Letters are great. They help children develop a relationship with their sponsor. This relationship gives children confidence and older children work especially hard because they don’t want to let their sponsor down. Some children carry a picture of their sponsor in their pocket and show it proudly.
What to write
It doesn’t have to be a letter. Pictures with captions are easy for the younger children and don’t need much translation. They can be photos, prints from the internet, cards or local postcards.
Photos of you or your family are especially welcome and will be passed around family and neighbours.
It’s probably a good idea to avoid things that show personal wealth eg your house, car, boat.
Interesting subjects for letters:
Pets, farm animals, wildlife, garden, countryside, fruit and veg.
Length of letter
Letters are best kept very short and simple because English is the third language of all Maasai. A Maasai seven year old has the English reading skills of a UK 5 year old. Short sentences and short words are helpful and mean older children may be able to read your letter without a translator. By Class two most children can read simple letters.
How to send a letter to a sponsor child
- We can take them. We inform you two or three weeks before we visit the school. Post to Helen, Elwell House, West Buckland, Near Barnstaple, EX3 0SW.
- You can send them to the school: P.O. Box 931 – 00206, Kiserian. This is quite difficult for the school. It takes the head teacher 3 hours at the weekend but he is willing to do it. Please email the school to let them know a letter is waiting.
- Email the school via Eunice our secretary email@example.com. Mark your message with the child’s name and class if you know it. Any pictures/graphics will have to be compressed – less than 100 kbytes . The internet speed at the school is so slow it is nearly stationary.
Here are some sample letters:
my name is Peter. I am your sponsor. I live in England. It rains a lot here.
I am married and I have 3 children.
I have a dog but no goats or cows.
Please greet your family
Letter and photo for our pre-school children aged four – six
how are you? I am well.
It is raining here and it is cold.
I have a garden. I grow flowers and potatoes (etc – very interesting for the Maasai).
Here is a picture of my garden.
Letter for Class 1 and 2 with photo
I hope you like school.
Here is a picture of a field near my house. In it there are cows/sheep/the farmer is growing X.
(Very interesting for the Maasai to see green land, different livestock, crops).
Our dog Molly lives in our house. We also have a cat. She is very old.
Postcard for Class 1 and 2
This is a picture of a street near my house. There is a baker’s shop etc.
Can you see x?
Letter for Class 1 and 2 (with or without photo)
my family: four people live in our house. My wife is called Violet. We have two children. Jack goes to secondary school. He is aged 16 and wants to be a nurse. He likes playing football and meeting his friends. Ruby is at primary school. She is aged 10 and likes climbing trees and swimming. Can you swim?
Letter for Class 3 – 6 (and for classes 7 and 8 who are still at our school under the old curriculum)
as for the letter for class 1 and 2 above but can be two or three times as long if you wish. You could ask questions about school, home life, likes, dislikes and for class 5 and 6, about ambitions.
Letter for Pre-school – Class 2 with graphics (from sponsors with IT skills)
With the addition of more text it’s good for older children too.