Frequent Asked Questions (FAQ)
We understand that you may have other questions about our programs. We would like to help provide some answers to the most frequent questions from our donors. If you have any other questions that are not answered below or need further clarification, feel free to contact us.
Frequent Asked Questions
Can I get some help navigating these acronyms?
ACT stands for African Children Today—the nonprofit organization based in Minnesota.
RODI stands for Rakai Orphans Development Initiative—the nonprofit organization based in the Rakai district of Uganda.
The Rakai district of Uganda has been termed "ground zero" of AIDS. The first case of the virus was discovered there in the early 1980s. More than one million orphans have been left behind and are in dire need of care, medical attention and both basic and HIV/AIDS education.
How are donations allocated?
Contributors are in full control of their entire donation. This means that 100 percent of all donations are used per the donor’s wishes. If no details are specified, funds are used where they are needed most.
How do I help the most?
You may select where your funds go but we encourage child sponsorship. Our goal is that each child receive a solid education, life skills and training about HIV/AIDS.
Do you give the money directly to the child and/or their family?
No. The RODI Office administers the program, pays school tuition, arranges for uniforms & shoes, etc. on behalf of the family. This ensures that your money is used appropriately.
Can I send money or a gift to my child?
Yes, you can send monetary gifts through the African Children Today, and you can also send packages directly to Uganda.
If my payment is late/missing, can my child still go to school?
Children are not penalized if your donation is late or missed. However we do appreciate it if your sponsorship donations arrive on time. RODI will always approach the school if there is any delay.
How many sponsors does my child have?
All of our sponsored children have 1 sponsor. We encourage you to stay current on your sponsorship and to write your letters as often as possible as your child has no other sponsors to depend on besides you.
What is a good gift to send to my child?
We recommend monetary gifts for your sponsored child. 100% of money designated as a “gift” is spent on your child and/or their family and our staff will help them select an appropriate gifts based on their needs and/or your preference. You can also send a package to Uganda.
Can I email my child?
No. Free and reliable internet is not available in Uganda and internet café are considered unsafe, especially for younger children. The only method of communicating with your child is through letters (either handwritten, or sent electronically through our official emails). Please do not send your email address to your child, as they will try to find a way to email you.
Can I have a new picture of my child?
We send new pictures thrice each year through emails supplied. Due to the cost of development we cannot send a printed picture of your child. We hope one sent electronically can be as good.
Is my child an orphan?
Some children are orphans; many are from single parent families or may be living with aunts and uncles because their parents can’t provide for them. Being an orphan is not a prerequisite for the program. All children and families in our program are in need. We however give a brief description about the family of every child on the initial card you will receive. This is a sensitive question in Uganda, and you should wait until you have a relationship with your child before asking that question. If your child is comfortable telling you, he/she will.
How can I find out about the rest of my child’s family? Does my child have siblings?
The information we provide is very brief and usually numerical, but if you write to your child, asking generally about their family, he/she will tell you.
Can I sponsor my child’s siblings?
In order to help as many families as possible, we limit each family to registering two children in our program. Also, since we don’t track sibling relationships, it can be difficult to locate and register siblings. However, it is possible, sometimes, to sponsor one of your child’s siblings. This will require patience on your part as the process usually takes time.
What are my child’s special needs?
We don’t have that information but RODI Sponsorship Office will provide you with this information if you need it. Please note that gifts do not need to be large in size (or amount) to sufficiently meet your child’s needs.
Can I go to Uganda to meet my child?
Yes. Several churches and Organisations visit Uganda throughout the year and it maybe possible for you to join them. You can also visit as an individual and we will make arrangements for but you are required to meet all the costs of the entire trip.
How long can my child stay in the sponsorship program?
Generally, our children are permitted to remain in the program until they are 23 years old. This allows them to complete vocational, tertiary or university programs before they leave ARODI. As children progress through our program, the cost of their sponsorship may increase, due to an increase in school fees as they reach higher levels of education. You as a sponsor will be kept informed of your child’s educational progress and will have the option to help meet any of their increased educational expenses if you so desire.
How often will I receive letters from my child?
Sponsors should expect to receive 3 letters from their sponsored child per year. At each of these times a picture of either the child or their family or both is attached. Please note: Our staff will always help very young children to translate what they want to write to you and in such cases, the child will only draw pictures for you. As these children grow up, they will slowly start writing themselves.
I don't want to commit to a monthly donation or sponsor a child. How can I still help?
One-time donations are welcome. Unless otherwise specified, the funds are used where they are needed most, such as for the following: mosquito nets, water tanks, latrines, shoes, clothing and so on.
How else can I help my sponsored child?
When a family has a major crisis such as a death or serious health problem, we may reach out to the sponsor to see if they would like to participate in helping the family with additional costs. Offering the opportunity to donate additional funds is a judgment call on the part of RODI and its partners. Some people have chosen to improve on or build a new home for their child’s family. Others have paid for funerals or emergency food supplies. Still others have purchased land and plant crops—even chickens, goats, pigs or cows.
What are the school grades/levels in Uganda and how do they compare to the grade levels in the USA?
In Uganda we have:
Baby/nursery class – This is equivalent to Preschool & Kindergarten
Primary 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 – This is equivalent to 1st – 6th grade
Secondary 1, 2, 3, 4 – This is equivalent to 7th – 10th grade. Students seeking vocational training or one-year university certificates often stop their high school education after S.4.
Secondary 5, 6 – This is equivalent to 11th & 12th grade. S.5 & S.6 are usually only taken by students who are seeking a university diploma/degree. S.5 & S.6 consist of specialized courses that prepare them for college admission & their preferred university major.
University Diploma (Associate’s Degrees) – 2 years
University Degree (Bachelor’s Degrees) – Most courses require 3 years in University, Law & Medicine Degrees can take 4-5 years
Trade Training – This can be through formal vocational school or through apprenticeship. It happens if a child is facing difficulty progressing at any of the Levels after Primary 6.