1. What is child sponsorship?
Child sponsorship is a unique opportunity for you to follow the growth and development of AIC through the stories and progress of one (or more!) of our children. Through our child sponsorship program, caring, committed individuals like you are matched with children in our care to fund the programs that are changing their lives.

AIC offers two unique categories of sponsorship:

Education Outreach Child Sponsorship: funding the needs of the children of our Educational Outreach Program.
Special Projects Sponsorships: donating toward one of our programs’ specific annual expenses.


2. What is the difference between a Child Sponsorship option and Special Projects Sponsorship?
Special Projects Sponsorship is an opportunity to donate toward one of our programs’ specific annual expenses. These expenses range from essential items distributed to the children (such as a yearly uniform set to each child) to invaluable on-site personnel costs (such as the annual salary for a teacher).
Click here to see our various special projects sponsorship options.

The benefits offered by your Special Project Sponsorship will affect many children and their families. Through pictures and follow-up updates from this project for the duration of one year, you will gain a unique insight into the lives of those with whom we work.

Unlike Child Sponsorship, which we hope will be an ongoing, long-term commitment made by a donor to a child, we consider Special Projects Sponsorship to be a one-time commitment toward an annual expense, for which the donor will receive updates and photos.


3. Am I my child’s only sponsor?
We consider sponsorship an exclusive commitment. If you have opted for full sponsorship of a child (for either the Residential or Education Outreach Program), you are the only person sponsoring that child, and the only person receiving the personalized reports about your child’s progress. If you have selected one of the partial sponsorship options (Basic Necessities or Educational Sponsorship), one other donor may also be contributing toward that child’s expenses by sponsoring the other partial option (e.g. if you are a child’s Basic Necessities sponsor, someone else could be his/her Educational sponsor). When a child has two partial sponsors instead of one full sponsor, both sponsors receive updates and photos of the same child.

If you are a Special Projects sponsor, you will be the only person sponsoring that particular project, though some project options are comprised of multiple cost packages that can be sponsored by different people. For example, if you are sponsoring a classroom, you will be the only person sponsoring that particular classroom, though other classrooms may be sponsored by other individuals. We have multiple classrooms, caregivers and teachers, so those special projects can be sponsored by more than one person each year. The school uniforms and Diwali gifts options may each only have one sponsor per year.


4. Do my sponsorship donations go directly to my child?
Your sponsorship contributions are not given directly to your child. Instead, your contributions are pooled with those of other sponsors and donors to meet the operating expenses requirements of your child’s program (Residential or Education Outreach). Thus, the donations that you make through your sponsorship will cover the expenses of your child by contributing to the portion of operating funds that are required for your child to be a part of the Residential or Education Outreach program.

5. How often will I receive information about my sponsorship and what types of information can I expect to receive?
Child Sponsorship:
At the beginning of your sponsorship, you will receive a profile that includes information about your child’s background, personality and history with AIC. From that point onward, you will receive a photo of your child and a progress report twice per year, as well as a creative sample (an artistic/literary/academic creation by your child) once per year.
Please note that although each sponsor will receive personal information about his/her sponsored child, the sponsor will not be able to communicate directly with the child (i.e. personal letters, emails, personal correspondence). This policy is in place for the protection of the children with whom we work. (For more information on this policy, please see question #12.)

Special Projects Sponsorship:
At the beginning of your sponsorship, you will receive an information page with photos about the special project that you have opted to sponsor. From that point onward, you will receive a photo update and a written update twice per year.
Please note that after the initial information page, Diwali gift sponsors will receive a photo update and a written update only once per year, as the holiday of Diwali occurs only once annually (in October/November).


6. In which format will the information about my child be sent to me?
Sponsors residing in the US and Canada have the option of receiving hardcopy or electronic updates and sponsorship material. Sponsors residing outside of the US and Canada will receive the updates and materials electronically. Unfortunately, at this time we are not able to provide hardcopy materials to sponsors who are based outside of the US and Canada.

Although sponsors based in the US and Canada are welcome to receive hardcopy updates, we hope that you will consider receiving your updates in the environmentally-friendly electronic format if you are comfortable with that option. Choosing to receive electronic materials ensures that more of your money is going directly to the children, rather than to offset the administrative costs that AIC incurs printing and mailing your materials. Please take the time to consider which option is best for you, and mark the designated box on the Child Sponsorship form to reflect your choice.


7. If I live outside of the United States, can I still sponsor a child or special project?
Certainly! We welcome your participation in the sponsorship program and hope that you will decide to support our work in this way. As our administrative headquarters and sponsorship program operations are located in the United States, there are a few key differences that sponsors based outside of the US and Canada should take note of:

All sponsors making payments from accounts in banks outside of the U.S. must make payments online (via Google Checkout, PayPal). Unfortunately, we are unable to deposit checks from banks in other countries. We are happy to assist with this process if you have questions about the payment options.
Sponsorship material is available only in electronic format to sponsors based outside of the US and Canada.
Sponsorship materials, including receipts, are only available in English at this time.
There is a possibility that we will expand hardcopy distribution areas, as well as language of choice for the sponsorship materials, in the future. If so, we will notify you of the expanded sponsorship options and you will have the opportunity to adjust your preferences if you wish to do so.


