COMMUNICATING WITH STUDENTS
Your sponsored student loves to hear from you, and at Impact Hope, we believe communication with your student is invaluable.
For a variety of reasons, Impact Hope requests that sponsors only communicate with their students through the approved process of communication below. Our utmost goal is to protect the students we serve, as well as the generous sponsors who make our work possible. Thank you for partnering with us to achieve this goal!
Sending cards and letters:
You can expect to hear from your student 1-2 times a year. We encourage communication to your students as well. It can take some time, as letters and packages generally are taken over with us on trips to Rwanda 2-3 times a year.
Make sure your student’s full name is on the envelope. For the return address, please use your name and the Impact Hope address: P.O. Box 632, West Linn, OR 97068.
Other forms of communication:
Unfortunately, social media and email contact can create confusing or damaging situations for both students and sponsors. Therefore, no email or social media contact should be made. We make the same request to our students.
If any correspondence raises any issue that troubles you and that you feel needs specific attention, please let us know, as our team is best placed to assess and provide the support needed.
To protect the identity of our sponsors, we do not share your contact information directly with your sponsored student, and again, we strongly recommend that you do not communicate with your student via internet. We wish to protect you from your contact information becoming known to friends, relatives or neighbours, who may look to exploit your generosity.
If you are contacted by your sponsored student, his or her family or a community member outside of communications sent by Impact Hope, we ask that you not respond and immediately contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (503)673-3905.
Gifts and additional funds:
Many sponsors do like to send gifts or provide additional funds, and it has to be said that children here as anywhere love to receive them. However, in Impact Hope’s particular situation gift giving can also be a source of problems. These tend to fall into 3 main areas:
A. Perceived fairness
Because we work under the jurisdiction of the UNHCR (United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Refugees), Impact Hope must be careful to abide by the established principles and practices of fairness. The arrival of anything that looks lavish or that could mark the student or family as specially favoured has to be avoided.
The next issue is that of logistics – getting things to the students. We can take letters and gifts to students on our travels there 2-3 times a year. If you would like to send something directly to our field worker in Rwanda, please contact us for that information.
C. The cost of the gift
Sponsors do like to be generous, but this has risks. Impact Hope aims to help the students become upright, educated, independent, involved contributors to their developing society. We want to do nothing that will encourage them to become dependent, to link sponsorship with personal gain or to equate a sponsor’s care and friendship with access to money or expensive presents. Please do not think of sending gifts such as phones, gift cards, and the like. Generosity on this scale has the potential to be disruptive and damaging not only to the individual concerned but to the community in which they live. Accordingly, no gift should exceed $20-$30 in value. The old cliché that ‘It’s the thought that counts’ is still often very true. We do not want to turn the students into people who value a gift by its cost.
So yes, gifts can be sent and are welcome, but to maximise their impact, they should be rare, limited to a birthday, a special event or success and should follow the value suggestions here.