A refrain from a popular song of the 80’s began with “I believe our children are our future … .” It was a sentiment echoed by governments and organisations in a bid to show why we need to invest in programmes for children.
The problem is that it was a convenient excuse for some to do exactly the opposite. Delaying funding or putting issues affecting children on the back burner was, consciously or otherwise, an opportunity to focus on ‘more pressing’ needs – justified because children are our future, ‘the leaders of tomorrow’.
Perhaps it is such thinking that has caused children to be the greatest victims of poverty throughout the history of humankind. The gross and most debased forms of abuse happen, more often than not, to our littlest citizens – our world’s largest population group.
Of the 2.2 billion children in our world today, nearly half live in desperate conditions, and yet it is the children who hold the potential to break the cycle of deprivation for future generations.
The Bible says that children are ‘a gift from God’ and He is their greatest defender. Time and again, the Bible describes God as a defender and protector of the poor, the oppressed, abused, impoverished and the fatherless.
All children are precious in God’s sight. His heart is most definitely endeared towards them and His ear inclines to their worship (Psalm 8:2). We are told that the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these (Matthew 19:14).
But what of the 1.1 billion children who are homeless because of armed conflict, or who have been orphaned because of the scourge of AIDS, or malnourished and can’t remember when they last had a bite of food, or the ones that are continually ill because they can’t afford malaria medication? They don’t shout the loudest; indeed, many seem to have no voice at all, but it doesn’t mean that their cry should not be heard and this is where we step in.
Compassion exists for the one. The one child who is left on the side of the dusty road to beg each day because their family can’t feed them; the one child who has to walk many miles every day for water and cares for siblings because her parents have died from AIDS; the one child who dreams of being a doctor but has no access to an education.
Compassion is unashamedly and singularly focused on the child. We place value on children simply because God does. Proverbs 22:6 (NIV) says, “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
Investing into children’s lives at an early age enables them to grow up with a sense of value, worth and confidence – essential if they are to grow up knowing that they can fulfill the dreams that God has placed in their hearts.
The intervention of a local church-based Compassion child development center and your invaluable support can literally shape a child’s future, causing him or her to be a change-maker in the family, community, perhaps even the nation.
That’s why we believe that one-to-one child sponsorship is so important and imperative to releasing children from poverty.
It all begins with valuing the one.