A. The school year in the Philippines starts in June and ends in March or April. Students have several holidays throughout the year and school may also be closed as needed during the rainy season if there is flooding.
A. The sponsorship fees are due by the first of the month. An annual notice will be sent out in January. You may choose to pay monthly, quarterly, twice a year or once a year.
A. No. Once a child has been sponsored, we will mark the child as "sponsored" on the website and leave their photo on the site for a few more weeks. After that, their photo is removed to make it easier for the remaining children on the website to be seen and, hopefully, chosen for sponsorship.
A. It is very common for a child to take more than one year to complete a grade. There are many reasons for this including missed school days due to illness or the family needing the child's help at home. The child must also pass a standardized government test before they can pass to the next grade level. If they do not pass, they must repeat the grade.
A. His Hands for the Philippines sends a team once a year. Generally we go in the month of April which is during school break. The registrations in the Philippines are done at their local church and not at their school.
A. Yes. There is an application process for those who are interested in joining one of our work teams. Every effort will be made for sponsors on our teams to meet their sponsored child but please be aware that we cannot promise this. (Children are sometimes absent when we visit their school or sometimes we discover that they have left the program.) If you are interested in applying for one of our teams, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A. Please bear in mind that all our program coordinators are volunteers - donating their time and energy in order to help the children. Many of them have full-time jobs and families to care for so they may not be able to respond to messages immediately. Because of the willingness of these wonderful, caring individuals who are serving in this capacity in our ministry without being financially compensated, we are able to send 100% of your sponsorship donations directly to the program in the Philippines. So we ask for your patience while waiting for a response to your messages.
A. The decision to accept, ignore or deny friend requests on Facebook is left to the discretion of each of the program coordinators or board members. Some of them prefer to maintain their Facebook account for only family and friends they know well and we respect this decision on their part. Each of the program coordinators are members of the group page for sponsors of the program for which they are responsible and they can be contacted with messages there or through e-mail.
A. Cyber cafes exist in the cities and the cost to use a computer is minimal. Cell phones are also prevalent and very inexpensive both to purchase and to use. All phones are prepaid phones. Minutes are added by purchasing a phone card, the cost of which is minimal. But please bear in mind - for security reasons, it is against our policy for sponsors to have contact with their sponsored child (or any child in the sponsorship program) on social media or via e-mail.
A. You may send a financial gift to your child through His Hands for the Philippines. If it is for a specific need, such as shoes, be sure to include a note specifying who and what the amount is for. If you send a non-specified amount for your child, then our partners will most likely buy food for your child’s family unless they know of another pressing need the family has.
A. As soon as we find out that a child is no longer attending school and it appears that they will not return, we will assign another child to you and sent you their information sheet and photo. We will do our best to match you with a child of the same gender and age as the child that you had. Occasionally a child may return to the program, but once we have replaced a child with another, we are not able to switch back.
A. One way that His Hands differs from some of the big-name sponsorship organizations is the fact that we do not have any personnel from the ministry on the ground in the Philippines to help facilitate things like letter writing. We do have a partnership with an NGO in Baguio City that facilitates the pick up and delivery of mail. Keep in mind that they are working to help over 500 children and it takes time to travel to the location of the child to deliver the letter or package and, if possible, to get pictures. It also takes time for them to get the children's letters packaged for mailing in batches which saves them postage. Recently they have been e-mailing copies of letters and photos which makes it faster, however the internet in their area is not the best and it is often not working. If your child is not writing to you it does not mean that they don’t need or appreciate the help that you are giving them. It is also possible that parents of the children are illiterate and would be unable to write on behalf of their children or help their children to write a letter themselves. And day-to-day life for many of the families of children in our program is difficult. Some don't know where their next meal is coming from or how they will pay for medicines for their children. In the face of these difficult circumstances, we have chosen not to add to their burden (or to add to the burden of the pastors or teachers) by making it mandatory for the children to write back. We STRONGLY encourage them to do so, but we have not made it mandatory. Please understand that your letters are delivered if they are received by the NGO in Baguio City. The postal service in the Philippines is not entirely reliable and neither our partners in the Philippines nor His Hands can be held responsible for letters and/or packages that never make it to the post office box of the NGO in Baguio City.
A. First, if you would really like to sponsor but just don't know how you could afford to do so, consider whether some small changes might help make it possible for you to sponsor. Most of us could make some very small changes in our spending habits and "find" $10 each month we could use to help support a child. You can also make one-time donations instead of the regular monthly support necessary to sponsor a child. If you would like to do this, please visit our Donate page. Also, if you shop on Amazon, you can go to smile.amazon.com, designate His Hands Support Ministries as your charity of choice, and a small portion of your purchase will go to us. But if it is really not possible for you to do any of this, then we do have some alternate suggestions. Most importantly, please pray for the children, their parents, the pastors, and the program administrators of His Hands. Pray that God will continue to meet all their needs and provide a way for more support to come in. Second, please consider sharing this need with your friends and family. In our experience, word of mouth is the best way for new sponsors to be found. Please consider sharing our website on your social media pages or even while waiting in the checkout line at the store. We appreciate any help you can give!
A. For the answer to this question, please click here to read our policy concerning donations in kind.