Empowering the Youth of Liberia
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Sponsorship » Sponsorship FAQ

Sponsor a Child - Frequently Asked Questionss

What does being a sponsor mean?

It means making a commitment to donate a certain amount of money to help with the cost of education, room, and board for a student at the Liberia Mission. The student you are sponsoring will write twice a year. Once a year you will receive a picture of your sponsor student. As a sponsor, you may correspond with your sponsored student - please see 'How do I write my student?'.

How is my sponsorship money used?
Your sponsorship money is used to pay for the education, room and board, clothing, and medical care of the students at Liberia Mission. Sponsorship begins at $32 a month. Because it costs so much more per month to provide quality care and education, we do assign more than one sponsor per student. If you prefer to be your student's only sponsor, please contact us for more details.

Does my money go directly to my student?
No, the money you send does not go directly to that student. We cannot, in good conscience, allow a student who has more sponsors to eat better, to be housed better, or to receive a better education than a student who has less supportive sponsors. Therefore, sponsorship monies go into a general fund that supports all of the students.

If there is a general fund, why am I assigned a student?
The student that you are assigned is your personal link to Franciscan Works + Liberia Mission, and you become that student's link to the greater world. The student will feel gratified that you have chosen to take a particular interest in his or her well-being.

Why do support and letters go to Chicago, IL?
Franciscan Works' U.S. office is in Chicago, IL. There we handle sponsorship, accounting, fundraising, and volunteer recruitment activities.

May I send money directly to Liberia?
No, all donations should be sent to Franciscan Works where they are sent to the Liberia Mission. Gifts can also be processed through www.franciscanworks.org. FYI - Liberia is a third-world country which means no infrastructure (no postal service, electrical grid, sewer/water system).

May I send extra money to my sponsor student?
Through many years of experience, we have observed that personal monetary donations to a sponsored student, little as they may be, cause serious problems between those who receive money and those who do not. With your monthly donation, we are able to provide care that allows all our youth to work, study, and grow in relative equity with one another - free of distractions. For this reason, we cannot accept and deliver personal monetary donations directly to your sponsored student. If you care to give more than you have agreed for a month, it will go into the general fund to be used for tuition, room, and board for all the students.

Please make checks payable to 'Franciscan Works'. On the memo line of the check, please note your sponsored student's full name and the months that the payment is for. You will not receive a monthly bill for payments due. Payments may be made monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. At any time, you can sign up for online 'recurring' donations - the most convenient method of payment.

What if my student leaves the program?
Occasionally a student will leave the program. If this happens, we will notify you of the departure, try to find a student similar to the one who has left to connect you with, and send you information on your new student.

Why is my student's name spelled in different ways?
When students are registered they are often too young or do not know how to spell their own names. A guardian will spell the name for the student, as best as he/she can. Later the spelling may be determined to be incorrect because a family member learned how to spell it correctly or the student's birth certificate has been found.

I want to visit my sponsored student!
Great! Sponsors can visit their sponsored student in-person through organized visits to the Mission. Please visit the volunteer page or contact us for more information.


Communicating with your Sponsored Child

How often should I write to my student?

You may write to your sponsored student as often as you like. You will receive two letters from your sponsored student per year, and we encourage you to write, even if it's just a brief message

How do I write to my student?
You can email your student directly from your sponsorship account - go to www.franciscanworks.org and click 'Sponsor Login' (upper right), enter your email and password (default is 'sponsor'), click 'Sign In', then click 'Write …'. Don't forget to include pictures. If you have questions about sending an e-letter from your sponsorship account, please contact us.

Letters can also be sent to our Chicago/Skokie office. Our office makes several trips a year to the Liberia Mission and will deliver your letter directly to your sponsored student.  Please send your letters to the office with your name and your sponsored student's name.

Can I send photographs to my student?
Certainly! We recommend you send a picture of yourself and your family in the first letter so your sponsored student can see who is writing them. Uploading photos to your e-letter in your sponsorship account is simple. Once you get into the e-letter, simply click on the browse box and choose which photo it is you want to include. (Max of 3 per e-letter). If you are mailing a letter to our office, please remember to include your name and your sponsored student's name on the photo.

May I send a package to my sponsor student?
Yes. We recommend something small in size and practical. The more expensive and elaborate the gift, the more of a commodity it becomes - and it could be stolen and/or sold. Some examples of appropriate gifts would be stickers, socks, small prayer books, deflated soccer ball with pump/needles. Small gifts to Liberia are delivered by volunteers traveling to the Mission, which happens a few times a year. Please contact us if you would like to send a package.

May I contact my sponsored student directly by phone, Facebook, Skype, or other on-line channels?
Franciscan Works does not authorize any form of direct contact (phone, Facebook, Skype or other social media) because of potential risks to both parties. Franciscan Works encourages sponsors to write to their sponsored student using the online form in your personal sponsorship account or by mail. Social media sites can be unsafe environments for students, and Franciscan Works is unable to monitor these online communications. Ensuring the safety and protection of all students living in the community is of paramount importance to Franciscan Works.

Why can't my letter be sent directly to my sponsored student?
Your letters and your sponsored student's letters are reviewed by Franciscan Works + Liberia Mission staff to ensure that both parties are protected from inappropriate content, abuse, and any fraudulent activities, as well as to explain any language differences. Our 'Policy for the Protection of Beneficiaries' strives to ensure the best for the students we serve and we thank our sponsors for their continued support in maintaining a sponsor-student relationship that is both appropriate and safe. Your cooperation by not including your address, email, or phone number in your letter allows us to protect your privacy.

Will I hear from my student?
Yes! The Liberia Mission staff will coordinate a time to write an e-letter with your sponsored student. Also, students will handwrite letters to their sponsors twice a year. You will receive an updated photo once a year. You will see their personalities come out in their notes and how much they have changed through the pictures. These will give you a closer connection to your sponsored student as you begin to recognize their interests, aspirations, and challenges.

Why does it take so long for correspondence?
Liberia is a very undeveloped country with no infrastructure so correspondence with Liberia Mission is primarily via the internet, which is unreliable and slow. Our staff on-site in Liberia will work with your sponsored student to answer your e-letters, but please allow a month for a reply given the relative unreliability of the internet in Liberia.

Why doesn't my student always answer my questions?
Often, when a student receives a letter from his sponsor, he saves it in a "special place" and sometimes takes it home to show his family. Twice a year, the Mission staff schedule a time for students to write letters to their sponsors and the student may not have the last letter from you with them and may not be able to remember the questions that were asked.