Preserving the Art of Letter Writing: Dear Friend Pen Pal Program for Children

The “Dear Friend” Pen Pal Program, developed and led by Katie Burke in collaboration with the Amsha Africa Foundation, aims to foster enduring one-on-one connections between American and Kenyan children. This program not only helps participating children achieve literacy objectives but also enhances their cultural awareness, while instilling a sense of joy in knowing that a caring friend from across the world supports them.

The Dear Friend Pen Pal Program is a remarkable initiative designed to preserve the cherished tradition of letter writing among today’s children, fostering strong communication skills through the written word. Open to children between the ages of five and sixteen in both the United States and Kenya, this program offers an opportunity for meaningful connections across borders.

Once enrolled, each child is matched with a pen pal of similar age and gender from the other country, initiating a captivating exchange of letters. Dear Friend takes care of all essential writing supplies and postage, providing convenience to parents, teachers, orphanage staff, and other supervising adults involved in the program. Whether mailing to schools, orphanages, or homes, mailings are directed to the addresses provided at registration.

To ensure a consistent flow of correspondence, Dear Friend offers unwavering support, ensuring that every child receives regular letters from their pen pals. The exchange typically takes around two weeks for letters to travel between Kenya and the United States, with children expected to reply within a few days to two weeks upon receipt.

To enroll your child in this extraordinary experience, simply send an email to, or including the child’s name, gender, and age. Our dedicated Special Programs Director, Katie Burke, will personally respond to facilitate the pen pal matching process.

Join the Dear Friend Pen Pal Program today and empower your child with the timeless art of letter writing, fostering lasting connections and promoting excellent communication skills

Important Notice: Solicitation of Money or Gifts Prohibited in Dear Friend Pen Pal Program

We kindly remind all participants that Dear Friend strictly prohibits the solicitation of money or gifts within the program. The primary focus of this initiative is to foster genuine connections through the power of written communication.

Additionally, we encourage pen pals to refrain from exchanging material gifts or money. Instead, we invite children to express their thoughts, share experiences, and explore cultural exchange through their heartfelt letters.

Supervising adults play a crucial role in the Dear Friend Pen Pal Program. We kindly request that they carefully monitor the contents of the letters exchanged between pen pals. This ensures a safe and positive experience for all participants, nurturing a supportive and enriching environment.

Thank you for your cooperation in upholding the values of Dear Friend and prioritizing the meaningful exchange of thoughts and ideas among pen pals.


Dear Friend Pilot Project: Heartwarming Cards from U.S. Children to Kenyan Orphans

In December 2009, an incredible initiative took flight as a group of compassionate U.S. children crafted heartfelt holiday cards destined for orphans in Kenya. These beautiful cards, filled with love and good wishes, were personally delivered to bring joy to the young recipients.

To commemorate this extraordinary act of kindness, each of these holiday cards was carefully scanned and shared on AAF’s Facebook page. We invite you to witness the heartfelt sentiments and artistic creations by clicking here, where you can find these scanned cards.

Join us in celebrating the power of connection and the universal language of compassion as we bridge the distance between nations through these touching cards. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of these deserving children.

Note: The Dear Friend Pilot Project extends its sincere gratitude to all the U.S. children who participated in this heartwarming endeavor.

Dear Friend Pilot Project: Heartfelt Exchange of Cards between Kenyan Orphans and U.S. Children

In January 2010, an incredible connection unfolded as Kenyan orphans, who had received heartfelt holiday cards from children in the U.S., responded with their own handcrafted cards and heartfelt letters. This heartwarming exchange of goodwill captured the essence of the Dear Friend Pilot Project.

To preserve and share the magic of these exchanges, each of these precious holiday cards has been thoughtfully scanned and proudly displayed on AAF’s Facebook page. You can explore the scanned cards from the Kenyan orphans by clicking here, immersing yourself in their creativity and touching messages.

