15 Powerful Photos of the Journey From Child Slavery to Freedom

A boy with a net wrapped around his shoulders

Millions of children around the world remain trapped in child labor. Ebenezer was 6 years old when he was sent to work on Lake Volta, a notorious hotbed of child slavery. These 15 powerful photos capture the injustice he faced … and his journey to freedom.

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Meet the Midwives Saving the Most Vulnerable Babies in the World

Meet the Midwives Saving the Most Vulnerable Babies in the World

Women living in extreme poverty sometimes lack access to hospitals and health care centers — so they rely on midwives to deliver their babies safely. Meet the inspiring midwives ensuring that the poorest moms receive care.

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A Story Changed

A Story Changed [VIDEO]

You’re about to meet Nachi, a courageous, selfless and cheeky grandma who loves her grandson Collins fiercely. Together, they’ve endured unimaginable grief and hardship. But as you’re about to see, their story changed.

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The Compassion Child Sponsorship Program: What Does Research Show?

Over a period of two years, a team of researchers led by Dr. Bruce Wydick studied adults who were registered with the Compassion Child Sponsorship program from 1980-1992. What did the team discover?

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A Reality Cooking Show About the Reality of Living in Extreme Poverty

People are passionate about food. Celebrity chefs and the popularity of the Food Network and competition / reality cooking shows like Chopped, Iron Chef, Hell’s Kitchen and Masterchef demonstrate this. But for the 1.4 billion people in our world living on less than $1.25 a day, food and cooking isn’t entertainment. It’s survival.

But for the 1.4 billion people in our world living on less than $1.25 a day, simply feeding themselves is a daily challenge.

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I Command You to be Openhanded Towards the Poor

Last month, Wess visited Australia and we grabbed him for a chat about why he is sold on child sponsorship as a way to help children, and what the Bible tells us about poverty.

There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land. — Deuteronomy 15:11 (NIV)

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Can Anything Good Come Out of a Slum?

My biggest fear in life is not reaching my God-given potential. And for the first 20 years of my life, I found myself being increasingly shaped by worldly values. That is, until I came face to face with Jesus!

Since then my Creator and Saviour has been helping me to weed out values that are contrary to those of the Kingdom and walking with me towards the dreams He’s planted in my heart. It’s been a step-by-step process of learning to be faithful with what He entrusts me with.

Of course, going against the patterns of this world isn’t easy, but the fruit of obedience is liberating! I wouldn’t want to live any other way. Life’s exhilarating when you’re dancing with a God of the supernatural.

Thanks to modern technology, I met a Compassion alumnus Paul Omondi through Facebook! Paul shared his testimony with me … It’s more than encouraged me to be all that I can be; it’s given me hope.

Paul completed the Leadership Development Program in Kenya years ago (a program that educates, trains and disciples servant leaders), was recently married (congratulations Paul!), and now works to help his fellow Kenyans escape the cycle of poverty in his role as a Community Development Manager.

But every achievement starts with a heart that dares to dream.

muddy street in slum

Twenty nine years ago in Kibera, 15 minutes outside of Nairobi, Kenya, a baby boy was born. Kibera is the biggest slum in Kenya. I can’t imagine what would’ve become of me if I was born there.

I’m reminded of the words of Nathanael when Philip told him that he had found ‘the one’ that Moses and the prophets wrote about. He said,

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” — John 1:46a (NIV)

Can anything good come out of a slum?

Tune in all next week as Paul tells his story.

– Irene

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Children and Poverty: Do They Mix?

As a kid, did you ever daydream about venturing into the slums of Kolkata? I know a gutsy 14-year-old who did … who ventured into extreme poverty. But that’s for later.

I, Irene, grew up in a sheltered, middle-class family. Whilst I didn’t make it to India at the age of 14, I ventured to Kyrgyzstan at the age of 24 with a team of medical professionals and helpers. It was a completely humbling and mind-blowing experience.

I met church pastors who have been blessed with so much more materially than I, yet they have chosen to live in abandonment for the expansion of God’s kingdom.

I met Muslims in remote villages who suffered advanced stages of cancer, but had no means to receive medical treatment. All that my team could give them were vitamin supplements.

I met orphans who were stunted from malnutrition and sometimes from past substance abuse, but have found the love of their heavenly Father.

I can’t quite imagine how I would’ve coped on the same journey at the tender age of 14.

If you read the Reflections of a Compassion Traveller series, you may have gained some guts –- I mean, a new level of desire to meet our friends living in poverty.

It definitely takes guts to travel to less developed nations. It’s inevitably a confronting experience.

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An Interview With Dr. Laurent Mbanda

Dr. Laurent Mbanda

As the Rwandan genocide unfolded 15 years ago, Dr. Laurent Mbanda followed the fighting lines of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) to help administer aid to those who needed it most.

Mbanda is now Compassion’s Regional Vice President of the African region.

1. Where were you when the genocide started?

I was not in Rwanda. I arrived in May 1994 with Compassion to administer relief behind the RPF fighting lines. I was in Nairobi, Kenya, but before that I lived in the USA for 21 years. My parents left Rwanda, running for their lives, when I was 4.

2. How was Rwanda on the ground when you arrived?

Horrific! The country was on fire, it was in disarray, people were dying like flies; displaced people everywhere, bodies rotting everywhere. The military the RPF was trying to stop was visible. I could hear gunshots from where I was.

