Razia's Ray of Hope

Sponsorship Guide

Afghan student on swingThrough Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation’s sponsorship program, you have the unique opportunity to develop a supportive, personal relationship with a remarkable Afghan girl, allowing you to appreciate, and participate in, her academic and personal growth and success. Know that your support is tangibly, sustainably, changing lives — and the world we share — for the better.

Based on feedback from sponsors in early 2017, we made improvements to the program to provide you a more personal, interactive, and rewarding sponsorship experience. As a sponsor, you are now able to correspond directly with your sponsored student — and she can respond personally, in English. This two-way communication is a powerful way to develop a meaningful relationship with your student that may change her life, as well as your own. You will also receive regular, personalized updates from our program staff. We hope you’ll be pleased with our improved sponsorship program and look forward to your feedback.

The information here will help you enjoy and fully participate in your sponsorship. You can download a PDF version here.


Writing to your sponsored student

Letter-Writing Guidelines

We enthusiastically encourage sponsors to write to their sponsored students. Your letters give your student an opportunity to practice reading and writing in English within a meaningful, richly personal context — while building cultural bridges between her community and yours. If you elect not to write to your student, you will still receive three personal letters during your sponsorship year. 

Do ask your student about her life, but avoid asking excessively invasive personal questions.

Specific Suggestions

Ask open-ended questions, such as:

  • What do you do on a normal day?
  • What games or activities do you enjoy?
  • What is your favorite way to spend an afternoon?
  • Tell me about someone who has made your life better.
  • What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
  • Will you send me a drawing of your home or village?
  • Who are the people that live with you?
  • What are your favorite holidays? How do you celebrate them?
  • What is your favorite sport — and do you play it?
  • What is your favorite food?
  • What do you like to do after school?
  • What are your favorite subjects in school, and why?
  • Tell me about your favorite places. 

Share information about yourself, such as:

  • Your family (spouse, children, parents, siblings, cousins) and pets
  • Your favorite sports and hobbies
  • Your occupation
  • Your holiday celebrations and traditions
  • Your town (geography, special buildings, climate)

Feel free to include a personal photo or two with your letters. While maintaining a positive tone, don’t be afraid to tell your sponsored student about your life's ups and downs! She will celebrate your successes. 

Encourage your student:

  • Celebrate good grades
  • Tell her you are proud of her
  • Remind her that hard work will help her achieve her dreams

When writing to your student, short, simple messages are best. Your student has only begun to learn English; short sentences and simple words are easier to translate and understand. Avoid slang expressions, contractions, and complex syntax. Please type or neatly handwrite your letters in print; our students are unable to read cursive.

Above all, bear in mind that your student is young, vulnerable, and lives in a culture that is quite different from yours. Ensure that your letters are friendly, positive, and encouraging. Avoid sharing overly personal information that might make her uncomfortable.

If you learn of a natural event occurring in Kabul province or the district of Deh’Subz (earthquake, drought) that may have affected your student, you can ask her about it. While we will notify you directly if anyone connected to our schools was affected by any such event, your student will appreciate knowing that you are concerned. That said, for political and safety concerns, avoid overtly addressing terrorism, the Taliban, ISIS, and the Afghan government.

Topics to avoid:

  • Material possessions: Children can become discouraged when confronted with material things they do not have. Remember that the rural district we serve is extremely impoverished.
  • Religion: Remember that your student is Muslim and lives in a highly devout society. Regardless of your personal beliefs, do not disparage Islam or ask inappropriately leading questions that could in any way be interpreted as negative or an attempt at conversion.
  • Political issues: As addressed above, for political and safety concerns, avoid overtly referencing terrorism, the Taliban, ISIS, the Afghan government, and so on.

To protect the privacy of all parties, we do not allow students and sponsors to exchange personal contact information, including e-mail addresses, home addresses, and telephone numbers. For more information about privacy, see our Child Protection Policy below.

Contact us if you have any questions about what may or may not be appropriate in your communication.

 


Letter Logistics

Afghan student working

After reading through our guidelines (above), write a hard-copy letter to your student.

  • As mentioned above, please type or neatly handwrite your letters in print; our students are unable to read cursive.
  • So that we can forward your letter to the right student, ensure that your enclosing envelope includes your return name and address.
  • Send us your letter, addressed to:

Sponsorship Coordinator
Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation
PO Box 81052
Wellesley, MA 02481

  • Our staff will review your letter to ensure appropriateness and compliance with our Child Protection Policy (see below).
  • Your letter will be sent to Afghanistan for distribution to your student.
  • Within two months, you will receive a response from your sponsored student.
  • Please do not mail us anything aside from letters or cards. For reasons of security and parity, we are not able to forward gifts of any kind.
  • In addition to the letter topics and questions provided in this guide, our program staff’s periodic e-mail updates will contain writing prompts and reminders to write to your student.

 


CHILD PROTECTION POLICY

Afghan students

Communication between students and sponsors meaningfully enhances the sponsorship experience for both sender and recipient. Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation is pleased to facilitate this important connection between our supporters and the students we serve. To ensure our students’ safety, Razia’s Ray of Hope maintains programmatic safeguards that protect against abuse and exploitation. These protections include the following: 

  • All correspondence between sponsors and students must be sent through our US office.
  • We monitor all letters sent to students for appropriateness.
  • To protect the privacy of all parties, we do not allow students and sponsors to exchange personal contact information, including e-mail addresses, home addresses, and telephone numbers.
  • Unsupervised communication between sponsors and students (or students’ family members) is strictly prohibited, including via social media tools such as Facebook or Twitter or instant messaging systems such as texting, Skype, AIM, iChat, ICQ, or similar platforms.
  • Sponsor messages must be positive, encouraging, age-appropriate, and culturally sensitive.

For our students’ protection, any breach of this policy will result in immediate termination of the sponsorship relationship and the pursuit of any necessary legal action.

Thank you for helping to keep our students safe by respecting our Child Protection Policy.

 


SOCIAL MEDIA

Sponsor an Afghan Student

When you share your sponsorship with the world, you help us promote our sponsorship program—and our organization—with a growing audience. We appreciate any online support you’d like to share!

Facebook: Click here to access the image at right on Facebook; then "like" and "share" it on your own wall with a few words such as: I’m proud to sponsor a young #Afghan student! Join me in empowering girls through #education: http://ow.ly/NQB5J. Thank you!
 
Twitter: I’m proud to sponsor a young #Afghan student! Join me in empowering girls through #education: http://ow.ly/NQB5J @RaziasRayofHope [Click to Tweet]
 
Pinterest: I’m proud to sponsor a young #Afghan student! Join me in empowering girls through #education: http://ow.ly/NQB5J @RaziasRayofHope [Pin on Pinterest with the image provided in this section]
 
LinkedIn: I’m proud to sponsor a young #Afghan student! Join me in empowering girls through #education: http://ow.ly/NQB5J [Share on LinkedIn]
 

SPONSORSHIP RENEWAL

On the date that your sponsorship cycle expires (one year from your initial enrollment), your sponsorship will renew automatically. As always, you may cancel your sponsorship at any time.

We particularly appreciate credit card enrollment and renewal as opposed to payments by check, as credit cards are a more efficient way to support your student. 

 


SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM CONTACT

If you have any questions about your sponsorship or the information outlined in this Sponsorship Guide, please contact:

Kate Harrigan
Sponsorship Coordinator
kate.harrigan@raziasrayofhope.org
781-431-7894

Thank you!