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If you’re new to Dr Graham’s Homes, you may (or may not!) have heard about our Sponsor a Child and Sponsor a Student programmes.

Created many decades ago, they’re all about giving orphaned or disadvantaged children the chance of a new life at Dr Graham’s historic school in the Himalayas. And then, if possible, supporting them as they leave the Homes to study at college or undertake vocational training. You could say it’s the whole reason why our charity - DGHUK - exists!

As it happens, though, sponsorship isn’t the only way you can support the Homes’ amazing work - and help it to continue for many generations to come. There are lots of other really simple things you can do to support the children and students, and our continuing work with them. Here are five to consider.

1: Spread the word!

A famous survey by the American data group Nielsen found that 92% of people trusted “earned media” - meaning things like word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family - above all other kinds of advertising. That’s a key stat for marketing gurus, no doubt. But it’s a useful point for charity supporters too. When we tell people we know about a cause that means a lot to us, they really listen. It could mean a short talk or presentation about DGH at the local primary school, club or place of worship. Or something as simple as a paragraph on Facebook or other social media channels. You never know whose interest might be piqued - or where it might lead.

2: Become a Friend or Member

Did you know you can become a Friend or Member of DGHUK? Well, you most certainly can. A Friend is the name we give to supporters who want to keep in touch with news about the charity and the Homes in Kalimpong. A Member is someone who wants to go a little deeper: it enables you to have a say in the governance of DGHUK, proposing written resolutions and voting in Members’ meetings. Both are free to join but will keep you up to date with what’s going on and how you can help us. To sign up, simply contact the Sponsorship Secretaries.

3: Donate as you shop

You may have heard of AmazonSmile. It was a programme that allowed you to donate 0.5% of purchases on Amazon to a pre-selected charity. Sadly, Amazon shuttered the scheme in early 2023. But you can still do something similar through a company called Give as you Live. After sign-up (which is free), a portion of any purchase you make at one of 6,000+ eligible stores will be donated to your chosen charity. Find out more at Give as you Live Online.

4: Write to the children

Many of our sponsored children - particularly ones who have lost their parents - arrive at the Homes at a very young age. Settling into their new life at the school takes time and, for obvious reasons, can feel very daunting. One way you can help here is by pledging to write letters to them on a regular basis. It’s a great way to help them feel appreciated and supported. For safeguarding reasons, all letters back and forth are handled by our Sponsorship Secretaries. To find out more, see the Correspondence section of our website.

5: Make and bake!

We never cease to be impressed by the ideas that supporters come up with to raise funds for the Homes. One of the most famous events is Bike For DGH - a 100-mile cycle route across the Himalayas (you can read more about a Scottish version in this recent blog). But fundraising doesn’t have to be epic and elaborate. If you have skills in craft-making or cake-baking, you might like to think about selling your wares for the cause. Over time, even the smallest ventures add up. For more detail about fundraising, check out this article: How to create your own DGH fundraiser

And finally… did we mention sponsorship? 🙂

Sponsoring children and students is, of course, the mainstay of our work at DGHUK. If you use Gift Aid, it costs just £100 per month to fund a whole year of education and boarding for a child at Dr Graham’s Homes. If £100 per month is more than you can manage, any amount is welcome. We are grateful for every contribution, however large or small. Many people also like to join up with friends and family members to set up a group sponsorship. To find out more, hop to the Get Involved! section of the DGHUK website.