There are a lot of opinions about sponsorship — from your pastor encouraging you to sponsor a child, to your co-worker who thinks it’s a scam, to our invitations to sponsor, and everything in between!
But what do those who were sponsored as children think of child sponsorship? We caught up with some alumni of Compassion’s program to get their reflections on the impact of sponsorship. Meet them below, then read on to hear their firsthand experiences in Compassion’s program.
Meet the Alumni
Kiwi Cook was part of the Compassion program in Bacolod City and Bulacan, Philippines, from 1986 to 2001. She lives in Dallas and works as a physical therapist. She also speaks regularly on behalf of Compassion at churches and conferences.
Ria Kalaw was part of the Compassion program in Baguio City, Philippines, from 1999 to 2013. She works as an accountant in Toronto, and she and her husband are also expecting their first child together. She is now a Compassion volunteer and recently sponsored a child from the Compassion center that she grew up in.
Silas Irungu was part of the Compassion program in Nairobi, Kenya, from 1992 to 2007. He lives in Nairobi and is Compassion International’s Manager of Media Content for the Africa region.
Luciano Latouche was part of the Compassion program in Leogane, Haiti, from 1993 to 2010. After graduating from Kingswood University in Sussex, New Brunswick, Luciano returned to Haiti, where he works with his church denomination as a youth worker and language teacher.
Rechelle Enople was part of the Compassion program in Cebu City, Philippines, from 2000 to 2015. She lives in the Philippines, where she works as a public school teacher. She also tutors students after school and is involved with her local church as a Sunday school teacher and volunteer in the church’s feeding ministry.
We asked these five alumni of Compassion’s program to agree or disagree with the following statements.
Here are their perspectives on growing up in poverty and the impact of sponsorship through Compassion.
“I came to Christ because I was part of the Compassion program.”
“My mother is a strong believer, so I was introduced to the church at a very young age. However, Compassion played a great role in nurturing my faith and providing me with an awesome community to teach me, care for me, and encourage me whenever I needed it.” — Luciano
“Compassion introduced me to Christianity. I barely knew about Christ and his life or the Bible before joining the program. In Compassion, you become a witness to how God transforms lives and how he communicates with us.” – Ria
“God spoke to me through our [Compassion] Kids Camp in June 2004. The theme was ‘Stand Up for Jesus!’ My teacher talked to me privately about Jesus, and I had a personal encounter with God, which led me to decide to really ‘stand up for Jesus,’ starting that day.” – Rechelle
“As a child, I considered my family to be ‘poor.’”
“As a family we were not able to buy more than what we needed. We lived a simple life and without help, we couldn’t afford proper education. Aside from physical poverty, we were poor in spirit. Everything changed when I entered Compassion and accepted Jesus as my Lord and savior.” – Ria
“I didn’t feel the degree of how poor we were until I entered school and I saw kids who had nicer clothes and shoes, better packed lunches, and nicer school supplies and school bags. I don’t know if I fully understood poverty as a child, but I remember that I felt I was less because I was poor.” – Kiwi
“As a young child, I couldn’t tell a difference between my family and other families and, therefore, didn’t consider my parents poor. It was when I had grown older and could understand the struggles they faced each day that I considered my parents to be financially poor. Being labeled ‘poor’ came with a sense of shame and inadequacy.” – Silas
“Compassion’s program equipped me for the future.”
“The Compassion program is holistic. In the program, I developed leadership skills that I’m able to use to this date. Also, I acquired a passion for serving and caring for the lost, the least and the last.” – Luciano
“This program really equipped me to be ready to face the world after college not just as a professional but as a mature Christian woman with strong spiritual foundation. During our leadership camps, our training sessions were really geared to help us to grasp God’s plan and purpose for our lives and see how important it is to seek him all the days of our lives. It didn’t just equip us to be successful in our field of expertise but to be bearers of the light of Jesus Christ everywhere we go.” – Kiwi
“Compassion changed my attitude toward the value of education and learning as many skills as possible. I was exposed to music, carpentry, drama and public speaking. These skills were important in building my confidence and cognitive abilities.” – Silas
This article was originally published by Compassion Canada.