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.Continue Reading ›
The fashion industry can have a profound impact on the lives of people living in poverty. Here’s how you can help make positive change.Continue Reading ›
Brenya’s aunt said she was taking him to another village to go to school. But instead he was forced into unpaid labor on Lake Volta.
This year, Compassion joins other humanitarian and child-focused organizations around the world to celebrate a landmark: the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. A convention might sound a little boring, but this historic meeting laid out the human rights that apply to all children. We have a lot to celebrate about the progress children’s rights have made in the last 30 years. We’d like to highlight three ways things have changed in the past 30 years for children.
Can you guess what the most popular drink in the world is? Here’s a hint: Thousands of Compassion-assisted families work to produce it as a livelihood. But working to produce the world’s favorite drink often doesn’t provide enough for a family’s basic necessities. Learn more about the lives of these families and how sponsorship is breaking the generational cycle of poverty.
More than a third of the over 40 million people trapped in human trafficking around the world are children. But there are stories of faith, hope and freedom from child trafficking. When these five things are present, children are better protected from people trying to hurt them.
As a mom of two children, I have tried to encourage my kids to explore their dreams and provide them with opportunities to learn about a variety of occupations. Helping them to choose something they can be successful at with the talents God has given them. But not all children get these opportunities.
Child laborers are not simply working an after-school job. They are children who have had their safety, education and childhoods taken from them.
According to the United Nation’s International Labor Organization, “Child labor is every work activity that children and adolescents do before turning 18 years old, that affects their physical, social, intellectual, psychological and moral development.” And poverty is a key contributor to the prevalence of child labor.
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.
Outliers are men and women who do things out of the ordinary; men and women who have drive, skill and talent, but who also are given an opportunity to succeed.
“When outliers become outliers it is not just because of their own efforts. It’s because of the contributions of lots of different people and lots of different circumstances.” – Malcolm Gladwell
Vallarasu is an outlier.
Vallarasu hails from Srivalliputhur. He is now 30 years old. Though his physique suggests that he is very soft guy, his words are weighty and powerful. There is a passionate boldness in his face.
Vallarasu’s dad was a shopkeeper and sold household goods. When Vallarasu was 6 years old, his father was murdered by a gang. Thereafter, the family suffered greatly. They had no money to afford even one square meal a day.
One year after the murder, Vallarasu’s mother committed suicide, and Vallarasu and his two sisters were left orphans. His two sisters were brought up by an uncle, but Vallarasu was left behind in the streets.
Compassion found him in the streets, and he was taken into St. Andrews Child Development Center. The center supported him so he could study in the school. The school had a hostel facility, so the center provided him with not only education, but also gave him shelter, food and comfort.
The problems that Vallarasu experienced as a little child instilled a deep burden within his heart. He developed a burning desire to help orphans and desolate children. He took the initiative in solving every little conflict that arose among the children at St. Andrews, and even teachers marveled at his efficiency.
Some teachers commented, “In the future, you will become a big leader in the society.” While others said, “I am sure you will stand as an advocate speaking for thousands in days to come.”
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month in the U.S., a time to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect. Our mandate as child advocates is to ensure that all children within our care and those we interact with every day enjoy a loving and safe environment.
Compassion is committed to protecting children from all forms of abuse and exploitation. Our board policy communicates this clearly by stating that:
“Concern for children is the cornerstone upon which Compassion International has been built. We are opposed to all forms of abuse and exploitation and will do everything within our power to ensure that no harm comes to any child registered in our program due to his or her involvement in the ministry of Compassion International.”
By protecting children, we are responding to Christ’s mandate to care for and protect His little ones.
A few weeks ago my little girl Brooklyn asked me for some cookies and milk for herself and her 2-year-old brother. They sat down in front of the TV in their pajamas (we call them jammies at our house) and watched their favorite DVD while I served them cookies and milk.
That’s when it hit me. We are so blessed!
There my kids are eating chocolate chip cookies and cold milk with nothing on their mind but “I hope Dad forgets that we’re supposed to do nap time today.” While somewhere in a land far, far away from their minds (and mine most of the time) is a little girl Brooklyn’s same age working long hours of forced labor who has never had a day of cookies and milk in her whole life. Somewhere there is a child my daughter’s age (4) that will work harder today than I will and will go to sleep hungry tonight.
On our refrigerator at home there is a picture of our sponsored child. Her name is Heidi, and she lives in Bolivia. (Brooklyn thinks the little girl’s name is Bolivia.) We pray for Heidi often. We pray for her to have plenty to eat. Sponsoring Heidi is a great way for my wife and I to teach our children about others’ needs and how we can help by sharing.
Last Wednesday at Compassion’s chapel service I had the chance to hear a young man that truly grasps the power of sharing. Zach Hunter is a 16-year-old abolitionist who is giving his life to the cause of releasing slaves and giving them their God-given right to freedom. He has been speaking out against slavery since he was 11 years old.
I wonder how many students (or adults for that matter) have even thought about slavery today. Thanks to Zach Hunter at least 600 people thought about slavery that day in chapel and 500,000 more will think about it this year as he speaks to them.
As I studied Zach’s message I realized it is storming all around us, and for whatever reason God has given most of us in this country an umbrella. He didn’t give us an umbrella so that we would deny that it is storming. He gave us the umbrella to acknowledge the storm and share our umbrella with those who don’t have one.
Zach asked the question, “How do people in severe poverty know that God is good?” The only way they could know that is if God’s people share His goodness with those who have not experienced it.
It’s raining hard, Church. Share your umbrella.