Friday, May 30, 2008

Can You Help Twinkle?

I want you to meet a special girl named Twinkle. She is from Manila, Philippines, where she lives with her mom and her seven-year-old brother, James.

Twinkle's dad is not in her life, and according to the information provided by our agency in Manila, she and her family get by on just $42 a month.

Twinkle is 10 years old. Here's the really tough part. She's been waiting for a sponsor for three full years -- nearly a third of her life!

It's ironic that a girl with a happy name like Twinkle should have such a difficult life. So...

Will you help? You can make a difference in the course of Twinkle's life by becoming her sponsor today. And of course, I'll personally handle setting you up as her sponsor. Just drop me an email at


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Question of the Month

Posted on behalf of Kevin Fleming

Here are last month’s results:

Why are diseases like TB, malaria and typhoid making a comeback?
Please choose the TWO answers you believe are the biggest reasons.
A) Antibiotic Resistance
B) Corrupt Political Regimes
C) Lack of Health Education
D) Low Priority for the Developed World

There are many reasons why diseases flourish in the developing world. Diseases mutate to resist the bacteria. Corrupt political regimes take funds that were destined for health campaigns, and no one can doubt that in an era of unmatched prosperity, the forgotten poor (who suffer in silence) are too often ignored.

As sponsors, the most popular choice of “lack of health education” is not surprising. Your support makes heroic education initiatives possible. Through this sharing of knowledge, misconceptions and superstitions about health are broken down and lives are saved.

We teach all of our sponsored children basic hygiene. We teach their mothers proper food handling techniques. And our Youth Health Corp conducts extensive wellness training and reproductive health classes. We are making a difference one young mind at a time!

Get Google Grouping!

Got something to say about sponsorship? A question that’s been rolling around in your head for while? Maybe you’re just interested to see what other sponsors are thinking. Why not check out the new Children International Google Group for sponsors?

The group page has been up for a little over a week now, and the response has been great. We’re starting out small, but our few dedicated sponsors have so many things to share. Some of the discussion topics include visiting your sponsored child, letters, special donations and even ideas to help sponsor more children.

Become a member of Children International’s Google Group today, and see what everyone’s talking about. Just click "Join this group" on the right side of the screen. We hope to see you there.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Celebrate and Enjoy...

We at Children International salute the sacrifices of those we honor on Memorial Day...and we trust all of our readers will have a safe and happy weekend. Fire up the grill, gather the family and HAVE FUN!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Cost of Food

A month ago I was in Honduras interviewing sponsored and non-sponsored children and their families. Amidst the stories and memories, one theme kept coming up: the struggle to feed their children. Countless families mentioned “the crisis” and one family even lamented that they go hungry two or three days a week.

The food crisis is causing the country’s citizens to react. In fact, while we were there, a nation-wide strike shut down San Pedro Sula and other main cities in Honduras for seven hours. We were left stranded in the hotel, unable to cross the angry picket line to get to the families we serve. Burning tires and protesters blocked the main entrances and exits of the city. People were throwing rocks, water bottles and even bags of human waste. Police responded with tear gas. One of the main reasons of the march was the high price of basic food items.

I watched it all unfold on TV, but the anger and desperation of the protestors was palpable. When your children are hungry, instinct takes over.
Just last night I spent $75 on groceries that might last me for two weeks. I couldn’t help but think what a blessing it would be for those families in Honduras to have $75 dollars to buy the food they need. Many scarcely earn that much a month.

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Had Your Hand Up for Awhile?

We love moderating the blog and taking advantage of the opportunity it gives us to communicate more directly with our sponsors. And because we enjoy it so much, we couldn't help but wonder if some of our readers wouldn't like to have a chance to speak up as well.

So we thought we'd just ask.

Would any of you be interested in joining a Google Group for Children International sponsors? If you're not familiar with Google Groups, they are forums that join people with common interests and allow them to conduct threaded discussions.

If enough of you find this interesting, we'll make it happen. So please tag in, leave us a comment and let us know. In fact, we'll need you to contact us at and give us an email address so we can send you an invitation to join the group.

