Maasai, Kenya, Child Community
My sponsored child’s community
Kenya is located on the beautiful coast of East Africa. It’s a land of diversity, with the Indian Ocean coastline, mountain ranges, savannahs, rich farm land, desert, rain forest and the Great Rift Valley. The national languages are English and Swahili. Its major city is Nairobi, Kenya’s capital and hub of East Africa. In contrast to the metropolitan cities are rural areas known as “up country,” and even more remote areas known as the “the bush.”
Of the 42 tribes in Kenya, the Maasai live most remotely “in the bush” in southwest Kenya in an area bordering Tanzania and the Maasai Mara game preserve. The Maasai are traditionally pastoralists, living in huts made of mud and cow dung. However, tribal leaders are now realizing the need for diversification, as frequent droughts destroy their livestock, which is their main financial means for food, clothing, education and other necessities.
Maasai are increasingly seeing the value and importance of education. They hope to see their children educated at least through high school, but for many families it is a financial struggle just to keep them in school through eighth grade. Walking an hour or more to an elementary school is common. Both government and private high schools are predominantly boarding schools. Attending high school is almost an impossibility for the vulnerable and/or orphaned students. Your sponsorship of a high school student will open a world of opportunity for a child.
Where do I mail letters for my sponsored child?
After writing your letter, put it into an envelope with the child’s name and ID number on the outside. Then place this envelope into a slightly larger envelope addressed as follows:
Maasai Child Sponsorship
Attn: Dori Cazier
(Child’s name and ID number)
PO Box 59322
00200 City Square
Writing letters shows your sponsored child that you care about them! Students in our program consistently ask if they could hear more from sponsors, so please do!
Please note: Our field teams review the contents for the children’s safety. Letters that do not follow these guidelines and contain culturally inappropriate subjects will NOT be passed along. Please check this guide carefully before writing your sponsored child.
Guidelines for writing letters
- Use two envelopes:
- enclose your letter in a smaller envelope, with the child’s full name and ID written on the front. Do not write your personal contact information/return address on this envelope.
- place the smaller envelope in a second larger envelope, with the mailing address written on the front. You can find this information on the back of the student’s profile card, on in the ‘My Child Sponsorships’ tab of your online account.
- Write often! Short, encouraging notes are greatly appreciated.
- Send photos so that they can see what you look like! We strongly recommend photos with neutral backgrounds, and with clothing or graphics that would not be offensive in the student’s cultural environment. Please do not include items that depict wealth such as your home, vehicle, or vacation site.
- Allow 6-8 weeks for mail to reach your sponsored child. We suggest you send Christmas correspondence no later than the end of August.
Please do not:
- include any cash, check, or any personal contact information such as your mailing or email address or phone number in your correspondence. Most of our fields do allow for you to connect directly once they’ve completed the program.
- send any packages to your sponsored child, as it will most likely not reach them. Any mail sent to the CMF US office instead of the address provided for the child will be returned to the senders.
- talk about meeting in person, unless you have confirmed travel plans with us that include meeting your sponsored child.
- make a direct attempt to evangelize the child. In some of our locations this could put our teams at risk.
Tips for writing letters
- Write clearly in simple sentences. Avoid slang or cultural references that may not be understood outside your culture. Jokes and humor rarely translate well!
- Consider these suggestions when writing your sponsored child:
- Describe the members of your family.
- Discuss your favorite activities, hobbies, and sports.
- Briefly share what you do at work, church, or school.
- Provide a general description of where you live (no specific address). Tell them about the climate and land type.
- Ask your sponsored child the same types of questions about what they like to do, where they live, and what they are learning in school. The information on their profile card can give you a few ideas on how to connect with them!
- We cannot guarantee that all mailed items will reach the field, but when they do, our field teams do their best to pass on letters as quickly as possible alongside their everyday work. Asking your sponsored child if they received previous letters might put unnecessary pressure on them.
Can I give a gift?
In wanting to meet local need most effectively, and for fairness among students in the program, we encourage only class-wide or program-wide gifts. Please contact us stating a suggested gift amount, and we will coordinate between you and the field where possible.
Examples of some gifts given so far have been customized notebooks, books for students in a class, special meals for one of the program events...we appreciate the generosity of all you who have given!
Will I be updated on my sponsored child?
Your sponsored child should write to you at least once a year.While many children understand the concept of exchanging letters, please understand that some might depend on an adult for suggestions on what to write and may not refer to the contents of your letter in their response. In many cases, the letters they write to you are the only letters these children are writing!
