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Communication

May I send gifts specifically to my sponsored child?


Sponsor generosity is a wonderful thing and we are so thankful for your heart for your child. However, it is incredibly difficult to track and transport individual gifts. We also find that the best way to support children is through community events that encourage all of the children and families in the program. Therefore, we ask that you consider contributing financially to our annual Christmas and Birthday Bash events, or consider a general donation to AOET in your child’s honor.

Photos and letters are the best items to send to your sponsored child. If you still would really like to send something more, we ask that – at largest – it fits in a 6”x 9” manila envelope. Some appropriate items are seeds, school supplies, socks and underwear, stickers, and small books.

May I send pictures of myself or my family to my sponsored child?


Absolutely! Just like you, the children love putting a name to a face, and would be excited to receive photos of you and your family. We ask that you do not send photos that include expressions of physical wealth (large homes, cars, boats, etc) or immodest dress (such as bathing suits). Pictures taken of you while visiting places is a great way to introduce the children to places they have never seen.

May I give my address to my sponsored child for correspondence?


In an effort to protect privacy for both sponsors and children, all communication must go through AOET. Please do not include your address, phone number or email address in any correspondence with your sponsored child. Do not mention your child visiting you in America, or that you will help him/her get here. For example, if you asked a child if they would like to visit America, it would likely cause confusion because they would view the question as a promise for them to really visit. Your sponsored child’s status in the program may be at risk if these guidelines aren’t followed.

Should I connect with my sponsored child through social media?


As an organization that sees its role as helping to facilitate positive relationships between sponsors and those they support, we discourage sponsors from using social media as an avenue for communication.  We have experienced several situations created through social media connections that have put a sponsor and/or the child at risk for being taken advantage of or have created misunderstandings regarding financial donations.   We recommend sponsors wait to become “friends” with a child until after they have left or graduated from our program.  AOET~USA will gladly assist sponsors in connecting with those they support through letters.

Can I communicate directly with my sponsored child?


Yes! Please send all correspondence to your sponsored child through AOET-USA’s office at:

AOET-USA
PO Box 19006
Portland, OR 97280

The children do not have a post office to receive their mail, so we will forward the letters to the AOET child welfare office in Uganda for delivery. The children are always eager to receive letters & pictures from their sponsors, so we encourage you to write often. Please be sure to include the child’s name and ACS or VOC number on all correspondence to ensure it gets to the correct recipient.

Financial

What if I have a financial change and cannot give my pledged donations?


We understand that people experience financial changes that can make sponsorship difficult. At the same time, we rely on timely donations in order to care for the children in our program. If you are facing financial difficulties, please contact our office (503-954-3711) so we can work with you.

May I send more money than just the sponsorship to my child?


We invite you to contribute twice a year to our Birthday Bash and Christmas Giving funds. These funds will be given to AOET-Uganda to best decide how to spend them, ensuring that all children in the AOET program receive equal service. For example, rather than asking sponsors to send individual Birthday/Christmas gifts to their sponsored child, AOET will host one large party where all sponsored children will be invited to participate and receive care.

If you are interested in giving additional funds, we welcome donations to our General Fund, which keeps AOET strong so that we can best care for your sponsored child.

How do recurring donations work?


If you signed up here on our website, you don’t need to do anything to authorize the next month’s donation — it will automatically be charged to the credit card you used to donate the first time.

If you want to set up, or need to change your quarterly, biannual, or annual donations, please call our office at (503) 954-3711 or email molly@aoetusa.com.

Are my donations tax deductible?


Yes, AOET~USA is registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization (Tax ID# 20-4145965) and oversees the use of all funds to ensure they are used for charitable purposes. You will receive an annual year-end giving statement totaling all of your gifts in the year. Year-end giving statements are mailed out by the end of January each year.

Life in Africa

What is the school system like in Uganda?


In Uganda, the government boasts education for all children, but the reality is that Uganda’s public schools are incredibly overcrowded – with 100-300 students per teacher – and offer a very poor education. That is why most of our students attend a privately-run institution where school fees are paid each of the three terms in a school year. The school terms run roughly January-April, May-August and September-December.

