THEY WILL ASK thee as to what they should spend on others. Say: "Whatever of your wealth you spend shall [first] be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof." - Al-Baqarah (2:215)

Monday, 22 November 2010

The Children’s Education

31 children from 12 families – that’s the number of children covered under our Education Sponsorship for Children programme for next year. With the exception of 1 family where the children still have a father, and 1 child who has lost both her parents, the rest are all children of single mothers. The 31 children are sponsored by 24 different individuals/groups of individuals. Which means a few sponsors are actually sponsoring more than 1 child.

When we first started this programme in 2008, we started off with 9 children being sponsored. Then in 2009 the number increased to 16, and this year the number rose to 21. With an additional 10 children needing sponsorship for next year, we have 31 for 2011, that is, if we don’t get any new clients needing sponsorship within the year. Thank goodness the response to my call for sponsors was superb… mainly either my alumni members or my blog readers or my facebook friends (some of them a combination of all 3).

Then there are those who are not under our sponsorship programme but are getting help from our Children Education Fund (CEF). Huh? What’s the difference between the Education Sponsorship for Children (ESC) programme and the CEF? Both are meant for children’s education, right?

Right. But the difference is, the ESC is meant for children from poorer families. Each individual child is personally sponsored by individuals from the public. The sponsorship covers anything to do with the children’s education including monthly pocket money, bus fares, tuition fees etc in addition to the usual back-to-school expenses.

The CEF on the other hand, is a special fund that we have, meant more for those who can afford the monthly expenses but face difficulties at the beginning of each schooling year when they need to come up with hundreds of Ringgits for the back-to-school expenses including uniforms, bags, stationeries, workbooks and the various fees they need to pay when school reopens.

We have at least 15 children who qualifies for the CEF.

Which means by next month we’ve got to buy school necessities for at least 46 children. For a few of them, the parents can at least buy first with whatever savings/borrowings they have, to be reimbursed later when they submit to us the receipts. But some of the guardians can’t afford to do that. If we ask them to buy first, chances are they won’t be buying anything. So yep, for these ones, we’d take the children out to shop for their schooling needs.

Since most of the children under sponsorship are those of my clients (not because I practice favouritism but because I always get assigned to the poor families… sigh!), I will be bringing 19 children out shopping.

So will I bring them shopping all on the same day to save time?

HECK NO! Even if they can come on their own to the hypermarket where I intend to take them, no way am I going to have 19 children choosing their uniforms, shoes, etc all at the same time! Maybe it’s not so bad for the older children, but for the younger ones? Eeeks!

I will bring them out, one family at a time. It will give me more space to use a more personal approach to each family and it will give me the opportunity to get to know each child better. After all, I will need to give individual reports to each individual sponsor, as such it’s best if I know each child personally, rather than just knowing the parents/guardians.

The hypermarket people will be seeing my face quite often next month… oh yeah… :-)

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