We at CMF will notify you any time we are made aware of a major event that occurs in the life of your sponsored child. You can also contact us at any time with a specific question regarding your sponsored child or their program, and we will get back to you as soon as we hear back from the field.
Questions? Please contact the CMF office by phone at 317.578.2700 or by email.
GENERAL SPONSORSHIP QUESTIONS
- Does sponsorship make a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- How can I reach a member of the CMF Child Sponsorship Team?
- How does sponsorship work?
- When and how did CMF start sponsoring children?
- Where does CMF sponsor children?
- How does CMF choose locations for sponsorship?
- How are children selected to be part of the sponsorship program?
- Do children have to be Christians to be in the program?
SPONSORSHIP SUPPORT QUESTIONS
- How much does it cost to sponsor a child through CMF?
- How much of the sponsorship fee is directly used for the program?
- What specific benefits do children receive during the time they are sponsored?
- Can a child have more than one sponsor?
- How do I get started sponsoring a child?
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR SPONSORED CHILD
- Where can I find more information about the child(ren) I'm sponsoring?
- How frequently will I receive updated information about the child I'm sponsoring?
- What happens if my sponsored child leaves the program?
- How long can children be sponsored?
- Where can I find my sponsored child's mailing address?
- How do I send something to my sponsored child?
- What kinds of things can I send to my sponsored child?
- Why can't I send a monetary gift to my sponsored child?
- Why can't I send anything larger than a 6" x 9" envelope to my sponsored child?
- Is it possible to meet my sponsored child?
- Why haven't I heard from my sponsored child?
QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR ACCOUNT
- Why haven't I received a bill for my sponsored child's support?
- What happens if I fall behind in supporting my sponsored child?
- How can I cancel my sponsorship?
- Where can I view my giving history?
- How can I get a receipt or an annual summary of my giving?
- How can I make a one-time sponsorship contribution?
- Can I enter payment information for my sponsored child?
- Why can't I see all of my account information online?
General sponsorship questions
Does sponsorship make a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Absolutely! A sponsorship provides food, education, medical services, and program costs, as those on the ground continue to serve vulnerable children and their communities in new, creative ways. All the children in our program are continuing schoolwork, though it might still look different than before the pandemic.
Q: Should I expect a letter or a thank you note?
A: Depending on the location, children may or not be able to gather again to write letters, or may be writing less often because team members need to visit individual households. We thank you for your understanding given the multiple challenges these families have recently gone through, during which most of our teams’ efforts have had to shift towards relief work.
If you would like an update on your sponsored child, or have any further questions, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.
How can I reach a member of the CMF Child Sponsorship Team?
Sponsor Relations Associates are available to take your calls between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST, Monday — Friday. Our office number is 317.578.2700. Or you may send an e-mail and a member of our team will respond as quickly as possible.
How does sponsorship work?
Child sponsorship is used as one part of a holistic approach to poverty, called Community Health Evangelism (CHE). Funds received through sponsorship are used to provide for the children’s medical and spiritual needs, as well as nutritious meals. While they are also used to pay for school fees, the child’s parents are still responsible for contributing a small amount toward that cost. This is a key principle of CHE: engage the parents in community involvement and empower them to learn how to provide for themselves.
Your sponsorship dollars are processed and receipted through CMF’s main offices in Indianapolis, Indiana. Our program allows for a one-on-one relationship with a sponsor, while pooling the gifts of all sponsors who support children in the same community. Funds are wired over to the respective fields on a monthly basis to cover the expenses for the children. However, sponsorship of a child is more than just financial support. We encourage sponsors to write to their children often and let them know what is happening in their lives. It is a tremendous encouragement to the children to hear from their sponsors and know that there is someone in another part of the world who loves them and prays for them.
This combination of financial support and encouragement instills a sense of hope in the children, and helps them to gain a solid education. This education can open doors to college, university or trade school, where the children – now young adults – can learn critical skills in order to gain meaningful employment. With an education and a good job, the cycle of poverty is broken; as adults with their own families, they can enjoy lives transformed through the power of Christ!
When and how did CMF start sponsoring children?
