Have you ever met someone new and had no idea what to talk about? Why is that?
Because you don’t know them. Their favorite food … their weekend hobbies … their upbringing … their family …
It’s all one big mystery.
That’s why it’s so important to take some time and learn more about your sponsored child’s culture! He or she lives thousands of miles away. And if you’re a new sponsor, chances are you don’t know that much about your child’s country or customs yet.
Here are some fun, simple things you can do to celebrate your sponsored child’s culture:
Enjoy a meal from your child’s country
Gather the family around the kitchen and set off on a culinary adventure.
Start by looking up a recipe for a famous dish from your child’s country. Then, have everyone pitch in to help make it. At the end, you’ll get to enjoy a delicious treat that will make you feel closer to your sponsored child.
Need some ideas to get you started?
Uganda: Make a pot of matoke. This spicy beef and plantain stew is sure to shake up your normal menu rotation. Of course, if you’re not an adventurous eater, you could also just grab some bananas from your local grocery store. Uganda is famous for its tropical fruits and grows more bananas than any other country in Africa!
India: Try your hand at making naan. Few Indian meals would be complete without this iconic flatbread. It’s easier to make than you’d think, and if you have kids, they’ll love to help knead the dough.
Guatemala: If you’re not a fan of cooking and your sponsored child is from Guatemala, you’re in luck. Just brew up some coffee! Guatemala is one of the biggest exporters of coffee in the world. Its warm, humid environment is perfect for growing the beans, and the volcanic soil helps pack in a ton of flavor.
Is your child’s country not listed above? Just do a quick internet search for “easy recipes from <insert your child’s country>” and you’re likely to find plenty of fun, tasty options.
Listen to your child’s national anthem
Another way you can connect to your sponsored child’s culture is by listening to his or her national anthem.
Most countries have one, but have you ever thought about what they sound like? For instance, the Philippines’ “Lupang Hinirang” is very different from the United States’ “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
If you sponsor a child in the Philippines or some other country, why not listen to the national anthem. Perhaps you can gather your own children or grandchildren around so they can listen, too. It’ll be a fun learning experience for the entire family!
If you have a musician in the family, you could even look up the music online and play along.
It may sound foreign to you, but just remember that your sponsored child most likely knows the song by heart. And by listening, you are making an effort to better understand his or her heritage.
Learn a little bit of the language
If your sponsored child doesn’t speak English as their first language, challenge yourself to learn a few words or phrases in his or her native tongue.
Thanks to the internet, it’s never been easier to learn another language for free. Check out OpenCulture for lessons on just about any language you can think of or try the super fun and easy-to-use Duolingo app.
You could also easily type whatever message you’d like into Google Translate or another translating program. Most of these programs have an audio option so you can learn not only how to spell the words but also how to pronounce them.
Then, surprise and delight your sponsored child by including a few of your new words or phrases in your next letter!
If you’ve never sent your sponsored child a letter before, it’s easy! Just slip your message inside an envelope and mail it to:
[Sponsored Child’s name and ID #]
c/o World Help Child Sponsorship Program
P.O. Box 501
Forest, VA 24551
Or, if you prefer to send an email, you can do that here.
No matter which country your sponsored child is from, learning more about his or her culture will help build a strong foundation for your relationship. The more you learn, the more you’ll have to write about. Plus, you’ll have some fun along the way!
If you aren’t yet a sponsor but are interested in getting started, click the button below to learn more.