of your contribution. A big part of your contribution would be missing.
Review from Guidestar
I have sponsored a child through Children's Internation for about 10 years. My wife also sponsors a child. I have not seen anything that would make me suspicious about this organization and I truely feel my support of this little girl in the Phillapines, and her family, has been beneficial to them. The positive is that for my minimal annual support ( $264/year ) and an additional $175 a year on special days ( which is optional ) Carmela seems to get a lot a valuable benefits. They give the child the materials, clothing and medical treatment they need to attend school as well as Christian based emotional support. In addition to individual support Carmela gets the benefit of CI's local support center. I get annual updates on Carmela's progress, a letter and a picture of Carmela and the gifts she and her familiy receive from my once a year donation at Christmas. She is now 15, still in school and seems appreciative. Negative is the letters I recieve from Carmela are very generic and could be written by anyone. CI's site says you can bond with child through the letters but I don't see how. The one letter a year I get says she likes her teachers, playing with friends and helping her mother with chores and thanks me very much for her support. I thought it would be more. Realistically she is a poor young girl who doesn't speak or write english who I am trying to give a chance to. She does not need to write great letters and Children International shouldn't have to go to great expense to write them for her. Overall I feel comfortable that Carmela is recieving a significant benefit from my support. I'm glad I've done it and will support another child when Carmela turns 17.