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Letters & Packages

Benefits to Your Student

Students benefit tremendously from your correspondence.  It creates feelings of worth, value, and importance, as well as the opportunity to practice reading and writing skills.  You become a real part of her world and she can connect faces to the people helping her succeed.  With you in her life, she has outside support while in a system that often devalues the importance of women.  Be aware that newly sponsored students – indeed their families – have possibly never received or sent anything in the mail before, so be patient. Realize that this will be a learning experience for them as well.

Communication

First, and foremost:  NEVER SEND MONEY directly to Nicaragua!  This includes cash, checks, or money orders.  Someone can (and will) intercept the mail and none of it will get through, including anything stashed in packages.  All monetary gifts must go through our California office.

Because 100% of donations go to our students in Nicaragua, we do not have the financial capability to forward letters that are sent to our U.S. PO Box.  If you are able to write in Spanish, you are encouraged to do so.  Otherwise, online translators can make communication very easy.

Address for writing to your sponsored student:

your student’s name & her student number
por CÍRCULO DE AMIGAS
Barrio Linda Vista Sur Casa #32
Jinotega, Region VI
NICARAGUA, Central America

Some packages have accidentally traveled to Nigeria, so it is important to note “Central America” on the envelope.

Suggestions

Send short letters or bright greeting cards.  Postcards will need to be sent in an envelope, as the Nicaraguan post office may not deliver them otherwise.

Acknowledge your student’s school progress.  If they get a good grade (80+), or if a grade improves by five points or more, praise them!  Likewise, if they receive a poor grade, or if a grade drops by five or more points, tell them that you expect them to do their best work. If they’re an average students (and many are), still acknowledge their efforts; praise things like good attendance and attitude.

We particularly promote discussion of the following topics: family home gardening (especially of fruits and vegetables), importance of good nutrition & hygiene, extracurricular reading, and of finishing one’s education before starting a family. 

Describe your family members, your pets, and the type of work you do.  If you have children, list their grade level, favorite school activities, and hobbies/sports/pastimes you and your family enjoy.  We encourage sharing photographs of you and your family, especially those that show you reading or gardening.

Acknowledge letters you receive from your students. This shows that you truly value them, and that is often something they value as much as your financial support.

With everything, please use discretion.

Sending Packages

In general, we suggest you do not send packages to Nicaragua.  More often than not, packages incur a Customs charge that your student cannot afford.

If you do want to send a package, to avoid customs nightmares for your sponsored child, keep your packages under 4 pounds, under 42 inches (length plus girth), and $20 or less in value. Gifts that fit in large, padded envelopes are your best bet. Consider party favors that are sold in multiples; inexpensive fun and shared!

Other ideas: Colorful note paper; pretty pencils or pens; socks and T-shirts; bilingual magazines or small paperback books; jump ropes; and jigsaw puzzles (under 100 pieces).

Please do not send expensive gifts. Although the desire to do so is understandable, such gifts cause envy and ill will.

Your Student’s Responsibility

Students are required to write to you no less than four times a year.  While letter writing skills will vary student-to-student, they are not allowed to ask for extra money or gifts for any reason.  We ask that you refrain from inquiring directly about their needs, as this puts students in a position to break the rules we have established.  If you have a concern stemming from a comment made in a letter, please contact us for more information.  Our employees in Nicaragua know our students very well and can give you an understanding of what is going on in their lives.  For further information on how you can help your students more in their everyday lives, please read our Payments & Gifts page.  As always, we ask that you give what you can, when you can.