In the months and years following the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake, generous sponsors and donors around the world gave more than $31 million toward our Disaster Relief Fund for recovery efforts. It was the largest sum ever raised for one of our disaster relief campaigns. This fund enabled us not only to deliver provisions immediately following the disaster – such as food, water and temporary shelter – but also to establish long-term recovery efforts such as post-traumatic camps and counseling services, entrepreneurial training, low-interest loans for businesses, and the construction of new school buildings.
In the Philippines, tropical cyclones come and go frequently. The country is battered by an average of 9 typhoons a year; some don’t make international news, and those that do will have caused devastating destruction. Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby) hit the islands on December 6. And currently, it has affected 70 of our church partners and over 4,000 Compassion assisted children and their families. Damage is still being assessed and we will provide updates as news from our staff there becomes available. But a typhoon like this isn’t new to them.
You’ve probably met Wass. Wass is the baby elephant who’s been in the news recently after he was rescued from a well in Northern Kenya. Unable to be reunited with his herd, he and two orphaned ostrich chicks were airlifted to safety by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Now meet Edwin. Edwin is the head elephant keeper at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, Kenya. He’s also a Compassion graduate.
“Are you sure you want to travel there right now? Couldn’t you get… Ebola?” My friend hesitantly asked me this question before my recent trip to Uganda, in Eastern Africa. I found a map and showed my well-meaning friend the actual distance from the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak to Uganda. It’s about 4500 miles, which is well over the distance from California to New York.
This morning, 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. Though Yousafzai’s name may not be familiar, you probably remember her face—the face of a pale teen, eyes rimmed with dark circles, her head shrouded in bandages, clutching a white teddy bear. Two years ago Yousafzai garnered the world’s attention when she was shot in the head by the Taliban for promoting education for girls in Pakistan. Since then, after recovering from surgery, she has taken her campaign global, most notable with a speech last year at the United Nations.
With the recent outbreak of Ebola in West African countries, many sponsors have been asking if their children are safe. No Compassion children or staff have been directly affected. Still, we are taking precautionary measures to protect our children and staff should the outbreak spread into the countries where we work.
Despite conventional wisdom, the accurate headline is that investments to fight abject global poverty are showing incredible returns. While that’s good news in itself, the subhead indicates that we have a new ally in doing good: independent, empirically tested outcomes for charitable work.
Research shows that children who participated in Compassion’s holistic child development through sponsorship program stayed in school longer, were more likely to have salaried or white-collar employment and were more likely to be leaders in their communities and churches than their peers who did not participate in our program.
We are sad to be saying goodbye to our beloved Papa Wess but look forward with anticipation to where Jim Mellado leads us in service to our God and the children He loves.
For a number of Haitians, fear is being challenged by hope. Optimism is battling against fatalism.
Women around the world face obstacles that most of us can hardly begin to fathom. Lack of access to family planning leaves mothers in developing countries with no easy way to control the size of their families, and in the end, robs both the mother and her children of a better life.