Send a smile around the world!
Your letters are the lifeline between you and your sponsored child. Although your financial gifts are important, the personal connection and relationship you build through your letters means the world to your child.
May I write a letter?
Writing letters shows that you care about your sponsored child and want to encourage his/her development.
Please note: Letters and gifts that do not follow these guidelines and contain culturally inappropriate subjects or items will NOT be passed along to your child. Check this guide carefully before writing or sending a gift to your child.
What can I say in my letter?
Write often! Short, encouraging notes are greatly appreciated. Consider these guidelines in any communication to your child:
- Describe the members of your family.
- Discuss your favorite activities, hobbies, and sports.
- Briefly tell what you do at work, church, or school.
- Talk about your relationship with Jesus Christ.
- Write clearly in simple sentences. Avoid slang or cultural references that may not be understood outside American culture. Jokes and humor rarely translate well.
- Provide a general description of where you live (no specific address). Tell them about the climate and land type.
- Ask your child the same types of questions about what they like to do, where they live, and what they are learning in school.
- Please avoid making statements such as, “I hope to meet you one day.” This could create disappointment if you aren’t able to follow through.
- Please do not include any personal contact information such as your mailing or email address or phone number in your correspondence.
May I send a picture of my family?
Use a neutral background such as greenery or a blank wall. Please do not include material items such as cars, your home, toys, or other possessions that may depict wealth. Avoid wearing swimsuits or revealing clothing in your photos. Be sensitive to the environment in which your child lives.
What kind of letters and gifts may I send to my child?
When you send a gift, include a letter. The relationship is often more important than the gift.
You may send a 6”x9” or smaller envelope at various times throughout the year (send no more than 2 envelopes at a time). Please do not send a large package to your child, excessive or extravagant gifts can create a dependency on handouts that will undermine the ministry.
Please do not wrap your gifts with wrapping paper. They will be unwrapped prior to delivery to your child. Also keep in mind cultural differences and do not send cards or gifts related to holidays that are not celebrated in your child’s country, especially Halloween.
Field teams do their best to pass on letters and gifts as quickly as possible, but we cannot guarantee that all sent items will reach the field. Please do not ask your child if he/she received previous letters or gifts. You should receive a thank-you note from your child for each gift you send, but it may take up to six months.
Letters or gifts should be put in a 6”x9” or smaller envelope with the child’s name and ID number written on it, and then into a second 8’”x10” or smaller envelope with the MOHI address. Please do not send an envelope larger than an 8”x10”. If items are too large or look like they contain valuables they will be held in customs until a fee is paid. Families do not have extra money to get packages out of customs, so any package held there will not reach your child.
What small items can I send to my sponsored child?
For an elementary-age student you may send: family pictures, matchbox toy cars, crayons, colored pencils, pens, stickers, small notepads, hair clips, jewelry, and small, thin books – activity coloring books, devotional books and Bibles.
For a middle or high school student you may send: family pictures, colored pencils, pens, small notepads, hair clips, jewelry, and also small thin books – devotional books and Bibles.
*Please do not ask your child for suggestions on what they would like you to send them.
What items should I NOT send to my sponsored child?
- Toys or stickers that depict snakes, spiders, tortoises, snails, frogs, owls or scorpions. Please also refrain from sending stick-on tattoos of any kind. These items can symbolize inappropriate things in some countries.
- Checks, cash, or personal contact information (email address, home address or phone number).
- Food or candy. Food attracts rodents that may get to your package before your child does.
- Plastic bags are banned in Kenya, so please do not send or bring items to your Kenyan child in ziploc or other types of plastic bags.
Will I be updated on my child?
Your child should write to you at least once a year to let you know what is going on in his/her life. In addition, MOHI will notify sponsors any time we are made aware of a major event that occurs in the life of your child.
You can also receive ministry updates for the program your child is in through our child sponsorship newsletter. You can sign up to receive these updates by visiting our sign up page.
How to send your letters and gifts?
All correspondence with your child should be sent to the address listed on your child’s profile card. Please follow ALL of these steps when sending items:
Allow 6-8 weeks for your correspondence to reach him or her. It may take much longer during the Christmas season. Please send Christmas correspondence no later than the end of August. Each child who receives a gift will write a thank you note to his/her sponsor. Please note that it could be several months before you will receive a thank you card in the mail.
1. Place all items into one 6”x 9” or smaller envelope.
2. Write the child’s full name, ID number and school name on the outside of this envelope. Do NOT write a return address on this envelope!
3. Place the first envelope into a second envelope, 8”x10” or smaller, or wrap the first envelope in shipping paper.
4. Write the mailing address for your child on the outer envelope or layer of shipping paper. This address is listed on your child’s profile card. Include a return address. This layer will be removed by field personnel and will not be given to your child. This step protects your personal contact information from falling into the wrong hands.
5. Check with the post office for the official weight and international postage rates. Do NOT send as priority, express, certified or flat rate.
6. If you must fill out a customs form, indicate that the contents of the package are of minimal value; a few dollars, at the most.
Please do not send letters/gifts for your sponsored child to MOHI’s US office.
Mathare Family Hope Center
(Child’s name and ID number)
PO Box 71484