The Sponsorship Program plays an integral part in APUFRAM International’s fundraising efforts for the work of our partners in Honduras. At the present time, over 200 young people attending APUFRAM schools have personal connections to their “padrinos” in the United States through the program. These students’ sponsors make a commitment to donate a set amount of money which will be used to help provide them food, shelter, and the opportunity of an education. APUFRAM beneficiaries being sponsored range in age from pre-school through high school level and include the mothers at Margarita Cook.
Becoming one of our sponsors means:
– Being part of a special group of “padrinos.”
– Establishing a unique personal relationship with a child in need.
– Having the opportunity to meet your student in person.
– Providing your child a way to escape poverty through education.
– Watching your young person grow and achieve his/her goals.
– Interacting with our network of translators who will help you communicate with your child, if necessary.
How It Works
Individuals who choose to be sponsors are asked to donate $30 monthly (or $15 if they are students themselves). This is only a suggested amount—those who have the means are encouraged to give more, and lesser amounts are graciously accepted from those sponsors who are unable to send the suggested amounts. Sponsorship donations can be sent monthly, quarterly, annually or at whatever interval is convenient for the sponsor.
All sponsorship donations go into the general fund that supports all of the students at APUFRAM sites. In this way, each student receives benefits equally with no distinctions made between those children who have more supportive sponsors and those who don’t.
Why Assign Individual Students to Sponsors
If all sponsorship donations go into the general fund, the question is sometimes asked why individual students are assigned to our sponsors. The primary reason this is done is to give sponsors a personal link to the mission and to provide the children a link through their sponsors to another part of the world. Students are grateful that someone has a special interest in their wellbeing and progress in school. Through correspondence the student and sponsor can develop a personal relationship. The child will learn about life outside of their country, and the sponsor will learn about the realities of life lived in poverty and how they affect their student’s view of the world. Should sponsors have the opportunity to travel to Honduras to visit the mission, they will be able to meet and visit with their sponsored boy or girl.
How to Become a Sponsor
Anyone interested in sponsoring a child should notify the sponsorship coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or via postal mail at the following address:
APUFRAM International P.O. Box 10085 Russellville, AR 72812
If the interested individual has a preference with regard to age, gender, or educational level of a student, this should be specified in the correspondence. If they already know the name of the child or young person they would like to be assigned (perhaps they already met the child during a visit to the mission), they should inform the coordinator. After an assignment is made and the sponsor has been entered into the database, a confirmation letter will be sent to him/her. New sponsors will receive a letter with some personal information about their child and, in most instances, a photo of the student. Photos of the beneficiaries are usually taken annually after the first quarter of the school year (in May or June).
During Father Emil’s annual visits, he customarily carries with him individual sponsor sign-up forms which include photos and information about students in need of sponsorship. These are specially prepared for him by APUFRAM for use on his trip and are not always available to prospective sponsors at other times. If a person signs up to sponsor in this manner, their personal information and the name of their chosen student are forwarded to the sponsorship coordinator by Father Emil.
Coordination of the sponsorship program is now handled in the U.S. A group of volunteers with proficiency in Spanish support the program by translating the student and sponsor letters. When necessary, the coordinator communicates with APUFRAM staff and Father Emil concerning details of the program.
Corresponding with the Student
Sponsors usually receive letters from their students twice a year—once in the Spring after the beginning of the school year in Honduras and once after its end in November. These letters are translated by volunteers in the U.S. before being sent to the sponsors. Photos of the students are usually sent to their sponsors with the Spring letters.
Sponsors may write letters to their students as often as they wish. If capable of doing so, padrinos should write their letters in Spanish. If not, their letters are translated into Spanish by U.S. volunteers before being sent to Honduras, usually with short term volunteers or groups who visit the mission. Because the children love getting them, sponsors are encouraged to send photos of themselves and their families to their sponsored students. Cards celebrating special days in a sponsored student’s life (such as birthdays or holidays) may also be sent. All correspondence from a sponsor to his/her special young person should be sent to APUFRAM International at our address in Russellville.
Because there are few volunteer groups going to Honduras at this time, sponsors are asked not to send gifts for their sponsored children. It is cost-prohibitive for both APUFRAM International (due to shipping costs) and APUFRAM (due to customs fees) to ship gifts by FedEx. However, if sponsors have the opportunity to travel to Honduras to meet their students in person, they are encouraged to bring them a small gift. These gifts should not be extravagant, and it is best that at least part of the gift is something that can be shared with friends and classmates. If a sponsor wishes to buy clothing items for their student, it is advisable to purchase these items in Honduras after they have met the child.
Sometimes sponsors wish to give monetary gifts to their students on special occasions, such as birthdays or Christmas. Little as the amount may be, this type of gift may cause serious problems between those who receive money and those who do not. For this reason, personal monetary donations cannot be accepted for delivery to a particular child and should not be given to the student personally. Sponsors who wish to remember their children on a special occasion with an extra gift may either donate to the general fund or to the individual student’s boarding home in their honor.
Unique Program Makeup
APUFRAM International’s sponsorship program differs from other programs in a unique way. The children in our program receive sponsorship as a result of their enrollment in the APUFRAM educational program. Therefore, if a student is withdrawn from one of APUFRAM’s schools or boarding facilities, he/she is no longer eligible to receive assistance and, as a result, will lose sponsorship. This fact is the major cause of a higher than usual reassignment rate of students to sponsors each year, primarily after the start of a new school year. Most other sponsorship programs provide assistance to a child independent of where they receive their education and have strict age limitations. Because of this, their lists of sponsored children are much less likely to change dramatically from year to year, with the exception, of course, of the addition of new children to their rosters.
Students do not return to the APUFRAM program for various reasons. Maybe their parents or guardians decide they are needed to stay home to work in order to help support the family financially. Perhaps they are incapable of meeting the high academic standards expected of them in the APUFRAM system, or they could be unwilling to put forth the effort to succeed in the classroom. Living away from home is hard for many children, especially those who are very young; their desire to go forward in life must be very strong. Over the past ten years the reduction in donations from sponsors and donors in the U.S. meant that APUFRAM had to close some sites, reduce the number of children they were able to help at others, and ask for a greater contribution for tuition from the students’ guardians. All these factors contribute to the reality that some students are withdrawn from the program before they complete their education.
New sponsors should be made aware that, even though the majority of students return each year, it is always possible that their child may not. They may even quit the program in the middle of the year. Although this is quite discouraging for all of us, sponsors should be reminded that, even if it has only been for a short time, the caring support they have given to their sponsored students will have a positive influence on them throughout their lives.