We're standing by!

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Power of a Dream

Neeta Goel, Program Director for Children International, shared these thoughts with us about a recent visit she paid to sponsored families in India. We though you’d enjoy her reflections.

Several mothers left their chores to come chat with me excitedly, and question why I have been missing so long. It was the area’s worst summer day so far – the temperature touched 43 degrees centigrade (109.4 degrees Fahrenheit), and as the tin roofs of the homes blazed, I wondered how the families can even survive. Small wonder all kids are down with diarrhea, and are throwing up constantly almost.

The center was cool, since it is made of cement and bricks, and not tin or aluminum. The kids came running in and for the few moments that we had electricity, the fan made the heat a little bearable. One mother spoke to me about her 6 kids – 4 are in school, with younger and older siblings united in the same grade, due to late starts for some. The mother tells me that it is her dream to see that her children don’t stay uneducated and disadvantaged like her. She has several daughters, and wants them all to study, contrary to what her community thinks. She confides that this dream creates problems for her with her extended family, but that she can’t seem to give up.

While I speak to her, in front of us, I watch this other mother and her four-month-old baby. We are providing food for this baby, and yet his arms and legs are little more than sticks. He keeps screwing up his face as though he wants to cry, but can’t seem to find the energy to do so.

The mother smiles shyly at me when I ask what else we can do to make sure her baby is healthy. “Nothing,” she says. “You all have done enough.” She explains her husband sends her some money once in a while, but it is never enough. She wants to work, but her kids are too small. I look at her and see this exhausted young girl with four kids, struggling to come to terms with being a mother, when she is hardly over being a teenager herself.

We sit in silence for a while, as I watch the four kids arrange themselves around her and fall asleep in the heat, each one making sure at least one little hand touches her, almost to reassure themselves that their mother will not suddenly disappear while they are asleep.

I am broken from my reverie when she suddenly she says with uncharacteristic force, “I really want to do something for my children. I want them to grow up and be independent.”

Just for a second the fatigued expression changes, and I see a determined young woman emerge.

Dreams – how powerful they can be.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Meet Lenard, From Manila, Philippines

"When I received my first shoes from my sponsor, I was very happy. My mama chose it for me but I knew that it was from my sponsor. I wore it to school and I was very proud that I had a pair of new shoes.” – Lenard, age 8

Photo by Joel Abelinde, from Children International's agency in Manila, Philippines.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Delivered Right to Your Inbox

posted on behalf of Sarah Trapp

We hope you’ve had a chance to read through the May edition of eNews, and we hope you’ve enjoyed every last word and picture. If you haven’t had a chance to look it over, check your email inbox. I bet it’s sitting there, just waiting for you. Here’s a quick taste of some of the uplifting, informative and heartbreaking stories we bring to you this month:

CI News at Work – Get to know three of our awesome Communication Coordinators and the work they do in this photo piece.

A Child’s Life in Manila – Read the story of a strong little man who works to support his family by collecting garbage on the streets of Manila.

Because of our dedicated Enews readers, Rico now has a sponsor!

Mind Over Poverty – There’s nothing we like more here at Children International than a great success story. With help from a loving sponsor, Jenny in Honduras is working her way towards a Masters Degree in Psychology.

But wait! There’s more! But you’ll have to open eNews to see the other great articles in store for you. Happy reading!

Photo by Christopher Balallo in Manila.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I’m not a scientist, so I can’t begin to explain to you the technical reasons why the frail fibers in a rope become able to sustain great amounts of weight when they are combined…but I know it’s a fact.

The power of working together….

Just last week we saw three of our blog readers step forward and sponsor another child. Aside from the dramatic change this will produce in the lives of the three newly-sponsored children and their families, these three sponsorships have added their strength to the larger effort in which Children International is involved: the effort to eradicate child poverty.

Of course we know the problem is bigger than any one person or even any one organization can solve. But change is happening and good is being done, all through the combined efforts of individual sponsors. Your collective efforts have literally transformed communities.

