This is a list of the most frequently asked questions about the Partner Parents child sponsorship program:
Q: How is the Indian school system different than the U.S.?
A: Children in India can start school as early as age three. They continue through elementary and junior high (or middle school) in much the same way our children do here in the U.S. High School for students in India is 9th-10th grade. At the end of 10th grade, students take a very important examination called the “Higher Secondary Leaving Certificate” exam. If students pass this exam, they are able to continue on to 11th-12th grade (Higher Secondary School), which is somewhat equivalent to our Junior College.
Q: Why does the cost of sponsorship raise from $34/mo to $48/mo in 11th grade?
A: Higher Secondary School (11th-12th grade) has higher costs associated with it. Enrollment fees, teacher’s salaries, and books costs are all higher at this level.
Q: If school is only happening nine months of the year, why do sponsors pay 12 months?
A: In order to simplify billing, we have taken the annual cost of sponsorship and divided into twelve months. Since we manage schools in five different states with different schedules, it would be extremely challenging to manage stopping and resuming payments on so many accounts.
Q: What is the best way for me to communicate with my sponsored student?
A: There are three ways for you to communicate with your student.
- Log on to www.partnerparents.org and use the communication portal.
- Send an email to email@example.com and we’ll forward it on to our staff in India to deliver to your student.
- Send a letter to our office and we’ll send it along to India to be delivered to your student. We usually ship letters every couple weeks.
Q: What should I write about?
A: Students love to learn about you – so you can share lots of information. What kind of work do you do? How many children or grandchildren do you have? What is the community like where you live? What is your favorite season and why? What are your favorite memories from childhood? How do you celebrate Christmas? Easter? Thanksgiving? What are your favorite Bible stories? How has God made a difference in your life? Be creative, conversational, and help your student get to know you.
Q: If I want to send a gift, how do I do that and what is appropriate?
A: You can either send a physical gift or the gift of money. If you choose to send a gift to our office to forward on to your student, please keep it small and flat (thin books, stickers, bookmarks, pictures, etc.). Larger items are quite costly to send, and they tend to get broken or go missing at customs. Monetary gifts get sent directly to the student. We typically recommend sending a gift of $20 or less for students. You can also send monetary gifts to the family of a sponsored student. You can send monetary gifts through your account at www.partnerparents.org. You can donate with a debit/credit card by calling our office. You can also send a check to our office. Please make sure to include your student’s name and student ID# when sending checks).
Q: My sponsored child seems old for the grade he/she is in. Why is that?
A: There are several reasons that a child may seem old for the grade they are in. Sometimes children get a late start in school. Other times a child’s family may move often and the child has a hard time staying caught up. Some families need extra help around the home or the farm, so they pull their child out of school. And sometimes, a child just struggles with school.
Q: Why do some students live in hostels?
A: Some of our village schools only go through the elementary or junior high level. If a child wants to continue with their education at a higher level, sometimes they need to move to another village that has a high school. Other times, a child’s parents may be involved in ministry work that keeps them moving so much that stable schooling is nearly impossible. In these cases, we have hostels with loving dorm parents available for students.
Q: Can I contact my student on social media?
A: Sponsorship organizations around the world wrestle with how to monitor communication between sponsors and students. We strongly advise against contacting students on social media, email, etc. We take child safety and protecting our sponsor’s identities very serious.
Q: My sponsored student contacted me on Facebook. What should I do?
A: Our students are instructed not to contact sponsors except through the letter writing process we facilitate. You can ignore their social media requests, or gently remind them that BFTW doesn’t allow sponsors to communicate with students through Facebook.
Q: Can I visit my sponsored student?
A: Absolutely! We highly encourage sponsors to visit their sponsored student(s). We typically take two sponsor trips each year and we’d love for you to join. For more information CLICK HERE.
Q: Why am I not told the reason for my student dropping out of school?
A: There are challenges for children in India. Sometimes a parent needs the child to help support the family by working. Or there may be health reasons that require a child to give care to a sibling. Sometimes we get really great information about why a child leaves our program, other times we simply hear that they are gone. When we have information to pass along to sponsors, we are happy to do so. It’s really difficult when there isn’t any information to pass along to sponsors. It leaves the relationship without any closure. However, since there are so many students who are in need of sponsors we are happy to transfer your sponsorship to another child — and we’ll contact you with options to consider.
Q: What are the most common modes of transportation in NE India?
A: In the more remote villages, many people walk, ride bicycles, or animals. In larger cities people drive motorized vehicles (motorcycles, cars, etc.), ride bicycles, take taxis, etc.
Q: What types of employment do the parents of sponsored children have?
A: There are a wide variety of jobs that parents have in NE India. It depends on whether the family lives in the city or in a village. The bulk of our schools are located in villages. The main types of employment in those areas are Cultivation (farmer) Shifting Cultivation (a farmer who farms someone else’s land), Day Labor, and Carpentry. Other jobs that are available: Tailor, Driver, Teacher, Painter, Officer in the Army, Pastor, Mission Worker. Some make their living in very simple ways, such as making and selling bamboo mats.