These pictures of kids with animals are cute, of course. But they also show how animals help people in poverty. Some are pets providing companionship and joy, some are livestock helping families generate income, and some provide fertilizer for crops or nutritious milk to drink.
One thing these animals all have in common: Children and teenagers in Compassion’s program love spending time with them!
Daniel, Burkina Faso
When 5-year-old Daniel’s sponsor gave a family gift, his family was able to buy a lamb and other animals, which are helping his family generate income.
“Mama-Big is my cat and she’s very cute,” says Chonticha, 8. “Every day, I always make her run and chase after me.” Chonticha was especially grateful for her sweet companion during lonely COVID-19 lockdown periods.
Emily holds one of the guinea pigs she helps raise. Her Compassion center director, Oswaldo, started the guinea pig farm to give children and teenagers something educational and productive to do when they aren’t at school or the Compassion center. The children and youths are learning agricultural skills by caring for the animals and growing a vegetable garden.
“The fact that our children and teenagers are working the land and learning to take care of their own animals is very helpful,” says Oswaldo. “They are learning to be more responsible, so in the future they won’t be hungry.”
Raymark, the Philippines
Who’s smiling bigger — the dog or his human, a 14-year-old pastor?
Twelve-year-old cancer survivor Kauany loves spending time with her feline buddy, Niño.
Animal lover Masfika’s dream of owning a goat came true when her sponsor sent her family a financial gift. “That weekend she literally took me and the goat around the entire village like she was taking a pet dog for a walk,” says Masfika’s grandmother Rehana. The goat gave birth to two kids, which the family can keep or sell for income!
Jose, El Salvador
Jose’s family in rural El Salvador raises and sells pigs to earn an income — another example of how animals help people in poverty. “I think children should have pigs so they can have money to support their families,” explains Jose, 7.
What 8-year-old couldn’t love a bunny?
Heidi’s parents lost their employment and only source of income when the pandemic hit. To help, the local church where Heidi is sponsored in Compassion’s program started an agriculture initiative, giving each sponsored child’s family six chickens.
“We are feeding the chickens so they can grow and have more chicks,” explains Heidi, 8. “We sell them and now my mother has money to do the grocery shopping.”
Rosa, 8, absolutely lloves her llama.
Keasha, the Philippines
Keasha says she named her pet goat Mee because of the sound she makes. Keasha’s family bought Mee with money Keasha’s sponsor sent. The goat is another example of how animals help people in poverty: Keasha’s family plans to breed and sell goats to earn an income.
“When I grow up I want to be a veterinarian because I love animals very much,” says Camila. “I’ve wanted to be a veterinarian since my father gave me my first puppy.”
Children in Compassion’s program like Camila receive guidance and training so they can pursue their dreams. “It makes me sad when I see animals that are abandoned, sick or mistreated,” says the 8-year-old. “My favorite animals are dogs, but I want to heal all kinds of animals; I’m not afraid of them.”
International photography and reporting by Ben Adams, Nico Benalcazar, George Gio Brondial, Edwin Estioko, Junieth Dinarte, Eric D. Lema, Sara Navarro, Galia Oropeza, Jonatan Ruiz, Jehojakim Sangare and Piyamary Shinoda.