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.

Contact RODI                                                                                                                        Contact ACT

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.

Why Rakai?

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.

Gift CatalogueA gift to a family can bring so much happiness

Gift Catalogue

Provide annual school Materials for a child without a sponsor - $30

Many children fail to go to school because their guardians cannot be able to raise both school materials at tuition. Provision of school materials would encourage a guardian to concentrate on raising the tuition required since some schools may allow children to study on credit. There is no credit that can be given for the materials that the child uses to study. Support children in this category.

Provide a goat and two chickens to a family - $90

Chickens are easy to raise and easily naturally multiply on the family. Chicks require little money, space, or food to thrive and grow — making them an ideal source of income for a vulnerable family. Chickens provide fresh eggs that are rich in protein and nutrients, and extra eggs and chicks can be sold to pay for basics. Each family that receives chickens is asked to give back hatched chicks to help another family in need. Goats are also easy to look after and can multiply. A family can sell a goat to keep a child in school.

Purchase a milk cow for a family - $250

Through zero grazing a family can look after a cow very well. It will in turn give them milk and cheese which can help protect the health of an impoverished family. The extra protein and calcium are particularly important for growing girls,
 since most of their bone mass is developed by the time they reach their twenties. This gift will also allow the family to earn money at the local market by selling extra dairy products and the cow’s offspring — especially critical for those left without the support of a husband and father.

Dress two Children ~ Purchase a dress for a girl ($25) and a pair of trousers and a shirt for a boy ($35)

When children cannot dress properly, their confidence is ruined and development is hampered. Instead of moving forward to meet their opportunities, they shy away. And when they do not get warm, death is unavoidable due to especially Pneumonia.

Purchase 2 piglets for a family to rear - $80

Like goats, pigs are easy to raise because they can eat leave which work as food and as medication. The pig gives many piglets in a single litter which can be sold to get an income for the family. This income can be used to get other basic needs of the family and/or support a child in school.

Purchase a water filter for a family or school - $75

Every living thing needs water and not just water but clean water. All over the world, access to clean water means the difference between surviving and flourishing. There has effort find clean water and unfortunately the much effort is needed with the ever growing population. In Rakai like in many parts of Africa, waters sources are very contaminated leading to diseases like dysentery and diarrhea which kill many children. One water filter can support the targeted families and the neighborhoods. Living along the equator, for many children the overhead sun leaves them no option but to drink any water that they find.  The existence of water filters save the guardian the worries of a mid-night diarrhea.

Stop Malaria Deaths - Purchase 1 bed net and medication for a child with Malaria - $65

In a country where Malaria remains the major cause of death for especially children, there will always be those that are in need of proper treatment. We have spent more on Malaria treatment than on any other disease. After treatment, the best procedure is to give that person a mosquito net.

Provide 3 meals per day for a month to a family of 6 people - $200

It may come to you as a surprise but some families struggle to get at least one meal in a day. Due to climatic changes leading to very poor harvest, some families find themselves without any meal in a day. You can support such families.

Purchase an assortment of farming tools for a family - $200

Subsistence agriculture is the dominant economic activity, employing over 85% of the people in Uganda. Crops grown include bananas, beans, potatoes, cassava, maize, sorghum, finger millet, fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, pineapples, onions and cabbage. However, the lack of tools by some households has denied them chance to grow enough food for the family. Many such families have land where they can grow food but they lack tools and seeds. You donation will help buy a household the appropriate tools and seeds to solve the problem of food scarcity in the family. When the harvests are high, the surplus can be sold for an income to buy other needs of the family.

Purchase 2 quality soccer balls for a school - $50

Children around the world love soccer. The doctors will tell you that it is good exercise and keeps them healthy. Due to extreme poverty, no money can be spared for such ‘pleasures’. Consequently, instead of kicking real soccer balls these children kick around makeshift balls made of plastic bags and old clothes tied with strings or old cords. And because they do not have playing shoes, they end up hurting their feet with some of them losing their nails. The worst is that their talent is never developed! You can save many talents by giving this gift to a school.

Share in the construction of a 4 roomed cemented house for a family.

Every human being must rest and the usually at night. Unfortunately for some mothers, this is time to worry about what might happen to them. They either feel unprotected or under great worry of being buried in the rubble in case their house collapsed. They are worried about any weather changes because every weather element affects them negatively. Their day sums up without any rest because they are looking for food during the day and are worrying at night. Every year we identify two families that are in the greatest need. Each house provides permanent shelter and therefore good health for between 6 – 8 people. You can take a step.