Primary School begins with Nursery Classes, then proceeds with Primary 1 through Primary 7.

Secondary School proceeds with Senior 1 through Senior 6.  Depending on performance, some students may opt to complete a 1-2 year vocational program after Senior 4, instead of completing Senior 5 and Senior 6.

 

What are the uniforms and dress like?


In addition to their school uniforms, most schools require short hair as a sanitary precaution. You may have wondered why most children have shaved heads – even the girls! Shorter hair is also more conducive to warmer weather conditions. Your sponsorship helps provide a school uniform to each child.

What happens if life circumstances change for my child?


There are circumstances that could occur in which your child could move into another area or leave AOET’s sponsorship program. For example, a relative may surface that could pay for their school fees, or the economic status of the family might change for the better, and they are no longer in need of a sponsor. There can also be unfortunate circumstances — such as pregnancy, marriage at a young age, or disinterest in getting an education — that could cause a student to leave our program.

In the event that any of these situations happen, we will notify you as soon as possible, and offer to assign you another child in need of sponsorship.

What happens when a child completes his/her schooling?


It is our hope that sponsors are committed to sponsoring their children through high school. Upon completion of high school, we will ask you about your sponsorship preferences.

My child’s birthday is not listed on their profile. Why?


In Uganda, birthdays are often not recorded, and culturally birthdays aren’t regularly celebrated. If AOET-USA does not provide you with a birthdate for your sponsored child, then we don’t have one on record. If you would still like to observe a special day for your child, why not celebrate the date your sponsorship began? Your child will love it!

My child seems much older than a child in their grade should be. Why is this?


In Uganda, there are many reasons why a child may not be able to start school at a young age, or there may be extended periods where school is missed due to illness, caring for ill relatives, or working to support the family. Often there are gaps in education, and it is normal for a student to be in their twenties and still in secondary school. In the communities we serve, employment opportunities are very few and it is often impossible for a student to attend school and work to pay for their school fees. Unlike in America, part-time work-study jobs are not available as a means for students to help pay for their education. Frequently, elder children are also responsible for helping provide for younger siblings.

My child lives with one or both parents, and is not an orphan. Why is he/she in the program?


Our Child Welfare staff works hard with families and local community and church members to be sure that we are always caring for children with the most need. Many guardians in our program sacrificially care for numerous children – frequently 4-6 children live under one roof. The consistency of family life is one of the most significant factors in a child’s success. To support the family structure, we will often try to find sponsors for both birth and orphaned/fostered children. Due to AIDS/HIV, poverty and other harsh conditions, many families are in need of extra assistance, even if both parents are still living. For example, one parent might become severely ill, which could have major ramifications on the economic status of that family. When folks live this deep in poverty, they really just need someone to reach out and help them.

The Program

What are other ways I can support AOET?


We welcome your support! Below are some ways you can continue to support AOET:

  • Pray for the work of AOET.
  • Support the general ministry of AOET-USA by making a secure, online donation today.
    Donate
  • Volunteer with AOET-USA in lovely Portland, Oregon.
  • Advocate on behalf of AOET in one of these areas:
    – Child Sponsorship – Help us connect with folks in your area about sponsorship.
    – Schools – Help us connect schools in your area with AOET.
    – Churches – Help us raise awareness in your church.
  • If you are interested in any of these areas, please contact our office at 503.954.3711 or julie@aoetusa.com.

May I sponsor more than one child?


Absolutely! After having a positive experience with us, there have been many sponsors who have expanded their support by adding additional children, donating to our transition fund (which helps cover children’s sponsorships if they are in between sponsors), or donating to our general fund to help support the vital administrative functions of AOET.

Due to the subscription process of starting recurring payments, you must sign up to sponsor children one at a time on our site. Thank you for your patience.

How long does my sponsorship last?


AOET commits to support a child through primary and secondary school (high school). In some circumstances, the child may have the opportunity to continue to move onto vocational training, and we will be in touch with the sponsors if/when that time comes.

In what countries do you offer sponsorship?


AOET-USA offers sponsorships to children living in Uganda.

If you have more questions about our program or sponsorship, please email us at molly@aoetusa.com or call at (503) 954-3711.