It’s easy to simplify the benefits of sponsorship into soundbites like education, medical check-ups and nutrition. And while these things are definite benefits, there’s so much more that goes on behind the gates of Compassion projects around the world.
Here are 7 ways your sponsorship helps us go above and beyond in ways you might not realise:
1. Education which extends beyond school
Did you know Compassion has its very own global curriculum? Taught in every church-based Compassion project, your sponsored child participates in lessons specifically designed to develop them holistically — physically, spiritually, cognitively and socio-emotionally.
Different to the education they receive at school, this non-academic programme emphasises practical application, for example instead of learning maths, children learn how to apply mathematical skills.
The curriculum is broken down into six different age groups and is taught in a culturally sensitive way to fit the needs of each project. For the 3- to 5-year-olds, a physical lesson might be learning about basic hygiene, such as brushing your teeth. And a cognitive lesson might teach about the five different senses.
2. Healthcare that goes the distance
Every year your sponsored child receives a health and dental check-up. But what happens if they face a medical emergency?
Thanks to RESPOND, we’re able to intervene and help address the unique health needs of the children in our care. This extends to flying them to another country for complex heart or brain surgery when these procedures aren’t available in their own country. Thanks to these interventions, no Compassion-supported family should ever face the heart-breaking news their child is unwell, knowing there isn’t the money to cover their medical procedure.
Bintang is one child who benefited from life-saving heart surgery. Her father, Steven, shares: “I can’t believe there were people [Compassion sponsors] willing to help our daughter. It broke our hearts; because we had no idea about the surgery fee [and] we were thinking that Bintang probably wouldn’t be able to recover from her illness.”
Bintang (far left) made a full recovery and is once again able to play with her friends at the Compassion project.
3. 365 days of care from the local church
The beauty of working with the local church means the church never closes. Even during the school holidays, church-based Compassion projects go above and beyond in reaching out to the most vulnerable children. From sports tournaments, to Bible camps and field trips, a lot goes on outside the walls of a Compassion project.
Camps and field trips are some of the favourite memories of Compassion graduates. For Luis in Peru, “I still remember the summer camp I attended together with many [Compassion] project kids. As long as I live, I will always remember that summer far from Lima.”
4. A folder full of evidence your child is known
One of the most surprising things I found when I visited a project in Rwanda was the detail that’s contained in a sponsored child’s folder. From school reports to drafts of their letters, every tiny detail about their progress and development is painstakingly recorded by hand. As I flicked through pages of medical check-ups, home visit reports, and updated photographs, you physically see the love and care that’s invested in each child. These folders can be found in every project, for every child.
5. A dedicated member of staff
Your sponsored child attends their Compassion project at least 44 weeks of every year. However, you may not know that each child has a designated member of project staff who acts like a mentor and is responsible for their welfare and development.
An amazing bunch of people, project staff show such sacrificial service in how they care for the children. Commonly teachers by profession, many of them could be earning significantly more money working in a private school but instead they’ve chosen to serve the poorest of the poor.
6. An incredible ripple effect
Once every three months, Compassion project staff hold special meetings for parents and caregiver where they run sessions on parenting skills, child protection, malaria awareness or good hygiene practice. Every Compassion-supported family also receives a home visit at least once a year so that Compassion staff can get to know the family and understand their individual needs.
7. Equipped for the future
Every Compassion-supported child over the age of 12 is taught a vocational skill at their project – this might be bead making, woodwork, hairdressing or plumbing. The aim is to give children and young people the skills they need to be self-sufficient in the future.
Compassion graduate Sameson was able to set up his own woodworking business using the skills he learnt at his Compassion project. Sameson explains, “I am most grateful that through Compassion I studied woodworking. God sent Compassion to brighten my future.”
Today Sameson is giving back and teaching woodworking skills to the next generation of Compassion-supported children.