Christian Missionary Fellowship (CMF) was incorporated in 1949 as an evangelical missionary support organization. In the year 2000, CMF formed a new team to begin working among the urban poor in the Mathare Valley slum in Nairobi, Kenya. The team members met Wallace and Mary Kamau, Kenyan nationals and Christians, who shared a similar vision for the people of this area. In 2005, a partnership was established between CMF International in the U.S. and the Kamaus’ organization, Missions of Hope International (MOHI), in Kenya. One facet of that partnership was the creation of a child sponsorship program. The program began with just 158 children going to school in a two-room, rented building in the slums. Shortly before transitioning to its own separate organization in November 2020, our partnership with the MOHI program in Nairobi had grown to 20,000 children! CMF International’s Child Sponsorship program has also continued to grow beyond Nairobi, and now includes children living in impoverished areas of Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Brazil, Thailand, India and the Maasai and Turkana regions of Kenya.
Where does CMF sponsor children?
Currently, CMF has sponsorship programs in the Turkana region of Kenya; the Maasai lands of Tanzania; Abengourou, Ivory Coast; Piancó, Brazil; Chiang Mai, Thailand; India and the Maasai lands of Kenya.
How does CMF choose locations for sponsorship?
CMF child sponsorship is just one part of a holistic approach to transforming lives and communities, so CMF only begins sponsorship programs in fields where CMF team members have already been working, using the CHE strategy. We do not initiate sponsorship as a stand-alone program in a new field.
How are children selected to be part of the sponsorship program?
The process can vary from location to location, but generally, social workers evaluate children based on their specific needs. Orphans, vulnerable children and the poorest of the poor are recruited first. Other factors, such as family situation, living conditions or siblings who are already in the program, can also have an impact on recruitment.
Do children have to be Christians to be in the program?
No. Children or their families are not required to be Christians or to become Christians. However, students will participate in Christian-based programs and activities, and in some cases, children attend Christian schools.
Sponsorship support questions
How much does it cost to sponsor a child through CMF?
Generally, $38 per month will cover the needs of primary school children in our programs. In some fields, either $45 or $70 per month will cover the needs of students attending a boarding school.
How much of the sponsorship fee is directly used for the program?
Only 12% is used to cover U.S. administrative expenses, without which we couldn’t facilitate these programs. The remaining 88% of funds go towards local staff, providing and maintaining safe program facilities, medical care, spiritual development, nutritious meals, and various school-related costs.
What specific benefits do children receive during the time they are sponsored?
Children in our sponsorship program receive an education, nutritious meals (or nutritional supplements), medical care, and guidance in both spiritual and social development, most often paired up with both a social worker and the local church. Wherever possible, our local teams include families in CHE educational sessions such as preventative health or hygiene, directly impacting the children.
Multiple studies have shown that children who can count on holistic care are more likely to gain a higher education and/or develop specific skills that will enable them to gain meaningful employment and rise above a life of poverty.
Can a child have more than one sponsor?
Generally, a child can have only one sponsoring person, couple or family. We do allow relatives and/or small groups to collectively sponsor a child, but there still must be one individual selected to be the primary sponsor of record. Only the primary sponsor (or couple or family) will receive communications from and information regarding the child. Secondary sponsors will still receive their own receipts and statements for their support gifts.
How do I get started sponsoring a child?
Once you’re ready to select a child, click here to browse profiles of children who still need a sponsor. You can follow the prompts to process your sponsorship once you have chosen a child. Once your sponsorship is started you will receive a packet of information to help you in beginning a special relationship with your sponsored child.
If you want to support incredible, holistic care for children and are ready to give at a community level, you can consider becoming a community sponsor of Cornerstone or Hope Home. For a commitment of any amount, we will update you regularly on the program you are a part of!
Additionally, you can engage your church through a child sponsorship event! We provide everything you need so anyone in your church can choose a child to sponsor. They can look through profile cards with pictures on-site, select a child by age and gender, then sign up to sponsor him or her. If you are interested in hosting an event, you can reach out to our Community Partnerships Coordinator by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 317.578.2700 x1202.
Questions about your sponsored child
Where can I find more information about the child(ren) I'm sponsoring?
All of the information we have about your sponsored child is printed on the child’s profile card. If you’ve lost your sponsored child’s profile card or would like another one mailed to you, please contact our office at 317.578.2700 or email@example.com.
You can also view your child(ren)’s profile(s) online by creating or signing into your online account. PLEASE NOTE: If creating your online account for the first time, not all account information will display immediately. It could take up to one business day to complete the setup of your new online account.
Once you are logged in you can view information about your sponsored child, your donations and other information helpful in managing your sponsorship.
