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What is TEAR Fund's role in child development? Wherever poverty affects adults it strikes children all the more. Adults grow ill - children die. Adults go hungry - children starve. Families are dislocated - children despair.
TEAR Fund's child development programme is part of an international network of Christian organizations in Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Korea and the United States. Our common goal is to communicate the Gospel through practical concern and Christian education.
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Who is Compassion International?

Compassion International is the child development partner of TEAR Fund New Zealand. It is a Christian agency with 50 years development experience and part of an international network represented along with New Zealand. For more information on other Compassion International offices select the country of choice below

Australia
Canada
France
Italy
Netherlands
New Zealand
South Korea
Switzerland
United Kingdom
The head office is in Colorado Springs, USA. 
The programme helps over 720,000 children in 24 countries.
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Who benefits from child development?
By helping children you assist families and their communities. Children are the heart of any community and represent its hope for the future. Help directed to children spreads out like the ripples on a pond - benefiting the child first, then the family, and ultimately the whole community. If children can be kept healthy, given a good education and the opportunity to develop their skills, they can help the communities from which they come to break out of the poverty cycle.
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How does it work?

All child development programmes are administered through evangelical churches, missions and other Christian organizations. The money you give is forwarded each month to the programme in which the child you support is enrolled and makes a vital contribution to his or her welfare. Our auditors make regular visits to these programmes to ensure that the money is being used as intended. The church in the community is strengthened as members are equipped to participate in a programme that reaches its poorest people.
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How is the money spent?

It is not sent directly to the child or the child's parents - except in a few exceptional circumstances. Instead the money is sent each month to the local project. There it is used wisely to provide a whole range of facilities for the child. These can include:

Education at a church-run school in areas where there are few if any government schools · Books, classroom and games equipment · Scholarships for children from poor families to continue their education. · Health screening · Student centres providing children help with their studies · Clubs and camps for children and young people · Supervised home work and tutoring · Nutritious meals · Hostels for children receiving education away from home · Special help for children who are physically or mentally disabled · Christian training through Sunday school or Bible classes. In all cases there is careful supervision by regional staff and local pastors.
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What about the community?

The provision of the facilities just mentioned means the community benefits as well as the child. For example, some church-run schools are only able to function because a number of their pupils are supported through the Child Sponsorship Programme, thus contributing to the welfare of the whole community. It is true also in the provision of meals, access to health clinic's and other facilities resulting from our programmes.

By teaching the children the rudiments of nutrition and simple agriculture, we also ensure that the community gains long-term benefits when the children become adults and put what they have learned into practice. When children learn to read and write they often teach their own parents, many of whom are illiterate. So the rest of the family and the community receive real and long-lasting benefits as a result of the programmes.
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Is TEAR Fund Child Sponsorship a Christian programme?

Yes. TEAR Fund believes in a development programme addressing not only material resources and well being, but also spiritual needs including a personal faith in Christ. However, the children are not required to be Christians in order to be sponsored. They come from a variety of backgrounds.
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How much of my $48 goes to support the child I sponsor?

The Tear Fund/Compassion programme is one of the most cost-effective programmes of its kind in the world. At least 75% goes to the field for child development services. A fully audited financial statement is available on request.
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Does the child I sponsor receive my support in cash?

No. We have learned that giving cash directly to children or their parents is not the best way to help. Your support is used to provide services, benefits and opportunities for the sponsored child - such as education, health care, some meals, school supplies and clothing.
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Can I choose the gender, age or country of the child I sponsor?
Yes. Many people ask to sponsor a boy or girl of the same age and gender as their own children or grandchildren. Others have an interest in a particular country or area.
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How does a child qualify for sponsorship?

Project staff look for children who are unable to stay in school, in poor health, at risk, in single parent families or in the care of grandparents. A church, local clinic, schoolteachers or others who know the conditions of a family can refer children. The family is then interviewed about their quality of life. The child and the parents must agree the child will attend Christian teaching and other project activities. They must also be willing to write and receive letters.
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Who can be a sponsor?

Any one person or group who is willing to support and encourage sponsored children and their families can sponsor a child. This can be individuals, home groups, work-mates, churches or Sunday schools, friends, neighbours or clubs.
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What happens if I cannot maintain the payments or decide to stop my support?

We recognise for a variety of reasons you may not be able to maintain regular payments. In these circumstances we will ensure that the support for the child is covered from other funds for a limited time.

However, after continued non-payment we will contact you and offer you the option of making up the payments or canceling your support. Where there are cases of anticipated temporary difficulty over payments, we are very willing to talk this through with you, so please contact us.

If for any reason you wish to withdraw from the programme, you are free to do so at any time. You may ask a friend or relative to take over the sponsorship from you. All we ask is that you think and pray before making such a decision, as we believe this should not be taken lightly. In these circumstances, the child you have been supporting will be found another sponsor.
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Are one-to-one sponsorship funds used for community development?
 
No. Sponsorship funds are used only for child development. Complementary programmes contribute to community development. 
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Can I visit the child I sponsor?
Yes, please contact TEAR Fund (0800 800 777) at least 2 months before your intended visit. We will contact the field country and organize this for you. 
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How often can I write?

You can write as often as you like. We suggest you write at least twice a year. Letters should be simple and short. Normally you can expect a letter from your sponsored child two or three times a year. A project worker may write one of these on behalf of the child. Write to your sponsored child today. Click here
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How often do I get an update on my sponsored child?

Every two years you will receive a new photograph and a profile update which may include information about your sponsored child's circumstances such as primary caregivers, additions to the family, and general changes to his or her life.
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Can I send gifts to the child I sponsor?

Many of our sponsors include paper items of interest for the child in their letters. This is approved provided whatever you send will fit into an envelope. Larger gifts are discouraged because there is no guarantee that they will arrive - pilferage is rife in many developing countries. You are welcome to send a monetary gift. We suggest not more than twice a year with a limit of $30 each time.

You also need to be aware in many countries birthday celebrations are not part of the culture and if you would like to send something, a family gift would be much appreciated. This will also recognise the importance of the child's family. If for any reason you wish to support the family or project with a larger monetary gift, we would contact the country office to check what would be appropriate under the circumstances. 
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How long can I sponsor a child for?

This can vary widely depending on many factors. Typically a child begins at the age of four and continues until the age of 18, although some stay in the programme longer. This is because in many developing countries, children move up to the next school only when they reach the required standard. This means some are still at primary school into their late teens.

A child will sometimes leave the programme early, occasionally at very short notice. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as the family moving to a district where we do not have a child development programme, or because the child's circumstance improved sufficiently for there to be no further need of financial help. Occasionally an entire programme may have to be closed for political or administrative reasons. All alternatives are examined before this sort of action is taken. We always try to give as much notice as possible in cases such as these.
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What happens when the child I support leaves the programme?

When the child leaves the programme, whether at the end of their schooling or earlier, we will usually let you know in time for you to write a final letter to the child, after which no more correspondence will be possible. In exceptional cases it may not be possible to tell you until after the child had left. When your sponsor child leaves the programme we would be delighted if you then felt able to help another needy child.
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In what countries do you work?

Currently we work in 24 countries divided into four areas:

Africa: Bakina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda.
The Caribbean: The Dominican Republic, Haiti.
The Americas: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru.
Asia: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand
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TEAR Fund globally