Frequently asked questions about Nyaka's Sponsor a Student Program
What is the Sponsor a Student Program?
There is nothing more powerful than human connection. In the Sponsor a Student Program, you are matched with a child living in rural Uganda. You will receive letters from your child and are welcome to write back.
What makes Nyaka unique?
With nearly 60,000 orphaned children living in the surrounding areas of our schools, we are grateful to have the support and love of over 10,000 grandmothers in the community who provide the children with a safe place to live and someone to hug. These women are the lifeblood of the community and are helping to empower the child you sponsor and lift themselves out of poverty.
How often will I receive information about my child?
You will receive several updates about your child throughout the Ugandan school year, which runs from February to December.
How do I choose which child I want to sponsor?
It is totally up to you! You are welcome to choose a child because they have a name that is meaningful to you, a smile that is too cute to pass up, or just because they stand out. Sometimes selecting just one child can be tough, so a staff member at Nyaka would be glad to help match you! Just select “No preference – find me a student!” when you complete your sponsorship.
What does my sponsorship provide for a child?
Your sponsorship covers an entire year of quality education, two meals per day, uniforms, shoes, books, medicine, clean water, and more. Secondary school sponsorships also cover the cost of room and board as the students live on campus during secondary school.
How long does a sponsorship last?
Sponsorships can be set up on an annual basis or an ongoing monthly basis. This is based on the preference of each individual sponsor.
Can I write letters to my sponsored child?
You are not required or expected to write to your child, but many sponsors do because they receive additional letters from their child in return, beyond the standard letters that are sent every year.
Where do I send a letter to my child? How long does it take to get there? What do I say in my letter?
You can send letters through email or postal mail:
Send an e-mailed letter to your child at firstname.lastname@example.org. E-mailed letters take an average of 3-4 weeks to reach your child.
Send a postal mail letter to Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project, 2970 East Lake Lansing Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823. This letter will be scanned and e-mailed, taking an average of 3-4 weeks to reach your child. The hard copy will then be placed in an envelope and delivered to your child in person the next time we have a visitor traveling to Uganda.
Tell the child about your life, your family members, pets, and hobbies. It is also helpful for Nyaka staff when letters are labeled with the student's ID number, the student’s name, year in school, and the name of the school.
Can I send gifts to my sponsored child?
You can send a letter or card with a family photo which will be treasured by your sponsored child. However, due to cost, equity concerns and risk of theft or damage, Nyaka does not permit sponsors to send gifts to their sponsored child.
Can a sponsor visit their child in Uganda?
Yes. In addition to writing to your sponsored child, we encourage you to consider a trip to visit your sponsored child in their community. These are life-changing experiences and we are happy to help you plan a visit.
What if I’m sponsoring a child that graduates?
You should celebrate! You have given your child a future brighter than the sun! You are also welcome to then transfer your sponsorship to a new child if you wish.
Can I gift a sponsorship to someone?
Yes. We would be delighted to help you sponsor a child in honor of a loved one.
What does a current sponsorship cost?
A year-long sponsorship for primary students is $375 USD per year (or $32 per month). Secondary child sponsorship is $625 USD per year (or $53 per month). We will contact you at the end of the annual sponsorship to remind you when it is time to renew.
What does my money support?
100% of your donation helps to pay the costs to educate your sponsored child. In addition to free education, you are providing your child with two meals per day, medical care, clean water, school uniforms, books, writing materials, and sanitary products.
What are the school grades in Uganda compared to the US?
The schooling system in Uganda is quite different from the United States. For primary school, the grades correspond to their US equivalent.
Preschool/Kindergarten is wrapped into one grade called “Nursery” in Uganda.
"Primary 1 through Primary 7" is similar to elementary school and early middle school.
Secondary school begins immediately following Primary 7. The students live in dorms where they attend secondary school. Students either begin a vocational (technical or hands-on) training or secondary school.
Vocational training is called “Year” and there are 2-3 years for a certificate in a trade. An example of a vocational certificate at our school is Building and Concrete Practice (Construction).
The secondary school is a total of 6 years. Students who complete secondary school are eligible to attend University.
Exams in Uganda are very rigorous so it is not uncommon for a child to begin secondary school then switch to vocational school due to poor exam results.
Do the students speak English? What is their native language?
All classes at Nyaka, Kutamba, and NVSS are taught in English. The official languages of Uganda are Swahili and English, and there are several regional languages that are also spoken. Rukiga is the local language spoken by the Nyaka community. While many Ugandans and almost all Nyaka staff speak English, the Ugandan dialect of English is quite different from the American dialect.
When does the Ugandan school year begin and end?
The school year runs from February to December.
Any other information I should know about Ugandan culture?
Ugandans don’t celebrate birthdays. There is only 1 doctor per 250,000 people in this region of Uganda. The few hospitals available often have long waiting times (sometimes days!) and are very expensive. Because of these factors, most babies are born at home and never get a birth certificate. Orphaned children may not have anyone in their lives who remembers when they were born. Many orphaned children do not know their exact age.