Let’s face it, nobody really likes getting uncomfortable. But choosing to get involved with a fight against the cycle of poverty? This stuff is messy. And sometimes? It means you encounter pain in the process.
If you’ve chosen to become a sponsor with Let Them LOL we’re incredibly grateful! You’ve stepped onboard to change the world by changing the life of one (and truly, a whole community). Thank you! However, sometimes, even the beauty of your sponsorship is affected by the difficulties of life in a place fighting against the daily realities of living in extreme need. We don’t necessarily expect it, but you may someday get a message from us indicating we need to introduce you to a new sponsor child. Our school, Hope Rising Academy normally sees about a 10% change in students yearly. You’ll probably feel a sting. You’ll probably have a lot of questions. We want to invite you into a deeper conversation and offer our support.
We’re in this together, and we know this social justice work…it’s sometimes painful. We feel it, too. But you are helping to carry the burden with a larger community, and you are moving the dial toward hope in a huge way. Not the light airy stuff made of rainbows and unicorns, but the gritty kind made from years of sweat, tears, and commitment that creates real, tangible, world change. You are helping build that kind of hope!
So let’s talk details.
Why might a change in sponsorship ever occur? Did we get lazy? Lose track of you? Just feel like switching things up for fun? We hope you know none of these are even close. Your sponsorship is invaluable to us. It’s of the highest priority to keep our systems organized and up to date. So what happened? Well, to make a long, complicated story a bit simplified, let’s pretend. If you imagine your daily needs depend on already unstable circumstances, you can probably imagine any unpredictable situation or pressure would easily change your life (or your family’s reality) causing you to move at the drop of a hat, beyond your control.
For example, imagine a two parent household with four young children in a country where you are privileged to be employed, and “minimum wage”, if you can find it, is just under $2 USD per day. If one parent suddenly becomes ill and passes away the primary source of support, protection, and provision suddenly disappears. The remaining parent must now seek out work and support for four children in a difficult economy and/or find a new home among equally struggling family members. This is just one scenario describing harsh but likely realities of day-to-day survival the cycles of poverty can create among our neighbors. Similar common reasons include:
- Family shifts leading to children moving to stay with different adults
- Children moving back to live with their parents after an absence
- Caregivers searching for work
- Divorce and family separations
- Financial instability
- Sickness within the family
This is hard to see, hard to feel. It makes us uncomfortable, anguished, and downright angry. We want to see the story change right along with you. This is why we, Let Them LOL, exist. Clean water, education, healthcare, community development. The fight against injustice, though, is not really full of instant gratification; but that’s no reason to give up. This is why we love people like you who would even choose to care.
Now, for some good news.
Not only do we carefully organize your sponsor information in the US, but at Hope Rising Academy in Sierra Leone we have a dedicated team of teachers and staff who carefully trace each student. This way, when a pattern or change begins to emerge, we’re ready to jump into action investigating an absence. As a result, we are often informed or have a story to provide for why a student has moved to offer you some level of peace of mind or at very least, something to pray for. Although, there are times where a sudden change is beyond our control to track down and an answer is hard to find (if you do find yourself here and needing to know any specific details we have, you can always contact our sponsorship coordinator by email at firstname.lastname@example.org).
However, something incredible has begun to happen…
Once a student or family sees what lengths we have gone through to find the student and make sure they are ok, this has often lead to the student returning to our school! The community we’re creating is beginning to stand out as a place of hope, and even in turmoil we’re finding in our humanity we’re united by a need to belong. In 2019, our staff was able to keep over 20 students from dropping out of school or leaving the program simply by showing the families we cared and did not want them to leave. This is the power of your sponsorship. This is tangible, long-haul, hope worth fighting for. The kind of hope that builds something worth hurting over: belonging. New beginnings. New life.
With this in mind there are always those who because of the reality of their circumstances cannot not return. So, if this is you, now what?
Well, we don’t waste any time. We work hard to continue to pair you with a child of a similar age/class, etc to the relationship you’ve begun to invest in. Many times, this new-to-you child has never had a sponsor before! The impact you’ve already had cannot be understated – and it’s about to light up all brand new for another child: daily food, stability, and medical care are literally saving the lives of our students each day. This past year our medical staff have saved dozens of children’s lives from injuries or illnesses that would have most certainly killed them had LTLOL not been there. You are the reason this is possible.
Every day we are able to influence and help a child is a gift and you make that possible, even if the child leaves our care. What you gave never ceases to matter. And we firmly believe your impact is far from over. As the battle against the darkness begins to hit home in your heart through the ups and downs that are part of engaging with the needs of our neighbors, remember:
- These kids are worthy, even if the fight for justice gets uncomfortable
- Your support will always matter, beyond what you can see or know
- The impact you’re creating is real, tangible, enduring hope for generations to come as we build trust and re-shape the story
In the meantime, we are thrilled that you might give another waiting child a chance at an education and an empowering relationship with you! Thank you so much for your commitment to lasting change through investing in one child at a time, and for taking a stand against poverty and injustice. As we learn how to be a community here with a community there; let’s keep the battle going, together.