So I’m asking you to help us add some fibers to the rope. Bringing about change is as simple as sharing the excitement of sponsorship with a relative, neighbor or co-worker. Best of all, we’ve provided an exciting new tool to help you do this.

Visit today and set up your personal campaign. Each new sponsor you recruit equals a real child living in real poverty who is suddenly given hope for the future.

Once you’ve recruited your first sponsor, please come back to the blog and let us know. We’d like to celebrate with you!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Multiplying Efforts to Subtract from Poverty

One of the most powerful things the sponsorship program does to combat poverty is help children have the supplies they need so they can go to or stay in school.

Now one of our great sponsors, Heather, would like to go the extra mile. She is organizing a drive to help gather large quantities of school supplies for sponsored children…and she’d like your help.

“I need people that are willing to organize a drive (or maybe willing to donate a lot by themselves). They can contact me regarding what they can collect and by what time (and where I need to meet them to get the stuff),” says Heather.

The items Heather is looking for are school supplies, pencils, pens, notebooks, coloring books, crayons, children’s books and backpacks. So if you’re up to the challenge, contact her at

Thanks, Heather!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

You Did It!!!

You (our sponsors) are truly awesome people!

Within a matter of hours of posting the "What It Means to Be Alone" story, I'm thrilled to report that both Mwanza and Lavmo have found sponsors! Just was only a few days ago that these five orphans literally had no future. Now, thanks to people like you who really care, they have a future -- and it's a bright one!

Thanks to our special sponsors who opened their hearts to Mwanza and Lavmo (and their brother and sisters)!

What it Means to Be Alone

I just returned from nearly three weeks in Lusaka, Zambia, where my colleagues and I spent many hours working in the desperately poor communities of Chibolya and Kanyama. Children International’s community centers have made a remarkable difference in the less than four short years we’ve had a presence there.

One of the most touching stories I encountered was that of Mary and her four younger brothers and sister: Mwanza, 12, Clever, 9, Manase, 7, and Lavmo, 5. Mary is just 14, and she’s been both mom and dad to her siblings for nearly as long as any of them can remember.

These five children live completely alone. No relatives care for them. In fact, when their mom died and left them the tiny shack where they live, their relatives showed up just long enough to take whatever furniture was in the house and then left the children to fend for themselves.

One of Children International’s volunteers lives nearby, and she does what she can to look after the children, who survive any way they can. Mary goes through the neighborhood looking for opportunities to wash dishes or do laundry for her neighbors, and the older boys, Mwanza and Clever, roam the streets looking for odd jobs or just begging for food.

The day before we visited these orphans, Clever had gone to the city market to beg. When darkness fell, it was too dangerous for him to go home – so he slept all night in a ditch in the city market. Nine years old.

We’re excited because we’ve found sponsors to help Mary, Clever and Manase get on the right track. You should have seen Mary’s smile when she realized she would be able to fulfill her dream of going back to school!

But we still need to help Mwanza and Lavmo. Would you consider sponsoring one of them today? It’s bad enough to be a child living in desperate poverty…but it’s even worse to be all alone.

If you’d like to sponsor one of these children, please drop an email to We’ll handle your sponsorship personally.

Photo by Scott Cotter.

Monday, May 5, 2008

What Makes Carlos Happy?

Posted on behalf of Sarah Trapp.

Sponsorship allows children like Carlos (left) to be carefree and happy.

Working with sponsored children is one of the many highlights of our jobs with Children International. Our Communications Coordinators have the fortune of working with them on a daily basis. Patricia Huerta, our Communications Coordinator in Guayaquil, Ecuador must have gotten a kick out of interviewing 5-year-old Carlos Parrales. When she asked him what he likes to do for fun and what makes him happy, this was his candid response:

“I like to ride my bike and to go fast and to eat fast too. I like to eat chicken, fish and I don’t like to eat pork.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Reporting assistance and photos by Patricia Huerta, Communications Coordinator in Guayaquil, Ecuador.