Now it is the Christmas week and I am sure you all have either completed your Christmas gift shopping or will be searching for the last special presents to give. Like every year we want to encourage you also this year to give a Christmas gift that really makes a change and helps the world to be a little bit a better place: Give someone a sponsorship for a child as a present or donate for the food for a day in someone’s name.
Maybe you had the idea that you would rather give a child sponsorship as a present this Christmas than another one of those gifts that actually nobody needs and which you have already given many times. In that case you may have wondered which project you should choose for giving your support to. So why would you sponsor one of the children at our school?
One factor which I believe is very important is that we are a small organization. We have a very personal approach to each of our donors and sponsors. We reply quickly to any emails and you will always get to talk to the same people – because it is only the four of us, my wife and us three brothers who work at the computer for our projects. And whenever you want to come here and have a look at our free primary school for poor children, you are very welcome!
This is another benefit of the fact that we run a small charity project: it is easy to just come here and see for yourself. Everything is in one place and you get to know clearly what we are doing and where any donation is going. Whoever has been here to spend some time at the Ashram and to meet the children, saw how happy they are that they can learn here and go to school. They made their own connection with the children and not rarely spent time sitting among the kids in school, learning a bit of Hindi themselves.
We want to keep the school the size that it is now because we like to have the possibility to know all our children personally and to take care of each single one of them. We know their situation at home, we have met their parents and we know where they come from.
If you have looked around a bit and have considered sponsoring a child at another organization, you have probably also seen the amount that is required there to enable free education for a child. We have been told by many people who sponsor a child with a big organization that they pay about double the amount of what we ask for a sponsorship. If you want to sponsor a child at our school, it is 160 Euro per year, which is a bit more than 13 Euro – or 17 US-Dollar at the current conversion rate – per month. Some examples for very well-known charity organizations are WorldVision, who take 35 US-Dollar per month or Plan International, who need 28 Euro if you sponsor from Germany.
You obviously ask yourself now why the difference is so big – twice the amount and more. The reason is again that we are a small organization. We are only a few people working here and we don’t take any salary from our charity. Big organizations have to pay a lot of employees and have a lot of administrative expenses to manage their many different projects. A friend told me that many charities spend 30-50% of their funds on administrative costs and he sent me a link for that, too. If they spend 50% of what they get for a sponsorship on other things, you already know why they need to take twice the amount.
Many organizations, especially the big and popular ones, have surely controlled their spending. With a quick search online I found that WorldVision say themselves that 86% of what they get as donations goes to their projects. Considering the amount of donations that they probably get in a year, they can do a lot of great charity work with this money.
What about us? We actually give more than 100% directly to our charity. The amount that we receive from child sponsorships and food sponsorships is not enough to cover the full expenses of the school and the children. So what we do it to run our business, cover our living expenses from that and give the remaining amount to our charity. It is needed there – we cannot keep our children hungry!
Who has been at our Ashram knows how hard we work for both, the charity and our business. Above this blog entry, below the banner, you can see the statistics of how many children are not yet sponsored and how many days of food are still free. When a child has no sponsor however, we still teach him. When a day’s food is not sponsored, we nevertheless feed our children. Whatever is not covered by donations is covered by our own income, by our work.
I have decided not to travel and work abroad in the next year but to stay here at the Ashram and would like to appeal to you to support us even more. Maybe you ask how many times I will ask you again and again for your help and support. Look at the figures above. Whenever you sponsor a child, the number of un-sponsored children will be reduced by one. Whenever you sponsor the food for a day, the number of free days will be reduced by one. And when both figures show zero, I will not ask you anymore.
Maybe this Christmas you decide to make not only that person happy whom you give the gift but additionally give joy to children in India. We and all our children will send you our best wishes for a Merry Christmas full of love and happiness!