Across SOS Children’s Villages worldwide, excitement is high whenever children receive their long-awaited parcels and letters from sponsors.
Every month, a box arrives full of parcels and letters from the SOS Children’s Villages National Office in Freetown. They are registered by the national sponsorship coordinator who keeps track of every ingoing and outgoing communication for each single child living in the three children’s villages of Sierra Leone.
A staff member from the SOS Village in Bo will make the five hour drive to Freetown to collect the parcels to bring back to the children.
The Village secretary informs the children they have received a letter or parcel from their sponsor, and they gather to receive their treasures.
“My new sponsor is only 19 and he likes football like me”, shares Steven, age 14, as he reads his two-page letter. Not far away, John’s birthday card electronically sings ‘happy birthday’ again and again, amusing the little one standing by him.
9-year-old Sarah is reading out loud the letter she has received from her 29-year-old sponsor. Her sponsor also sent her a birthday gift - a diary with a lock.
As she arrives home with a large smile on her face, Sarah excitedly hands her sponsor’s letter to her SOS mother, Helen. Though the sponsors’ letters are addressed to an individual child, the whole family is excited by the attention received from abroad.
Sarah’s mother explains she keeps all her children’s sponsors letters and cards in a safe place so they can take them along the day they leave the village. “We display the pictures we receive from the children’s sponsors in our parlour, as they are part of our family too”, explains Helen.
As Sarah admires her brand new ‘Hello Kitty’ diary with key, she asks her mother: “Can they make keys like this one here in Sierra Leone?”. She wants to be sure that no one will replicate her special key and read all the secrets her diary will soon keep safe.
It is clear that the importance of these exchanges are just as important to the children as they are to the sponsors . As one sponsor wrote to her sponsored child: “It’s always nice to know someone cares about you somewhere else in the world”.