How much does it cost to sponsor a student in the Dominican Republic? It costs $31.00 US per month or $372.00 per year.
How many sponsors can a child have? We limit the number of sponsors a child may have to a single sponsor. Sponsors can sponsor more than one child through multiple sponsorships.
How long does a sponsorship last? It lasts as long as you want it to. We hope you will commit to sponsor a child for at least one year (and hopefully longer). You can sponsor a particular child until the complete their last year in a Christian school.
What are my payment options? You can pay by check, by credit card or by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). Credit card and EFT payments can be set up to be recurring (monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually), so each period the payment will automatically be made from your account and you will receive a notice that the payment has been made. Another option is to pay annually by check or credit card.
Is it hard for me to manage my payments online? No. It is very easy to do. If you register online to sponsor a child, you will be asked to set up a user name and password. You can continue to use that to access your account at any time. If you sponsor a child over the phone or at an event where we have our display, we will automatically email you an invitation to join our online community.
What happens when the child we sponsor leaves the school? We will contact you telling the child is no longer is the school and we will try to assign you a new student in the same school that is the same gender and roughly the same age as the child you previously sponsored. Again, you are the one in control of how long you continue to sponsor a child.
What will we hear from the child we sponsor? Two times a year, we try to get letters from each student. There may be a picture colored by the child and if the child can write, they will share a few sentences telling about themselves and their families or their teacher may write something about the student. One time a year, we will send you a current photo of your child with other updated information.
Can I write my child? It is nearly impossible to have direct communications but we provide each sponsor some information telling you how you can send us an email that we will translate and pass on to the child. Because it is difficult for many students to have access to the internet, we do not encourage direct email correspondence. Many times, the students do not have internet in their homes and they would then need to go to a local internet café and spend some money to get on the internet. This is money they do not have. We really encourage sponsors to use our channels of communications.
Can I give my sponsored child a gift? The only way we encourage gift giving is if you are on a trip and we make arrangements for you to visit your child. We ask that the gifts are not extravagant and they are given discreetly in private. If you are not going on a trip, you can send something with someone else going on a trip. Because of the potential volume of gifts, we cannot accept and deliver gifts when we go ourselves. We do have a way around this and this benefits all of the students in the school your child attends. We have a Christmas Gift Fund that provides for a small Christmas party and a small gift for each child.
Where does my sponsorship money go? Out of the $31.00, $28.00 goes to the school your student attends. The other three dollars goes towards defraying our expenses in running the program (things such as mailings, sponsorship software, postage, payment processing fees, etc.). The $28 goes to help the school operate. It is sent to the school in the child’s name, to help cover expenses such as teacher’s pay and other expenses to operate the school. Depending on the school, some schools us the money to provide a uniform for the student and it is possible for the money to cover for a small lunch for the child but you need to know not all schools do this. All books and supplies are supplied with sponsorship money. We do accept gifts to our General Fund to help with the cost of operating this program.
Are my sponsorships tax-deductible? Yes. Helping Hands Unlimited is a 501c3 organization in the United States. We receipt all contributions and send a year-end giving receipt to help you with your taxes.
Do you do other things to help the schools these children attend? Yes. We occasionally take teams to help provide for maintenance needs at the schools. We also take construction teams to build more classrooms. We also take teachers to the Dominican Republic each summer to train teacher in the schools we work with. We also gather school supplies and distribute them at the schools we work with.
Does a sponsored child need to pay fees to attend the school? The answer is yes but the amount varies greatly depending on the economic situation of the student’s family. In many cases, their families cannot afford to give any money. All of the schools we work with have agreed a child will not be refused if there family cannot pay. There are many students in each school we work with that cannot pay their fees.
What subjects are taught in the schools? The basics are reading, writing and mathematics. They also have physical education classes. Each day starts with a school-wide devotional, prayer, the singing of the school hymn and the national anthem. The students head to their classrooms where the first thing, teachers open up the scriptures and share more as classes begin. There are also other special days and weeks that have spiritual emphasis.
Are there any government requirements? Yes. The schools are all registered with the government and work hard to meet the requirements to educate children. The children also are required to take proficiency tests at the end of the school year. They are required to pass the tests before they can move up to the next grade.
Can I give extra money to help the schools? Yes. You can mail a contribution or give online. We will make sure the money goes to the school of your choice.
If I sponsor a student, am I going to receive a bunch of junk mail? No. We will sign you up for our electronic newsletter that we send out quarterly. You can opt out of that. We will mail you your student letters to you. We hope to do that two times every year. And we will send you your year-end giving statement in January each year. That is it!
Can I tell others about the sponsorship experience? Please do! Please ask us if you want some help. We can provide some written information or even do a presentation if you want us to.
Do you ever add new schools to the sponsorship program? We do. As the program grows, we have a list of schools waiting to join our program.
Is it possible for our church or organization to completely sponsor one school? Yes. Please contact us for more information about doing that.