An act of kindness can ripple across oceans and through the years to change the life of another or transform a community.
Kindness knows no boundaries. It transcends borders. Let’s meet some extraordinary people from around the world who are volunteering their time, efforts and funds to help others.
Making free masks in Nicaragua
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nicaragua, face masks have become scarce and extremely expensive leaving many vulnerable families unprotected.
When our church partner decided to make their own face masks, to ensure the safety of the children in their care and their families, mothers Leticia, Eveling, and Reyna jumped into action. In two days, these women learned how to make masks from the materials supplied by the project.
“We don’t have access to face masks because they’re too expensive. When the church saw this situation, they asked us if we wanted to help, and I said yes because it was necessary to take care of ourselves and each other,” replies Reyna.
Eveling adds volunteering to help the community has changed her.
“I have been able to grow as a person, to grow spiritually because it’s very fulfilling to see that my work is helping other people. It makes me happy to see that with the work I do, other families can protect themselves and their children,” she says.
Being part of the Compassion project has also been a blessing for Leticia because “they have allowed me to make an important contribution to my community.”
Starting a social enterprise in Ireland
For Poppy, kindness in action looks a lot like a social enterprise. The 9-year-old from Cork has even roped in her family to help!
For the past month Poppy has been running a plant stall from the end of her garden. The plants were kindly grown and donated by Poppy’s granddad and so far, she’s raised €246 for Compassion’s COVID-19 Emergency Appeal.
The young entrepreneur opened her business because one of the children her family sponsors became sick last year but got better with Compassion’s help.
“I was worried that more children would get very sick with the COVID-19 virus and wanted to do something,” she explains.
“I am hoping the money raised for the [COVID-19 Emergency Appeal] will be used to get medicine, food, clean water and sanitiser for people who really need it.”
To all the children around the world who are caring for their family and community right now, Poppy has this to say.
"Do your best, and don't worry. God will be with you through easy and hard times, love Poppy!!!"
Thanks to Poppy’s faithful efforts, our church partners will be able to extend their care even further to the most vulnerable children, families and communities affected by COVID-19.
Feeding the hungry in Indonesia
20-year-old accounting student and Compassion sponsored youth, Putri, lives in Solo City, Indonesia with her family.
Her family runs a street food stall. Before the pandemic they used to earn about €28 a day. After the lockdown restrictions, that income has reduced to about €9 a day.
Putri is still better off than some. For as long as she can remember, Putri has seen people begging on the streets or going through rubbish looking for something to eat. It has distressed her greatly.
“My heart feels sad when I saw a beggar unload a [rubbish bin] looking for leftovers to eat,” Putri admits. “I always ask myself, 'What can I do and when I can help them?'”
So, when her Compassion sponsor sent her a financial gift of €21, Putri asked her parents if they could use it to help others. Immediately her mother made a shopping list and went to the market to buy ingredients. Her brother, father and Putri worked in their small kitchen to prepare the food.
Together, the family prepared 50 meals of rice, chicken and vegetables. They donated the food to their local Compassion project that distributed meals to those who needed them.
50 people didn’t have to look through rubbish or beg for food that day. 50 people had their dignity restored, thanks to one young woman, her family and a €21 gift from her sponsor.
"My sponsor helped me for years since I was four years old,” Putri explains. “This time it is my turn to do what my sponsor did for me... I don’t need to wait until I have much money to help others. I always can start with the small amount I have. The essential thing is that I give with all of my heart.”
Fundraising in Bangladesh
Since the quarantine restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 were introduced, Okkhoi’s father has struggled to find work. His mother often sacrifices her own plate of rice so that he and his siblings can have something to eat.
After seeing his family and village suffering, 18-year-old Okkhoi could bear it no longer. He decided to take matters into in his own hands and start raising funds for his community.
He called three of his school friends to share the idea. While it sounded crazy at first, they were soon convinced to try it.
The four teenagers went out the next day around neighbouring villages to visit well-off farmers, businessmen, politicians, and social workers to raise funds for aid and relief.
What started as an idea from one 18-year-old, grew rapidly into a fully-fledged relief operation. Within a month, their group had expanded to over ten members fundraising for their community.
They used the funds to purchase food and home-delivered the rice and lentils, even sanitising the vehicles used to bring the supplies to the village first.
“I grew up at the Compassion project knowing that I was being helped by my sponsor," says Okkhoi. “Today when I’m helping others, I feel like my purpose is fulfilled.”
Caring for children from hospital in Colombia
The restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 may have temporarily halted Compassion project activities, but nothing – not even cancer – is going to stop Pastor Roberto caring for children who are in the project.
Even from a hospital bed, as he undergoes chemotherapy for leukaemia, Pastor Roberto is on the phone checking to see if the children in the child sponsorship programme are well and advocating for them.
Through his phone and laptop, he joins in meetings with other pastors and Compassion staff to stay updated, provide guidance, and ensure everything is running smoothly, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In late March, the pastor coordinated the purchase and delivery of food for the most vulnerable children. He continually prays for the Compassion leaders and sponsors and says he will continue working for the children until his last breath.
"Since I was born, I have seen the hand of God in my life… It is a call that cannot be ignored or disobeyed. Despite the circumstances, God puts in me a desire for serving those in need and allows me to announce the gospel through each activity we carry out to meet the children's needs," he says.
As we celebrate Volunteers Week 2020, Compassion UK would like to thank all those who have supported and are continuing to support our global mission – to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.
We are grateful to so many who have given their time, efforts, and funds to assist our work as we enable our church partners to transform lives in the most vulnerable communities around the world.
The care and dedication of our volunteers – their kindness – has helped more people than we can imagine.
We thank God for them.