All your letter-writing questions, answered

send your new penpal much-needed encouragement

Here at Children International, we talk a lot about letters. Why?

Because people often tell us that communicating with their sponsored child is their favorite thing about being a sponsor — aside from all the amazing and powerful benefits their sponsorship provides their child, of course.

You don’t need a pen to be a penpal. You can write your child digitally through your MyCI account.

Sponsored children and youth also love receiving letters from their sponsors. They want to get to know the people making such a big difference in their lives. Although writing a letter may not seem easy, even just a short message of care can mean so much to your sponsored child. Read on to learn more about writing your sponsored child—and how easy it is to get and become a pen pal! 


Why should I write to my sponsored child?

First, you don’t have to write your sponsored child. Your sponsorship is providing life-changing opportunities and support to your child. But sponsorship isn’t just about providing important poverty-fighting benefits, like access to health care, education and empowering programs. Sponsorship is also about showing a child living in poverty they matter. Poverty is dehumanizing: It tells people they aren’t worth care, time or attention. A letter from you is written proof that poverty is wrong. No matter what you write, what your letter really says is this:

I see you. You are unique. You matter to me.

That kind of concrete encouragement is invaluable to children and families struggling through the daily stress and disappointments of poverty.


How often should I write my child?

Ideally, it’s best to write at least once or twice a year, but you can write as often as you’d like! Think of how you feel when you find a letter from a friend in your own mailbox. It feels great, right? That’s the gift you’re giving your sponsored child and his or her family every time you write. Marking important milestones— such as birthdays, holidays and graduations—with a letter can also be meaningful. Make sure to check your MyCI account regularly to keep up-to-date on opportunities to celebrate your sponsored child with a letter or card.

You must know that your presence in my life has had a great meaning. You have taught me the value of kindness and solidarity."

- Sandra, 19, Ecuador, in a letter to her sponsors


How are digital letters delivered to my child?

Once you hit “send” on your MyCI letter, it will be transferred electronically to your sponsored child or youth’s field office. The team there will sort and translate the letters. (To reduce costs and use funds efficiently we may use translation software as well as non-professional translators.) If your child’s family has access to a phone and/or data plan, the team will either forward the letter digitally or call to read it over the phone. When families don’t have access to mobile devices, the team tries to print physical copies and deliver the letters personally.

He has been a very important person for my daughter, for me, for my mother, because he always sends us his letters...With his words, I feel that he motivates us to continue…[it’s] as if he came to strengthen us even more.”

- Astrid, mother of Litzy, 13, Guatemala, on Litzy’s sponsor.

Encourage your child often:

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

What should I say in my letter?

We get this question a lot, so weve put together a few helpful resources to get you started. If youre nervous about crafting the perfect letter, remember this: There is no perfect letter. Your sponsored child is going to be excited to receive a letter from you, no matter what it says! If youre just starting out, keep it basic. Many sponsors find it easiest to describe their family, pets and/or a favorite subject, like a sport or hobby, and then ask questions about your childs daily life, favorite activities and goals for the future. Use the tips below to get typing. Youre going to do great.

What do I say in my letter?

This helpful article will walk you through suggested topics of discussion (describing the town you live in), ways to encourage your child (don’t forget to say you are proud of him or her!), important questions to ask (what are his or her hopes for the future?), and topics to avoid or take extra care with (material possessions you have that they might not).

Use this cheat-sheet to write the best letters

This list of idea starters will help you write a smile-inducing letter and spark your growing pen-pal relationship. Help your sponsored child and their family get to know you a little better with prompts like, “As a kid, I admired ______ because __________.” Or “My nickname growing up was __________.”


Do you have a template I can use?

We’re so glad you asked! We have a variety of letter templates to get your creative juices flowing. Here’s how to use them:


I would like to thank my sponsors because they have been an all-weather friend to me. I know that COVID-19 has not only affected us here in Zambia but it has affected the entire world. Even during these problems, my sponsors have continued to show care about my education, and this gladdens my heart."

- Henry, 14, Zambia


May 8, 2022

I don’t know if my message was sent to John. Do we get any communications letting me know that it was sent.

Jun 21, 2022

I don’t know if my message was sent to Val. . Do we get any communications letting me know that it was sent.

Dec 6, 2022

I wanted to send Mervin some Money for Christmas. How do I do It ? Casey

Dec 6, 2022

Hi caseyladowski! To send Mervin a gift you can contact our Care Team at 1-800-888-3089 or or you can log into your MyCI account to send your gift.

Oct 22, 2023

Can you send gift to them?

Dec 7, 2023

When we upload photos, do the photos come out as printed photos individually, or are they small printed on the card?

Apr 6, 2024

My child likes to draw. Is it possible to send her a few art supplies?

Apr 19, 2024

I have been sponsoring Francis since October and have sent him six letters. My first letter was sent in the same month that I sponsored him. I haven’t received any letters from him except for his welcome letter

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