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14 June 2017

Member of the month: Compassion UK

Member of the month: Compassion UK

What does Compassion do?

Compassion is an international child development charity with more than 60 years' experience working with some of the world's poorest children. We believe that the Church plays a critical role in bringing practical and spiritual care to children and partners exclusively with the local church in 25 countries around the world to release children from poverty in Jesus's name.

Poverty tells children that they do not matter, that their lives are insignificant. It fractures families, narrows horizons and undermines ambitions. Through Compassion, a one-to-one relationship with their sponsor connects each of these children with someone who has chosen to be there for them. That connection reinforces the message that they are loved, not just by their sponsor, the local project staff and their neighbouring church but also by the God who created them.

Compassion also runs local Child Survival Programmes which support vulnerable mothers and babies in the critical first 1,000 days of life. Compassion's RESPOND initiatives offer complimentary interventions to communities and families which meet the complex needs caused by poverty that cannot be met by child sponsorship.

More than 100,000 children are connected with British sponsors through Compassion UK, and at present more than 1.8 million children attend Compassion's church-based projects in 25 countries around the world.

What are the biggest highlights of Compassion's work?

One of the biggest highlights of Compassion's work is that it works! Independent research shows that a Compassion sponsored child stays in school longer than his or her peers and is more likely to have a salaried job when they grow up.

Many of Compassion's graduates have gone on to have careers they would have never dreamt of. All over the world there are carpenters, teachers, doctors, lawyers and businesswomen, and leaders at every level, shaping their nations because of what Compassion has done for them.

One of these ladies is Patience Namanya, who's life began in Kyebando slum, Kampala, Uganda, mired by unemployment, alcoholism and malnutrition. Patience was registered to a Compassion project when she was 12 years old by her aunt, after losing her parents to HIV. Patience is now part of the Anti-Corruption National Strategic Planning Team for Uganda, is helping to pass bills to support children's rights and dreams of running for government in the 2021 elections so she can fight corruption from within.

What are some of the challenges Compassion's work faces?

An emerging challenge for Compassion is continuing to build and strengthen relationships with supporters in an increasingly digital age. Over the last year, Compassion has introduced new technology systems in order to facilitate stronger relationships between sponsored children and their sponsors. The process of implementing these systems across the world, including in developing countries, has been a lengthy and challenging one.

Why is Compassion a member of the Alliance?

Like the Alliance, Compassion believes that the key to long-lasting change, whether it's at home here in the UK or all across the world is Christ's bride, the Church. It is an honour to be part of a network of Christians which spans denominations across the UK, working together in unity, service and friendship to transform communities.

How can Christians across the UK get involved?

Prayer is at the heart of all we do and is a crucial tool in the fight against poverty. Christians can partner with us in prayer, praying for the needs of children around the world, for our local staff and project directors and for our volunteers across the UK. The latest news and prayer alerts can be found on Compassion's website.

Through sponsorship you can be connected to a church in the developing world to end poverty in the life of child. By giving £25 a month you are giving a child a safe place to play, the chance to go to school and the opportunity to see a doctor when they're sick.

People can also get involved by joining the Compassion Volunteer Network and be part of a family of volunteers who are changing the world. There are opportunities to become a local church activist, event volunteers or fundraisers. See www.compassionuk.org for more details.