NOTE FROM EDITOR: This content honors Compassion’s historical work in India. While we no longer have an India sponsorship program, we are grateful for the lives changed and meaningful work achieved through our sponsors and donors in our nearly 50 years there. For a detailed explanation of the end of our sponsorship program in India, please visit: compassion.com/india-update.
Since 1968, we have worked with local partners in India to provide our holistic child development program for children in poverty. Our 510 partners in East and South India support more than 145,000 babies, children and young adults.
But due to the government of India’s decision to restrict Compassion’s funds from reaching our partners this year, many of our child development centers in India are at risk of permanent closure … leaving some of the most vulnerable of India’s population even more vulnerable.
If a resolution with the Indian government isn’t found soon, our program there may halt altogether. But your voice could help us work toward a solution.
THE ORIGIN OF GOVERNMENT RESTRICTIONS IN INDIA
In 2011, the Indian government made significant changes to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which is the law that regulates NGOs’ receipt of foreign funds into the country. These revisions allowed the government to restrict NGOs whose purpose differs from India’s political ideology. This means the Indian government can restrict Christian NGO activity if they feel it threatens their national interest.
We have always worked within the confines of Indian law to provide our Child Sponsorship Program, Child Survival Program and Leadership Development Program through existing local partners. In all 26 countries in which we work, we make some adjustments to our program to ensure compliance with local laws.
WHY ALL FUNDING TO COMPASSION IN INDIA HAS STOPPED
In February of this year, the Indian government issued an order against Compassion requiring prior clearance from the government before funds could be transferred to all our partners in India. After months of unsuccessfully trying to obtain prior clearance, we have concluded that the clearance process is fiction. We have never been offered an explanation for this action in the nine months since the order was issued.
Many of our local partners were still able to continue program activities but dozens are operating at a limited capacity. They cut back on things like the number of days the child development centers operated, serving snacks instead of full meals, and running abbreviated programs.
But as of today, many of our remaining partners in India have run out of funds entirely and don’t have the benefit of our financial support and resources for their ongoing child development efforts.
We have been working closely with the Indian and U.S. governments and have respectfully complied with all requests from the Indian government. Additionally, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke on our behalf with a key official in India. However, the restriction on our funds remains in place.
If a resolution is not reached soon, we will no longer be able to fund the child development centers operating in India. The ripple effect would not only impact the lives of more than 130,000 babies, children and young adults but also the lives of their family members and their communities.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO ADVOCATE FOR COMPASSION IN INDIA
We have pursued every possible conversation with government officials in hopes of protecting our work, our local partners and the children and their families. And now we’d like to ask you, our partners as sponsors, donors and child advocates, to lend your strong voice to the conversation!
On Dec. 6, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives will hear testimony from Compassion about the situation with the Indian government.
Will you join us in our effort to ensure that America’s lawmakers are aware of the risks posed to the 130,000 children if we can no longer operate in India?
There are two ways in which you can stand with us to advocate for the children and their communities in India:
1. Send a Letter to Your Congressperson.
It’s simple. Just click the link below that has a pre-drafted letter from you to your state’s representative. All you need to do is sign the letter, enter your email, address and ZIP code, and hit submit. The letter includes an opportunity for you to add your own personalized message if you so choose.
2. Raise Awareness on Social Media.
Share this blog to your own social media channels via the buttons at the bottom or top of this post.
Imagine the impact we could have if everyone who sponsors and advocates for children would speak up on their behalf!
You have been so generous in releasing children from poverty with us. And we hope we can count on you to act now and let the U.S. government know before Dec. 6 how passionately you support children in extreme poverty.