3. What were your impressions?

Horrible! Inhuman!

How could a human being do what the Hutu militia did to another human being? How could a government, a leadership of a country, turn against its people and butcher them?

I was angry. It was my people that were being butchered. I was scared for my life even as we went around administering relief where we could.

Initially, I was angry at some NGOs (nongovernment organizations). Many were coming in taking pictures and returning back to raise money. How could they have gone in empty-handed?

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Love in Action

Whoa, writing my last blog post (Getting 10,000 Children Sponsored in 10 Days) has been one of the most rewarding experiences ever. One of my friends actually sponsored a child after reading the post. I’m ecstatic! It’s wonderful to know I’ve directly impacted a child’s life for good.

The thing is, I’ve always tried to avoid challenging my friends and family to be more engaged with my personal passions. I’ve tried not to impose my personal convictions upon them (after all, each to their own, right?) But perhaps I haven’t pushed the envelope enough, because all along I’d secretly hoped that they‘d be more than interested (in my passions) for my sake. I’d hope for them to ask questions and come to their own convictions about making a positive, lasting difference in the lives of others. 

But over the past few weeks, I’ve learnt that there are many others like my beautiful friend who would like to be offered an opportunity to respond. I’m amazed at how, by simply sharing my heart, I’ve invited others to search their own, and respond to what’s on theirs.

Over 2,400 children have been sponsored through the 10,000 Children campaign

We didn’t reach 10,000 sponsorships in 10 days, but over 10,000 eyes and ears have seen and heard the desperate cry of the children in poverty

We didn’t reach 2,400 sponsorships within 10 days, but we saw a record number of children sponsored through a single event. 

By trusting our Lord throughout the 10,000 Children campaign, our faith has been stretched, our hearts have been expanded, and our praises to Him multiplied. 

Compassion at Hillsong Conference 2008

Janine, our national prayer director, also saw the 10,000 Children campaign as an impetus for a boundary shift in our faith.

It is a time that God is encouraging his people to dream big. In all areas of our lives and ministries, if we make room for the miraculous in our life, He will come. I believe we stretched the tent pegs and prayed with faith for God to increase our influence. We were blessed.

I can’t wait to hear the stories of these newly sponsored children and the impact their sponsorships will have in their families and wider communities. As a result of over 2,400 child sponsorships, over 10,000 lives can be transformed into a Christ-like image. Can you imagine what that looks like? 

To Josh, our events & partner artist manager, the hard work is all worthwhile because of the lives that are now linked to our Creator. Josh paints a picture of a Compassion church partnership and what 2,400 sponsored children means to him:

I recently returned home from a trip to see Compassion’s work in Bali, Indonesia.

In Bali, the team and I travelled to a remote mountainous village called Munduk. While I was there I spoke with the local church pastor who had been spreading the gospel there for over 20 years. He explained to me that one of the most significant things the church had ever done was to partner with Compassion in establishing a child development center to help over 140 children from their village.

I watched that afternoon as the impoverished village children streamed into the project and were given tuition, food for lunch, and taught to sing and dance. I was struck by the immense love displayed by the church pastor and project staff towards each individual child. I was blessed with the opportunity to see the fruit of what was accomplished at this year’s Hillsong Conference.

Hillsong Conference for me is not as much about the logistical preparations, the crowds, the final results, (as it is about) the one child, who is linked to the local church and introduced to their Creator.

Even though it has been an insane few weeks for some of our staff members before and after the conference, we continue to celebrate before God.

For Kaye, the manager of our supporter engagement center, the 10,000 Children campaign was a reminder that “with God all things are possible”. She extols Paul’s instruction to the church in Ephesus: “Convince them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” – 1 Timothy 6:18 (NIV)

Throughout the event my own faith was increased by responding to the phone calls we received into our Engagement Centre immediately following and during the conference, we heard many stories of people whose lives were greatly impacted by the sacrifices they were willing to make in their own lives in order to change the life of a child.

One sponsor told us that not even two hours after he had made the decision to sponsor another child, God performed a miracle in his own life. He said that “sponsoring a child unlocked something in my life that gave way to a miracle.”

Love in action unleashes the miraculous. But we do not love in order to bring about signs and wonders. We love because God loved us first. Our natural response is to love Him and love others. When we reach out in love, we reveal Christ and release His power and authority on earth. When we reveal Christ in us, we share in His glory; we see transformation in our own lives and in others.


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Getting 10,000 Children Sponsored in 10 Days

Have you noticed the “international” component of who we are? Compassion International.

Part of that internationality is that we work in 24 countries throughout the developing world … uh, 25 countries (you know about Togo, right?)

And the other part of that internationality is that there are 11 countries that form Compassion’s Global Partner Alliance. These are the countries where you, the sponsors, come from.

For the most part, the blog is written by Compassion U.S. staff with great contributions and insight coming from staff in the developing world. But there is more to us than those two perspectives.

Today’s post is written by Irene Kao, digital marketing specialist, in the Compassion Australia office.

Our plan is to have our global partners contribute as frequently as possible to help expand your perspective on who we are and how we work, as well as connecting you with sponsors and donors throughout the world.

Take it away Irene!

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