Since the earliest days of Lesedi, it has been apparent that some families are unable to pay even the nominal school fees charged of US$34 per term. To continue at school, many of the children need financial support.
To address this issue, we introduced a sponsorship program for children requiring assistance. The program started in early 2018 and immediately made a dramatic difference. Many of the children have had a very difficult start in life and without sponsorship their education would be extremely limited, with most not able to complete primary education. Sponsorship gives them a unique opportunity to improve their circumstances in life.
Initially we restricted the program to those children in most need. However the deteriorating economic situation in Zimbabwe means that nearly everyone is now struggling, so we are continuing to expand the program to the whole school.
Financially, sponsorship covers the cost of school fees, breakfast and lunch each day and uniform. The fee includes a contribution to our welfare fund, enabling us to arrange medical care and ongoing treatment for pupils with health issues, who otherwise wouldn’t be seen by a doctor. However, the benefits of sponsorship are proving to be far broader and deeper than the financial support alone. The relationship between each child and their sponsor, with the realization that they are valued and loved, is proving to be the biggest gift of all.
How to sponsor a child
Please contact Fiona if you are interested in sponsoring a child at Lesedi. We will provide details of a suitable child, including a photo and some background information.
Sponsorship costs $25 per child per month for our USA supporters. In the UK the cost is £15 per month, assuming we can reclaim gift aid. It is possible to make one annual payment if preferred.
We endeavor to make the sponsorship experience as personal as possible. The children write to their sponsors (or the younger ones do a drawing) once per term. Mostly we send these notes/drawings by email to minimize costs. However, we normally send a card and photo at Christmas in the regular mail. We encourage sponsors to write if they wish to do so. Our pupils love to hear from their sponsors, who they call their “special friends”. Exchanging letters and photos is a great way to build a relationship with your sponsor child.
We obviously hope each sponsor will build a long-term relationship with their sponsor child and continue sponsorship for many years but we recognize that circumstances change over time. Should a sponsor decide not to continue, we would ensure another sponsor is found for that child. There is certainly no obligation to continue sponsorship throughout a child's education!
How does it really work?
We are sometimes asked how sponsorship really works, rather than the "marketing spin". There seems to be an assumption that sponsorship is just a good fundraising tool or that several sponsors are allocated to each child. We genuinely allocate just one sponsor to each child and the sponsorship fees enable that child to remain in school and receive an education, as well as providing for their meals and general welfare. We use the welfare fund to temporarily cover the cost of school fees for those children who are waiting to find a sponsor, so that they are not excluded from school.