How frequently will I receive updated information about the child I'm sponsoring?
Your sponsored child should write to you at least once a year to let you know what is going on in his/her life. In addition, CMF will notify sponsors any time we are made aware of a major event that occurs in the life of your sponsored child. If you would ever like an update on your sponsored child, you are welcome to contact us, and we would be happy to reach out to our field team about that. It may take a few days, but we will get back to you!
What happens if my sponsored child leaves the program?
While we hope that your sponsored child remains in CMF’s child sponsorship program until his or her schooling is complete, sometimes circumstances mean they are unable to do so. In the best case scenario, families move to a different town because their financial situation would be improved, and they are able to thrive without the program. Of course, however, due to cultural differences, family issues, illness and harsh living conditions, children may stop attending school, often without any warning. You can rest assured knowing that your financial gift is supporting an incredible program with teams that have built relationships with these families, and do their absolute best to keep the children in the program.
We give children a three-month grace period if they stop attending school. During this time, the social workers and program managers are doing everything possible to get the child back in the program. During the time that a student is not attending, your donations continue to go toward covering the costs for children in the program. If the child doesn’t return after three months, we officially remove them from the program and connect you with another child in need of sponsorship.
If your sponsored child leaves the program for any reason, we will let you know as soon as possible, and immediately connect you with a new child to you so you can continue to participate in the blessings of transformation.
How long can children be sponsored?
Children in developing countries often do not start school at the same age as children in the United States, so it is hard to define a specific age range. In most cases, children can be recruited into the program as young as pre-school age and can remain in our program up to a year after graduating from high school.
Where can I find my sponsored child's mailing address?
Your sponsored child’s mailing address is located on the community information card that was sent with your new sponsorship packet. You can also find the address on your child’s community page by clicking their location here:
Abengourou, Ivory Coast
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Uttar Pradesh, India
You can also find your sponsored child’s mailing address by creating or signing into your online account.
From your My Account page, click on the “My Child Sponsorships” bar to see the profiles of each child you sponsor. Click on the “Letters/Gifts” tab below each child to see his or her specific mailing address.
How do I send something to my sponsored child?
Details on size restrictions and methods for mailing items to your sponsored child can be found on “How to Send Letters and Gifts”. However, due to the lack of reliability of mail in several locations due to COVID-19 mailing restrictions, we recommend holding on to mail for your sponsored child or children until we inform you it is possible again. Please remember that you can always contact us to ask for an update on your sponsored child.
What kinds of things can I send to my sponsored child?
When sending items to your sponsored child please remember to think in the context of where your sponsored child lives. Items should be simple, not extravagant. Large or expensive items may be stolen, and could put your sponsored child in harm’s way. The items below are suggestions; you cannot send all these things at once. It’s best to send one or two items at a time.
For an elementary-age student, you may send:
Family pictures, matchbox toy cars, crayons, colored pencils, pens, stickers, small note pads, hair clips, costume jewelry, and small, thin books, such as activity coloring books, devotional books and Bibles.
For a middle or high school student you may send:
Family pictures, colored pencils, pens, small note pads, hair clips, costume jewelry and also small, thin books, such as devotional books and Bibles.
Please do NOT send toys or stickers that depict snakes, spiders, tortoises, snails, frogs or scorpions. Please also refrain from sending stick-on tattoos of any kind. Please do NOT send any food or candy to your sponsored child. You should NEVER send checks, cash or personal contact information (e-mail address, home address or phone number) directly to your sponsored child. If these things are sent they will not be given to your sponsored child.
Please DO NOT SEND or BRING any items to your Kenyan sponsored child in ziploc or other types of plastic bags. Plastic bags are banned in Kenya. Envelopes or re-usable shopping bags are a better option.
For more information, please read more here.
Why can't I send a monetary gift to my sponsored child?
Giving money to people living in poverty reinforces a “handout” mentality and can lead to asking/begging for money in order to survive. While handouts may be of some help in the short-term, it can create a devastating dependence and does nothing to break the cycle of poverty. Our goal is to educate those living in impoverished areas and assist them in building the skills necessary to find employment and learn how to provide for themselves.
Why can't I send anything larger than a 6" x 9" envelope to my sponsored child?
Items that are large, heavy or appear to be expensive have a greater chance of being held in customs in the receiving country. Items held in customs are charged a tax or fee before they can be retrieved. Families do not have extra money to pay these fees, so any package held there will probably never reach your sponsored child.
