Having been asked about this many times we feel it necessary to qualify what “child sponsorship” means to HH4H. I realize many television commercials have depicted their sponsorships as a “pen pal” type relationship with a “child specific” sponsorship.
Click here to see photos of the children.
We, at HH4H do not subscribe to this line of thought. Here’s why. First of all, economic situation is so grave in Haiti we must address the needs of the whole over any one specific child.
Therefore, whatever resources we have available as an organization, will be made available to EVERY child at Voice of the Children. I realize people often desire a feeling of relationship with “their” child so they can better see what is going on with him/her. This is problematic in our view on a couple levels.
First and foremost, the ability to adequately translate and bridge the language barrier is very difficult and it would be very difficult for them to reciprocate any kind of significant communication with you. Second, we feel strongly that in an orphanage setting, community is what they are used to. Singled out and favored children often become the object of ridicule and persecution.
In such extreme poverty as Haitians live, favoritism invites all type of difficulties for the Directors, workers and other children. Therefore, our philosophy is that while your sponsorship IS per child, it is not “child-specific”. It will be spread out among ALL the children that ALL may benefit. Our hope and goal is all the children be sponsored so there will never be a deficit whatsoever.
If you wish to communicate with the children, by all means do so by letter. Our translator will be happy to read it to all the kids collectively. In return, one or more of the children may send our sponsors an open letter of thanks from time to time. We hope this philosophy makes sense and helps you understand the unique nature of the orphanage culture in a very poor nation.
How much does a child sponsorship cost?
Where does the money go?
Voice of the Children Orphanage has kids ranging in age from 2 to 18. The responsibility of providing for them through sponsorship entails the following primary areas:
Children in Haiti are often malnourished at worst and under-nourished at best in most cases. Our aim is to provide nutritional food daily for the children of the orphanage. The standard fair is rice and beans. But we want to expand that to economical alternatives that are healthy and delicious as well as cost-effective.
Spaghetti, “Haitian” dumplings are a favorite of the culture which is mixed with a fish for sauce that provides additional protein. We will also mix up the variety with special feedings of eggs, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and meat on a regular basis. Two-thirds of the monthly support for each child goes directly to the expense of feeding each child.
50% of Haitians cannot read or write and 80% of all Haitians do not have greater than a 6th grade education. Why? Unlike the United States and most developed countries, school is not free in Haiti for the most part. While tuition is not extremely high in Haiti on average, it is still very difficult for families to afford education when food is such a priority.
Orphans have little chance to receive an education outside of help from sponsorships in a country that 80% of its citizens live on less than $2 per day. Less than 1/3 of the monthly sponsorships will pay tuition, books and uniforms for the children.
Clothing and Haitian worker expense
If you are a parent you know the headaches associated with raising children as it relates to outgrowing and wearing out clothes and shoes. In addition, if you were mentally, physically and emotionally drained at times trying to discipline, feed and clean up after 2 or 3 children of your own, imagine 40+!
We have a very small staff at Voice of the Children compared to most orphanages. They are quiet, meek spirited men and women who go about their daily chores of love and care for the children. They help them with homework, wash their clothes, cook the food (and not on conventional ovens) and clean and maintain the space for a fraction of what one might imagine such child care would be worth in the U.S. or otherwise.