SPONSORSHIP AT CCF
A. The children in CCF’s sponsorship program are drawn from two main groups: they may be residents in one of our facilities or they may live with their own families and communities. All of them are in full-time education programs and in CCF’s overall care, which extends to their nutrition, health care and safety. Of the children in our residential care, not all of them are orphans but they will come from a high-risk domestic situation or have family unwilling (or unable) to care for them properly.
Whenever possible we try to maintain family ties as it is part of CCF’s core philosophy that you can’t lift a child out of poverty and leave the siblings and parents behind.
To qualify for this program, the family must not be in receipt of aid from any other NGO, and the parents must commit to:
- Ensure the child attends school every day
- Stop the child from working, such as garbage scavening or street selling
- Do their best to provide a safe home-life, ideally free of alcoholism, domestic violence, gambling addictions and substance abuse.
It’s best to set expectations in your first email. If you are unable to write more than one or two times a month, it is fine to say so. Disappointment only occurs when an expectation is not met and our children understand if you have a busy schedule, travel or other priorities. Whatever the arrangement is, once made with the child, it is important to do your best to keep to it. Your child will likely respond to your email within a week (though sometimes it can be a bit longer if our translators have a backlog or there is a major vacation period) and may occasionally just write to say hello. You set the pace.
Please also note that our Sponsor Relations Officers, who translate your emails, keep a record of correspondence so do not be surprised if you receive a gentle reminder email if you haven’t written for 2 or 3 months!
In addition to this, however – please note this very important excerpt from our Sponsor Guidelines:
Nearly all CCF children have lived with inconsistency and in many cases abandonment. The arrival of email tells them that someone out there cares for them for their own sake. No contact for weeks or months on end can result in hurt feelings and a lessened self-esteem. Even if your email simply states that you are busy, that they are in your thoughts and you will write a fuller email later, then it does wonders. No-one wants to see any of the children hurt, however we recognize that sometimes sponsors, with the best will in the world, simply run out of the time or impetus needed to sustain the writing relationship.
To address this situation, CCF operates a four-month rule. When a sponsor has not been in touch with their sponsored child for 4 full months, then CCF will assume that the active sponsorship is at an end. It would be unfair to deny the child access to a communicative sponsorship, so he/she may be paired with an alternative sponsor or pen pal in such situations. In practice, this is rare and most sponsors grow closer through time. In such a case, the previous sponsor remains free to write to the child on a pen-pal basis. You can also opt to stop your payments or request a refund; otherwise your payment will be used for overall program expenses.
CCF shares a commitment to all children in our care that we will support them until they are self-sustainable – no matter what their dream may be, and no matter how long it takes to get there. There is no cut-off age and no set rule book. If children are academically able we will support them throughout University and with job placements (see below for more on University). If not, we will look to internal or external vocational training opportunities or job placements
Our kids are motivated. They are motivated to improve their own lives and, overwhelmingly, they are motivated to improve the lives of their families, their community and their Cambodia.
With CCF’s guidance and holistic range of support, we are able to foster this motivation into results. We have an over 97% retention rate of our students each year.
See more in our Sponsor Guidelines (page 9 onward).
With CCF enjoying its thirteenth year in operation, more and more young children who once toiled in the Steung Meanchey garbage dump are nearing adulthood. Part of CCF’s commitment to creating tomorrow’s leaders is a pledge that we will support the youth who reach University through their degrees. And, wow, our kids really have responded to that pledge! CCF currently has 131 students in University. This number presents a big funding challenge for us, however, it’s exactly the sort of problem we want to have!
Many sponsors, having shared in their sponsor child’s journey at CCF, are interested in continuing their support to University.
Part of our funding plan to cover this expense is to package University costs as 4-year scholarships for each student. We have determined that the average cost for a four-year degree is $10,800USD. This includes; university tuition fees, study materials, textbooks, shared laptops and tablets, career guidance, job placement support, and transportation costs. Therefore, the cost of providing a “scholarship” will be $10,800. And, of course, payments of a lesser amount will still be gratefully received into our general University Fund.
Our usual childcare costs are not factored into the $10,800 figure, and we encourage sponsors to continue sponsorship through University. This is because the children receive the same level of childcare, shelter, nutrition – and also continue their CCF education while they’re at University – with continued English, leadership and extra-curricular classes, as well as internship opportunities.
If sponsors are unable to contribute the full amount (or any extra), CCF remains committed to sending our children to University should they be successful in their application. We will seek funding from external partners, those interested in providing a University Scholarship, or supplement University costs from our general fund.
We are aware that CCF’s sponsorship option is comparatively expensive and sponsors are under no obligation to contribute any more.
Although your sponsor relationship is one-to-one, your monthly contributions go into a wider pot to ensure we can provide the same level of care and support to all of the children enrolled at CCF. Aside from the regular communication we aim for there to be no difference in service to the sponsored children and unsponsored children in our care.
Almost every sponsor thinks of visiting their sponsor child and every child would love a visit. We are happy when sponsors are able to come here and surprisingly many have done just that. If you intend to visit, let us know as far in advance as you can and we’ll do what we can to help. Once we know that you’re coming, we’ll send you some information about the country and the city that we hope you’ll find useful. Vichet would love to hear from you if you are interested in visiting.
One important point though. It sometimes happens that sponsors plan surprise or short notice trips at times when the children are on holiday. CCF is very supportive of family links and family togetherness is seen as very important of some of the main national festivals, such as Khmer New Year (April) and Pchum Ben (October). So please always check your intended visit dates with us before you commit. We don’t want you or the children to be disappointed.
And please do not just turn up at one of our facilities. We’re sure you’ll understand that we take the safety and stability of our children very seriously and staff will not allow access to anyone who is unannounced, unexpected and unescorted.
Many sponsors do like to send gifts and it has to be said that children here – as anywhere – love to receive them! However, in CCF’s particular situation gift giving can also be a source of problems. These tend to fall into 3 main areas:
Perceived Fairness. CCF has to be careful not to do anything that might cause jealousy or tensions between children or within families, neighborhoods or communities. The arrival of anything that looks lavish or that could mark the child or family as specially favored must be avoided.
Logistics. The next issue is that of logistics – getting things here. The standard mail is just not secure and courier services, which you can be sure will get through, such as DHL or FedEx, are expensive. You might be surprised to know that almost anything can be obtained locally here in Phnom Penh. If you let us know what it is that you’d like to provide for a birthday, to celebrate becoming an award-winner or something for another special event or achievement we can almost certainly source it, get it and give it on your behalf. If you do decide to send a gift, contact Yimey in advance for a CCF address to which you can send it and we will take it from there.
The Cost of the Gift. Sponsors do like to be generous, but this has risks. CCF aims to help the children in its care become upright, educated, independent, involved contributors to their developing society. It wants to do nothing that will encourage them to become dependent, or especially, to link sponsorship with personal gain or to equate a sponsor’s care and friendship with access to expensive presents. Please do not think of sending gifts such as cameras, IPods 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 individual gift should exceed $50 in value. The old cliché that ‘It’s the thought that counts’ is still often very true. We do not want to turn the children into people who value a gift by its cost. We need you to understand this and to help us with it.
Where your sponsorship money goes...
- Education Supplies
- Extra-curricular Activities
- Around-the-clock Care
- Vocational Training
- Free Healthcare
- Free Maternal Care
- Nursery and Daycare Drop-ins
- Emergency Support
- Small Business Training
- Debt Re-financing
- Housing and Security
- Clean Water
- Subsidized Rice
- Social Work Team
- Social Events