8. Your sponsorship options look more expensive than some others I have seen. How come?
Our commitment to sustained development goes beyond “basic necessities” and depends upon various layers of support – emotional, educational, nutritional, developmental – and this multi-faceted approach requires considerable per-child expenditure.

In particular, our children attend competitive schools that provide highly sought after courses, such as English language and technology, which will provide many job prospects in India’s competitive marketplace. By attending highly regarded programs, our children will be exposed to opportunities that will result in financial independence as well as a transformation of their community.

The achievement of such an ambitious goal for our children depends heavily upon the aforementioned interwoven layers of support that necessitate per-child expenditure that is significantly higher than many other organizations’ sponsorship costs. We believe, however, that these costs represent a worthwhile investment in the future; with the sustained, multi-faceted support that the children receive through AIC’s programs, the cycle of poverty is well on its way to being broken for an entire community of people.


9. I do not have the financial resources to sponsor a child, but want to help. What can I do?
We are very happy to accept donations of any size, but we feel that sponsorship implies a significant, ongoing commitment to our children and our programs. If you feel that the sponsorship options are out of your price range, we are happy to work with you to come up with a meaningful donation option. Alternatively, you could find a few friends or family members who might like to share the sponsorship commitment with you – we are happy to accommodate joint sponsorship arrangements!

There are also many ways of getting involved that do not require a financial commitment! The “Get involved” page on our website offers several ways that you can make a difference in the lives of our children without spending money.


10. What is included in the full sponsorship option that is not included in the partial sponsorship options?
The full sponsorship option includes all program expenses that we budget for annually, with the exception of rent costs, whereas the Basic Necessities sponsorship and Educational sponsorship represent specific subcategories within our program expenses budget. This means that there are additional costs besides food, clothing and education. For example, the full sponsorship option includes costs for extracurricular activities and transportation, whereas the other two options only cover either educational expenses or food/clothing. For more detailed information on which benefits each sponsorship option covers, please click here.

11. Do I have a say in my child’s upbringing or education?
We greatly appreciate your interest in and commitment to your child! Unfortunately, we have established routines, curricula, goals, assessment mechanisms, and policies already in place for our children and cannot accommodate sponsors’ desires to change these. We are, however, always receptive to feedback about our programs, and would love to hear what you have to say about what we do. If you would like to share your comments our programs and policies, please contact us at contactus[at]ashrayainitiative[dot]org.

12. Does my child know that I am sponsoring him/her?
No, your child does not know details about you or the terms of the sponsorship. While we realize that sponsors may want to develop a personal relationship with the sponsored child and that this relationship may be meaningful, we believe it is in the best interest of the children with whom we work to not be aware of being sponsored. One of our core values is empowerment of children and in order to best carry out this commitment, we do not share information about the sponsors or details of the sponsorship arrangement with the children.

In addition, and perhaps more importantly, we strive to foster equality among all of the children, and to avoid competition, division among the children, and hurt feelings if sponsors display different levels of involvement and interest in their children (e.g. if one child receives letters and gifts and another child receives nothing, or if one child’s sponsor comes to visit and another child’s does not). Therefore, we seek the full, informed consent of the appropriate, care-giving adults (parents, guardians) for a child’s participation in our sponsorship program.

Although your sponsored child does not know about your sponsorship of him or her, you will still have the opportunity to meet your child or send letters or gifts if you would like. Please refer to the guidelines that we have developed (see questions #13, #14, and #15) for more information.


13. Can I visit my child?
We welcome visitors to the program sites and would love to have you visit and be able to see the children and meet our AIC family! We ask that you keep in mind, however, that your child is not aware that you are his/her sponsor, and we intend to keep it that way. If you would like to visit, please consider it a visit to the organization itself, not an exclusive visit with your child.

If you decide to visit, you will have the opportunity to meet your child, but your visit will be structured so that you interact with all of the children in the program, who will also be excited to meet you. We therefore request that you refrain from singling out your sponsored child for special treatment, attention and personal gifts. While we understand that you will undoubtedly be excited to meet the child about whom you have heard and seen so much, but it is in the best interests of our children to view you as an ordinary visitor to AIC, not a visitor with a particular interest in one child over all of the others.

We also ask that you pay close attention to our visitors’ policy and respect our need for sufficient notice before coming to visit. Please let us know as soon as possible if you are thinking of coming to visit AIC!


