The impact of having a pen pal | World Vision UK (2024)

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The impact of having a pen pal | World Vision UK (3)

As children, many of us had pen pals to write letters to. Perhaps they were friends that lived far away or family members we wanted to keep updated on our lives. Having a pen pal is a wonderful way for children to communicate with like minds, improve literacy skills and learn about different cultures and faiths.

In this guide, we take a look at some of the reasons having a pen pal is wonderful for child development and why sponsoring a child might be a great way to introduce children to letter writing.

How sponsoring a child gives you a pen pal opportunity

When you sponsor a child with World Vision, you build a connection. With this connection, you can write letters to the child you’ve sponsored to learn more about their lives and culture, and this is a great way for your child to establish a unique pen pal opportunity. This way, as well as knowing you’re making a positive difference in the life of the child you’re helping, and their community, you can also pass on the lesson to your child, and they can learn more about the world.

When you sponsor a child with us, you can see the ages of the children and could even look to sponsor a child that is a similar age to your own child. This way, as both grow and develop, they can write to one another and see their lives and bond grow in turn.

READ MORE: An original twist on Child Sponsorship

The impact of having a pen pal | World Vision UK (5)

The advantages of a pen pal for children

It improves literacy and developmental skills

Writing letters and having a pen pal is a wonderful way to help children improve their literacy skills. Writing is a great way to teach them to spell, learn the importance of grammar and punctuation, as well as being a fun activity to keep them occupied in the evenings and at weekends. Sponsoring a child and allowing your child to become pen pals with them will not only help your child’s development, but the development of the child you’re sponsoring.

Writing not only helps the development of the child, but it also helps the brain recall and remember information and builds brain capacity as they learn.

READ MORE: How does poverty affect child development?

It allows children to connect to those from other cultures

Sponsoring a child helps transform lives. Children who are waiting to be sponsored are located in a range of countries, covering many diverse and unique cultures.

For children living in the UK who may want to write to a pen pal, learning about these cultures can be eye opening. Writing to a pen pal is a great way to learn about new cultures, experience a different way of life through the eyes of someone else.

It aids the development of patience

Having a pen pal is a wonderful hobby, but it does require patience, especially if you are writing letters by hand and sending them across the globe. Between the time your child writes their letter, sends it and waits to receive a letter back it could be weeks or even months, so the whole process is a great way to aid the development of patience among younger children.

It is important to explain the process to them and let them know that it could be a few weeks before they receive a letter back in the post, it is also important to explain that for children in other countries, resources aren’t as easy for them to come by, so it may take them a little longer to reply than it would do in the UK.

It can create lifetime bonds

Of course, one of the wonderful things about having a pen pal is that you can make friendships and bonds with people you may have never even met. Writing allows you to not only express your feelings but understand the lives and lifestyles of others who live in different countries, what hobbies they may have, or what job they would like to do when they get older.

Sponsoring a child through World Vision

If you’re looking to sponsor a child or want to introduce your children to the impacts that sponsoring a child can have, why not look to sponsor a child through World Vision? Just £26 a month could change a child’s life, as well as their community, for the better. You can choose which child you would like to sponsor and follow their journey as well as writing to them as they grow and develop.

Alternatively, let a child choose your family instead with our new initiative – Chosen. Here, you can submit yourself for consideration and put the power back into these children’s hands.

If you’re looking to introduce your children to writing and think the idea of a pen pal sounds like something they would enjoy, then hopefully this guide has given you a little insight into the benefits of writing and exchanging letters with those from different cultures.


Learn more

How to sponsor a childRead our step-by-step guide.Learn more
What to write and send to your sponsored childWriting prompts, information on letter sending and hearing back from your sponsored child.Learn more
Why sponsor a child?All the reasons explained - from fighting poverty to transforming your own life.Learn more
The impact of having a pen pal | World Vision UK (2024)
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