Program Long-Term Success: Empowering Children through Literacy, Cultural Awareness, and Global Connections

The ultimate success of this program lies in its ability to support all participating children in achieving their literacy goals, fostering heightened cultural awareness, and experiencing the profound joy that comes from knowing that a caring child from across the world genuinely cares about them.

Furthermore, this project plays a crucial role in preserving the art of letter writing, imparting valuable communication skills through the written word to our generation’s children. By emphasizing the importance of effective written communication, we equip children with a powerful tool for self-expression and connection that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Through this program, we aim to nurture a love for language, promote intercultural understanding, and instill in children a deep appreciation for the beauty and impact of heartfelt written exchanges. Together, we are shaping a future where literacy thrives, cultural bridges are built, and genuine connections between children transcend geographical boundaries.

Program Short-Term Success: Cultivating Cultural Awareness and Cross-Border Connections

In the short term, our program seeks to achieve immediate outcomes that will have a profound impact on the participating children. These include:

  1. Heightened cultural awareness: By actively engaging with children from different countries, we aim to broaden their understanding of diverse cultures, traditions, and ways of life. Through letter exchanges and shared experiences, children will develop a greater appreciation for the richness and diversity of our global community.

  2. Joyful connections and caring relationships: Through the power of heartfelt communication, children will experience the joy of knowing that another child from across the world genuinely cares about them. By forging meaningful friendships and fostering a sense of empathy, we aim to create a supportive and inclusive network where children feel valued, understood, and supported.

By achieving these short-term goals, we lay a solid foundation for long-term success, enabling children to embrace cultural diversity, celebrate global connections, and cultivate a lifelong curiosity for the world around them.

Program Success Monitored by: Continuous Assessment and Impact Evaluation

To ensure the ongoing success of the program, we have implemented a robust monitoring and evaluation framework. Supervising adults will play a vital role in this process, receiving surveys every three months to assess the program’s effectiveness.

Key indicators of program success include:

  1. Quantity and quality of correspondences: The number of exchanges between participating children will be closely monitored, along with the depth and meaningfulness of their interactions. This measurement reflects the level of engagement and connection established through the program.

  2. Cultural awareness and appreciation: We will evaluate the extent to which participating children demonstrate an enhanced cultural awareness and appreciation for diverse backgrounds. This assessment will highlight the program’s impact in promoting cross-cultural understanding and fostering a global mindset.

  3. Communication and letter writing skills: The program’s success will be measured by the progress children make in improving their communication and letter writing skills. Through evaluations and observations, we will assess their ability to express themselves effectively, engage in meaningful dialogue, and demonstrate growth in written communication proficiency.

By diligently monitoring these indicators, we can continuously refine and adapt the program to ensure its effectiveness in empowering children, cultivating cultural awareness, and nurturing their communication skills. The feedback received from supervising adults will be invaluable in shaping the program’s future direction and maximizing its impact.

Program Success Examples: Inspiring Transformations and Empowered Participants

The program has witnessed remarkable success, with over 200 children from Kenya, the US, and Europe currently engaged in its enriching activities. Feedback from supervising adults through surveys reveals the program’s popularity and resounding success.

Noteworthy achievements include:

  1. Heightened cultural awareness and improved letter writing skills: Many children have made significant strides in their cultural awareness, embracing diversity and fostering cross-cultural understanding. Their enhanced letter writing skills reflect their growth in effective communication and self-expression.

  2. Inspiring career aspirations and empathy: A mother from the US shared a touching testimonial about her 8-year-old child’s transformative journey. Through the program, the child’s passion for making a difference has ignited, with aspirations to join the Peace Corps and actively support underprivileged children in Africa. This newfound interest showcases the program’s ability to inspire empathy, compassion, and a desire to positively impact the lives of others.

These success examples highlight the program’s ability to create meaningful connections, cultivate empathy, and empower children to become global citizens. We are proud of the positive impact it has made on the participating children, fostering personal growth, and nurturing a sense of social responsibility.

As the program continues to flourish, we remain dedicated to providing enriching experiences and fostering a supportive environment where children can thrive and make a difference in the world.

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