Posted by: Douglas Bailey | October 28, 2010

How far can you stretch $20?

For Christmas each year, Compassion sponsors around the world are asked to contribute to a combined fund from which all Compassion children (sponsored or awaiting sponsorship) will receive a Christmas gift.  For many of them it will be the only gift they receive at Christmas.  The gift/s are normally chosen by the parents and Compassion staff.  I was amazed at just how far Banesa’s family could make $18.75 USD stretch.

Have a look at this letter I received from Banesa.  Ignore the ugly black lines at the top where I hid unique ID numbers and look down to lines 5 and 6 of the English translation.

From my limited knowledge of spanish I would say that Banesa only got the one blouse but even so!  Shoes, Blouse, Cream (read: soap), Shampoo, Socks.  For $18.75!!  This is why I will choose to purchase gifts for the children while I’m in El Salvador.  This won’t only save me on extra baggage costs when flying in, it will help the local economy and my money will go further.  But don’t be fooled in to thinking the cost of living is cheap. Most families helped by Compassion will be earning only $70-$130 USD… PER MONTH.  Not per day or week.  Notice also that Banesa didn’t get a doll or a teddy bear she got necessities.  What child wants to receive soap for Christmas?  That may seem like a rhetorical question but, in fact, Banesa probably did want the soap!

This all goes to prove just how effective our dollars can be in the developing world.  How so little can mean so much.

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