Based on feedback from our field teams and experiences of our sponsors, we have determined that envelopes that are 6″ x 9″ or smaller have the best chance of being delivered to your sponsored child.
Is it possible to meet my sponsored child?
Yes! If you will be traveling to the area where your sponsored child lives and would like to arrange to meet him/her, please contact our office at least one month in advance to make arrangements. If you are traveling with a short-term mission team, please be sure to work with your team leader to plan time for meeting with your sponsored child.
Why haven't I heard from my sponsored child?
We understand that receiving a letter from your sponsored child is a treasured part of your sponsorship experience, and we work very hard with our field teams to facilitate that communication. While sponsors may write several times to their children, the children will write at least one letter to their sponsors at a specific time each year. Children do not necessarily respond to every letter that is sent to them from their sponsors.
Recently, because of COVID-19 and mail-related difficulties, receiving correspondence from the students in our program has been difficult. Since students have written mail in school, or when they gather at one of our locations, that process has been delayed as well.
Questions about your account
Why haven't I received a bill for my sponsored child's support?
Sponsorship is wholly funded through donated support, so we cannot “bill” you for a donation. If you pay by check or bank bill pay, we will send you a receipt for your gift. At the bottom of your receipt is a coupon that you can use to send in with your next donation. If a donation is missed during a particular month, you will NOT receive a receipt with a return coupon for that month.
Please contact us if you need us to mail you a copy of a receipt with an attached coupon, but know that you can give without the coupon! Contact us if you have any questions about giving, and we will be happy to help.
What happens if I fall behind in supporting my sponsored child?
We understand that life gets busy and details can sometimes be overlooked. We will attempt to reach you regarding any missed support. We are happy to work with you on options to get caught up so that you can maintain the special relationship you have hopefully established with your sponsored child.
The success of our program depends upon our sponsors maintaining their commitments. If support for your sponsored child does not come in for more than three consecutive months and all of our attempts to contact you during that time go unanswered, your sponsorship will automatically be cancelled so that we can work to find a new sponsor to support that child.
How can I cancel my sponsorship?
To cancel your sponsorship please call our office at 317.578.2700 or email. We will need your name, donor ID number, your sponsored child’s name and child’s ID number.
Where can I view my giving history?
Once you have created an online account, click the orange "My History" button on your main page to view all of your past donations. You may use the drop-down menu to adjust how many donations to show on each page, and/or scroll through each page by clicking on the page number or "Next" at the bottom of the current page.
You may also call our office at 317.578.2700 to request that a printed giving statement be mailed to you.
How can I get a receipt or an annual summary of my giving?
Sign in to your online account, then navigate to the ‘My Account’ link at the top right of page. Once on ‘My Account’ navigate to the ‘Giving Statement’ drop down bar. Here you may enter the date range for the gift receipt you wish to view/print. The resulting giving statement may be printed or saved as a PDF by clicking on the “Print” button. Note: If you do not have an online account, you will need to create one to view this information.
You may also call our office at 317.578.2700 to request that a printed giving statement be mailed to you.
How can I make a one-time sponsorship contribution?
One-time payments may be made by phone at 317.578.2700, or online, if you have a saved payment method on your account.
From your My Account page, click on the “My Child Sponsorships” bar.
On the right, select “Make a One-Time Sponsorship Contribution”, and press “Give”.
Edit the amount you would like to give, if needed, and when ready to check out, click the green “Submit” button. You can access your cart at any time by clicking the “cart” link in the orange bar at the very top of the webpage.
How can I enter payment information for my sponsorship?
Payments may be set up by calling our office at 317.578.2700, or online.
From your My Account page, click on the “Saved Payments” bar and click on “Add a New Payment Option”.
If you need to set up a recurring payment for an existing payment method, please contact us, or give us a call at 317.578.2700.
Why can't I see all of my account information online?
If you have just set up your online account, please note that it can sometimes take up to one business day to complete the setup of your new online account. Once setup is complete, you should be able to see your past giving history and information on any children you sponsor. If you continue to experience problems viewing information through your online account after a full business day has passed, please contact our office at 317.578.2700 or email for assistance.
If you previously or currently sponsor a child with MOHI, you will no longer be able to access that sponsorship on our website. You can see your sponsorship information on their website mohiafrica.org.
Click here to start your search for a child to sponsor, or contact us to learn more how you can get involved in the incredible work of our missionaries and local partners!