If you need more information, go to Rakai House Construction Estimates


Send a gift

If it were possible, the best would be for every sponsor to buy a gift a gift and send it to his/her child and/or their family. We encourage sponsors to send a monetary gift mainly because itSend a GiftYour gift can change the life of a family is the most secure way to send a gift to your child. It allows us to purchase an appropriate gift for your child which best suits the child’s needs. It also saves money on costly postage costs, allowing 100% of your gift money to go towards the child’s gift. In addition, the money you send will have greater purchasing power and will result in a larger gift than it would if it was purchased in the United States because some gifts are cheaper in Uganda. Such a gift can be sent along with your regular monthly support and noting what the extra money is to be used for.

We therefore advise that if possible every any gift be sent in form of money. RODI has made a list of some of the gifts that you can give your children. We have indicated the local cost of each of the gifts and your child and/or their family will participate in the process of buying it. Once the funds have been received, one of our staff will be allocated this responsibility and pictures of the child and/or their family will be sent to you after the gift has been received. If you are ready to give a gift go to our Gift Catalogue.      

Gift Catalogue

Send a GiftYour Gift can keep a child Like Mike warm on a cold night

If you would still like to send a package, make sure you write your child’s ID number on each item you enclose.  Remove the items from their original packaging and place each item in a clear zip lock bag for easy identification by customs agents.  When filling out the customs form, make sure that you do not attach high values or enticing descriptions to the items that you send as they are more likely to be stolen that way or may attract a tax.

Please avoid sending perishable food items, anything requiring electricity or batteries  because either your child and/or family may not have access to it or may find it expensive to buy batteries. Anything of great value may also be stolen.

 You can send a package through a visiting friend or mail it to:

The Sponsorship Office,

Rakai Orphans Development Initiative

P.O Box 25468

Kampala, Uganda


The Value of Your Contribution

This depends on what type of sponsorship you have.  Below is a general list for each type of sponsorship option:

A Child enrolled in a day Elementary/Primary school: $30

  • Educational Assistance –tuition fees, a meal at school and scholastic materials
  • Medical care as needed
  • Uniform
  • Guidance and counseling

A Child enrolled in a day High School/Secondary: $30What does my money CoverChildren are able to get quality education

  •  Educational Assistance – tuition fees, a meal at school and scholastic materials
  • Medical care as needed
  • Leadership training
  • Guidance and counseling

A Child enrolled in a Boarding Elementary/Primary school: $75

  • Educational Assistance – tuition fees, a meal at school and scholastic materials
  • Medical care as needed
  • Leadership Training
  • Guidance and Counseling
  • Transport to and from school
  • Personal items for use at school
  • Field trips

A Child enrolled in a Boarding High/Secondary School: $75

  • Educational Assistance – tuition fees, a meal at school and scholastic materials
  • Medical care as needed
  • Leadership Training
  • Guidance and CounselingWhat does my money CoverThe university dream can come true for children like Marion and Faridah!
  • Transport to and from school
  • Personal items for use at school
  • Field trips

A child enrolled for Full Bachelor’s Degree at the University: $210

  • Full University Tuition (for 3-5 Year Degree Programs)
  • School Materials allowances
  • Housing allowance during school terms
  • Food allowance during school terms
  • Medical Care as Needed
  • Transport to and from the university

A child enrolled for Trade training – Day School: $50

  • Educational Assistance – tuition fees, a meal at school and scholastic materials
  • Medical care as needed
  • Leadership training
  • Guidance and counseling
  • Training Equipment

A child enrolled for Trade training – Boarding School - $80What does my money CoverChildren like Alex are equipped with skills to help them earn living in the future.

  • Educational Assistance – tuition fees, a meal at school and scholastic materials
  • Medical care as needed
  • Leadership training
  • Guidance and counseling
  • Training Equipment
  • Personal needs
  • Transport to and from school

Communicate with your child

Communicate with your childYou can send a Letter to your child either through our email, mail, or even through a visiting friend.

While it’s not required that you write to your child, we strongly encourage you do to so. Letters let your sponsored child know that they are important to you and help increase the child’s literacy and communication skills. You may write to your child as often as you like.

Your child will also greatly enjoy pictures of you and your family.

You can send your sponsored child a letter through our mail, a visiting friend or electronically through our emails.

The response from your child will largely depend on the school activities because we encourage children to concentrate during test periods so that they can get excellent grades.


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