Bosnia and Macedonia, where most of our sponsored children live, are depressingly poor countries. Poverty is still increasing due to a badly functioning economy, high unemployment rates (locally up to more than 90%),high costs of living (20% VAT), poor financial discipline and tax evasion.
The government’s cash shortage makes it impossible for the Social Welfare Offices to cover the needs of vulnerable social groups such as single mothers, war veterans, invalids and pensioners who are in no position to support themselves or their families
Many people, old and young, are sick, they don’t have the money for medicine, for food or for their children’s education. As long as they are without jobs they have no chance of improving their lives.
Helfer ohne Grenzen e.V. with offices at Sarajevo, Zavidovici and Skopje are in contact with the Social Welfare Offices. They inform our local staff of families with children who can no longer keep up the daily struggle for survival without support.
The data of these families are entered in an application sheet together with an assessment of the families’ situation based on a quota system. On this basis we establish the monthly amount required to provide the child with necessities like regular meals, clothing and school supplies. Typically, the amount is 50 € per month. The application sheet is then sent to the Heidelberg office for approval. Here we prepare newsletters containing a short story and a photo of each child to be handed out to people interested in a sponsorship together with a sponsorship information sheet and a sponsorship registration form. Press coverage of our activities in the Heidelberg area is very helpful in our search for sponsors.
A good deal of our sponsors, however, join us upon recommendation by people who have known us for many years and/or are long-time HoG child sponsors. This is a great honor to us by which we feel bound and encouraged.
A sponsorship begins when we receive the completed registration form in which the sponsors state, among other things, the amount of the monthly support for their special child. The total amount needed can be divided up between several sponsors.
Sponsorship monies are paid out in full without any deductions. Operational costs are covered by membership fees. Therefore, as an option, a sponsor can at the same time become a member of Helfer ohne Grenzen for a membership fee of 36 € p.a. and help us cover the costs incurred by the monthly distribution of the monies.
In view of the extent of administration work needed regular monthly sponsorship donations should be no less than 20 € (but we are certainly grateful for any odd sum paid occasionally into our orphans’ account). Finally, the new sponsors will receive a Sponsorship Document connecting them to their one special child who will know their name and feel their interest and loving care.
We prepare monthly payment lists containing every single payment to be effected that month (including extra payments and donations for people in immediate need). Our partners in Bosnia and Macedonia receive these lists together with the money per electronic transfer by midmonth.
Appointments are then made with the children and/or their guardians to collect the money at the Social Welfare Offices in the various towns and villages where our children live. In case of illness or other emergencies our helpers drive to the children’s homes to make sure that they get the money and that everything is in good order.
Payments are in cash to the children’s guardian person (as long as they are under age) upon signature and stating the identity card number.
Sometimes the signature is a thumbprint, for many a grandma or granddad never learned to read or write.
This enables us to follow up every single payment .
The sponsors usually pay by money transfer order or they authorize us to collect the money from their account which makes things easier for our bookkeeper.
Sponsors and children are encouraged to have direct contact unless there is an express wish to remain unknown.
Sometimes communication develops just fine and is a real joy for both children and sponsors, sometimes the going is tough for various reasons and may require some patience.
But we tell the children that it is important to try and communicate the gratefulness they all feel for sure. And for the families to receive a letter in reply and maybe a photo from their sponsors is a great joy and wonder.
We are always glad to help out with translations.
A visit to one’s sponsored child is a great experience. We invite our sponsors to accompany us on our regular trips to our field offices in order to get first-hand impressions of the country and the people.
Inviting the children to come and visit is complicated, expensive and generally not advisable.
-upon termination, which may be at any time and without prior notice. In this case, HoG will keep up payments until we find new sponsors; -when the child comes of age, which is generally when school ends and the difficult search for a job begins. -if the sponsored child marries. -if the child’s living conditions change for the better and support is no longer necessary, which is constantly verified by our staff. -if the child stops going to school and/or becomes a serious problem case; our staff do their best to give advice and support, but they are in no position to provide therapeutic help.
Even after a sponsorship has expired, sponsors can help their former child by the occasional payment in cases of acute emergency.
If you don’t wish to enter into a binding commitment, you can help children without becoming a sponsor by making occasional or regular uncommitted donations into