Compassion is a charitable organisation that provides sponsorship to children in third world countries that are living in poverty. Whilst it is an organisation that has been built around Christian values the children come from many backgrounds, belief systems, races and experiences.
In late 2014, Richard was fortunate to be part of a group of child sponsors hosted by the children’s Minister from Glenmore Park Anglican Church and a senior Compassion representative who conducted a self funded 10 day visit of various Projects conducted by Compassion in North Sumatra, Indonesia.
The trip was designed to allow sponsors time to meet their sponsored children, their families and their local communities, as well as learn in more detail about the work of Compassion and their programmes. The first was the Child Sponsorship Program, targeted at primary and middle school age children, and the second was to visit the Child Survival Program more focused on babies and their mothers that are at risk.
In total the group visited four “Projects”, two in Berastagi and two in Medan. Each project caters for around 300 children who live in poverty. These projects provide holistic care for the children including regular medical checks, additional education and vocational skills as well as societal skills in order to give these children the best possible chance of exiting the poverty cycle.
It was clear from the outset that the Compassion Staff truly believe, and can see, the power of their work to actually transform lives. The only criterion for child selection is the poverty level. Each child has a mentor and meticulous records are kept describing the family situation, the child’s aspirations, identified areas requiring assistance and monitoring, and most importantly a vision for each child all the way through to attendance at University.
While we in Australia may think that our commitment is nothing but a small monthly financial contribution, from the Indonesian perspective these small contributions facilitate a world of opportunity. To the children who would otherwise spend their most formative years on a farm assisting their parents as subsistence farmers only to face a predictable repetition of this and the continual oppression that poverty delivers, it is a godsend.
This trip has proven to those who experienced it first hand, they can truly appreciate that we are blessed to live in the wealthy minority part of the world; and as such, we have a true obligation to assist in lifting the majority into a world of similar opportunity. The biggest impression left on us as a group was that children from all over the world deserve the right to live out their dreams, and that the happiness and optimism of children needs to be given a chance at delivering prosperity not only to just themselves but to the community as a whole.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the task at hand, however one child at a time we can turn the minority into the majority.