14. Can I write letters or send gifts to my child?
We ask that all letters be addressed to the children at AIC as a whole, not to your individual child, and that any gifts or items you send be communally usable by all of the children, not geared exclusively toward your child. We’ve got lots of ideas for great communal gifts, so let us know if you’re having trouble thinking of something that could be enjoyed by all, and we’ll be happy to give you some pointers. If you would like to send a letter or collect/purchase items to send to the home, please contact us at sponsorme[at]ashrayinitiative[dot]org for details on sending items.

If you would prefer to send a monetary gift for your child’s birthday or a special holiday, we are happy to put it toward a communal gift for that occasion. Please note, however, that birthdays and holidays are celebrated with love, joy, cake and gifts here at AIC, so you should not feel any pressure to send additional gifts.


15. Will I receive personalized letters/drawings from my child?
We will send you a drawing, sample of writing, or some other creative piece created by your child on an annual basis, so that you can see his/her progress and get to know his/her personality. However, please be aware that these creative samples will not be personalized or addressed to you, as we do not share the details of the sponsorship with the children (See question #12 for more information).

16. Will the cost of sponsorship change as the child grows up?
We review the rate of sponsorship on an annual basis to maintain the quality of our programs and respond to the changing needs of the children whom we serve. It is possible that as your child grows up, the expenses necessary to raise him or her will increase. This could either be due to natural increases in prices over extended periods of time, or simply because as your child grows up, the costs of his/her clothing, education, extracurricular involvements, etc, may increase. We have tried to factor rising cost prices and future program planning into our sponsorship cost categories to minimize changes to the sponsorship categories. However, in the event that we increase our sponsorship cost categories in the future, we will inform you in advance and you will have the option of increasing your sponsorship contributions or continuing with your original sponsorship rate. We will never terminate sponsorship if you decide not to increase your sponsorship contributions, even if our costs have gone up.

17. How long does my sponsorship commitment last?
It’s up to you! We hope that you will enjoy sponsoring a child through AIC and continue to stay involved — through sponsorship or otherwise — for many years to come. We are heavily reliant on the ongoing donations of individual sponsors like you in order to continue our work; therefore, we ask that you consider the decision to sponsor seriously, and only begin sponsoring a child if you anticipate being able to continue doing so for two or more years.

However, we understand that sponsors’ circumstances sometimes change, and if you decide to discontinue your sponsorship, you can rest assured that your sponsored child will continue to be taken care of through AIC’s work. However, if you are doubtful of your ability to be an ongoing sponsor, please consider making a one-time donation or sponsoring an item or general expense (Special Projects Sponsorship) instead.

Additionally, it is important to understand that a sponsored child’s situation could change as well. Although it is rare, there have been a few situations of children’s families moving outside of the reach of AIC’s programs. In the event that a situation such as that affects your sponsored child, we will inform you immediately so that you can decide whether to transfer your sponsorship to another needy child or discontinue sponsorship.


18. Will I receive a receipt for my donations?
Yes, you will receive a receipt for your donations. For your convenience, we will send you receipts on a bi-annual basis, along with the updates and photos of your child. The receipts will reflect all donations made during that half of the year. If you would prefer to receive an individual receipt after each donation, please let us know.

19. How can I find out more information about the projects my donation is funding?
In this website, you will find information about AIC, our Residential Program as well as our Outreach Programs and in particular our Education Outreach Program. You will also find updates on our programs and photos.

For real-time updates, you will also have the opportunity to following AIC online, as we work hard to keep our Twitter and Facebook pages regularly updated with photos, anecdotes, and notification of upcoming events and projects. It is likely that if you’re looking closely, you’ll even catch a glimpse of your sponsored child or special project in our photos and updates!


20. Does AIC sell, rent, or trade donor information (e.g. mailing and e-mail addresses) to other agencies?
No, AIC will not sell, rent, or trade any information about you to other organizations or agencies. We are committed to earning and keeping your trust, and for that reason, would never pass details or information about you on to anyone else.

21. Can I publish, circulate, or post online information or photos of my sponsored child?
If you are interested in helping to the spread the word about AIC and the sponsorship opportunities, let us know! We are happy to provide you with pre-approved material to use so that your child’s security is not compromised. You may also refer to our social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, and Picasa) if you feel inclined to share information with others. We trust that you will treat the information and photos we have given you with sensitivity and respect the children’s right to privacy and dignity.

All information, materials and content shared for purposes of child sponsorship remain the property of the Ashraya Initiative for Children and may not be used, reproduced, transmitted or distributed without the express prior written permission of the Ashraya Initiative for Children.

In the unfortunate event that we find that materials related to our children are being used in an inappropriate manner, we reserve the right to terminate sponsorship. If you have any questions, please contact us at sponsorme[at]ashrayainitiative[dot]org.


22. I didn’t find the answer to my question here! Who should I contact?
Please call us at (001) 607-241-2611 or send us an email at sponsorme[at]ashrayainitiative[dot]org. We are always happy to answer your questions, and appreciate your interest and support!