You might not realize how important letter writing is to your child. Kids eagerly await their sponsor’s words of love and encouragement, reading them over and over to friends and family.

But have you ever wondered how your letters actually get there?

When Canadians mail their letters, they’re sent directly to our office in London, Ontario. The letters are skimmed to make sure there isn’t any personal information that could put you or the child you sponsor at risk. Then the letters are digitally scanned into our system. You can also write a letter online at My Compassion, so you can skip the step of mailing your letter to our office.

Your letter is then sent digitally to the national office in your child’s country. This is where our dedicated translators come in, reading through hundreds of letters from around the globe every week to translate them into their local language—not an easy task!

Cyrille in Burkina Faso with letters from his sponsor

“I love to keep my sponsor letters in two places. Recent letters are stored in a drawer of a wooden cupboard in our living room. I put the older letters in my old school bag that also contains my old school books. I love to look up the photos of my sponsors and I try to read their language. It makes me smile to feel important and loved through sponsors’ letters.” -Cyrille in Burkina Faso

Once translated, the letters are printed out. The scanning and printing is so high quality, you can barely tell it isn’t the original copy! Sending the letter digitally allows your letter to arrive much faster than if it is mailed. (Note that if you send paper gifts for your child, such as stickers, we will mail these!) The last step is delivering the letters to the Compassion centres where they’re placed in the open hands of an excited child to be read and cherished.

Letters from children in Ecuador waiting to be scanned and sent to sponsors. Each box is mail from one centre.

Letters from children in Ecuador waiting to be scanned and sent to sponsors.

More and better letters

When the child you sponsor receives your letter, he or she will write back within 60 days. In the past, children in many countries wrote on a set schedule three to four times a year, but now children will respond to each letter you send, for up to six letters a year. For example, if you write weekly for two months, your child will receive about eight letters from you. He or she will respond to all the letters received in those 60 days in one response letter. This means you receive letters up to six times a year! (But if children don’t receive any letters, they’re only required to write two letters a year.) The letters written every 60 days will then go through the delivery and translation process, so it will take a little longer than 60 days for you to receive them.

To make the letters from our young ones—from 3 to 8—a little more informational, we now have templates with helpful sections like fill-in-the-blank questions, prayer requests and questions and answers. Each template will be on a different theme, such as family, their favourite things, their house, etc. This will help you get to know them better even in their younger years.

We also want to help you better understand what daily life is like for the child you sponsor. So once a year, you will receive a letter from the church pastor, Compassion centre director, national director or other staff member that will give you an inside perspective on the country and community that you probably won’t get from your sponsored child’s letters.

Letters are a wonderful source of encouragement for your sponsored child.

Take a few minutes to bring some light into their day by writing today!

Write your child


This post was updated in November 2017 to reflect changes in our letter process. 

Aveleen Schinkel

Aveleen Schinkel

Aveleen is Compassion Canada's Senior Video Producer. Her passions include photography, writing, child advocacy and fine arts—and sampling tea from every country she travels to.