10 Talented Young Entrepreneurs Who Dreamed Beyond Poverty

The impact of sponsors’ generosity on children multiplies far beyond their childhood years. Compassion centers at local churches offer them safe spaces to discover and lessons on how to steward their God-given talents.

Access to resources and exposure to various activities, coupled with vocational and financial training, allow children to dream big — beyond their circumstances. Compassion is devoted to cultivating and developing this next generation of leaders.

Check out these incredible stories of talented young entrepreneurs!

Faida, Guitar Teacher

Faida is weairng a white shirt and navy blue pants. He is playing his guitar. Behind him are green bushes.

Compassion alumnus Faida, 28, discovered his musical talent at a Compassion center in Rwanda at only 10 years old. He never missed a lesson. After graduating from university with a degree in civil engineering and purchasing his own guitar, he deeply desired to give back to children. Today, he runs his own online music school, where he has taught over 200 kids to play guitar.

“Whenever I remember that Compassion helped to boost my talent in playing guitar, I get full of emotion, and I believe that it was God’s plan for me.”


Miriam and Maureen, Business Owners

Miriam is wearing a light orange shirt and Maureen is wearing a dark orange shirt. They are inside their salon and behind them, clothes are hanging on the wall.

Twins Miriam and Maureen witnessed their factory-working mother laboring long hours but still struggling to put them through school, feed them and pay rent. This inspired them to seek a different future. Today, they are realizing their childhood dream of owning their own business in Tanzania. Maureen explains, “The [Compassion] center gave us capital for our salon business, and they also put us through entrepreneurial skill training.” They now manage their own successful beauty salon and plan to open a men’s clothing boutique.

Theophile, Shoemaker

Theophile is wearing a yellow shirt. He is using a machine to polish a pair of shoes he is making.

Bright and driven Theophile discovered his talent of shoemaking at his Compassion center in Togo. The teenager is both top of his academic class and enjoys managing his small shoemaking business in his free time. In his language, he is known as a “toto,” or “fast learner.” He jumps to partake in every opportunity offered at the center, but he chose to run with this one.

Sebastian, Weaver

Sebastian is wearing dark blue pants and a blue shirt. He is teaching youth at the Compassion center how to weave bags in one of the classrooms. Behind him is a brick wall with a large black board on it.

In Rwanda, university education is often too expensive for youth to attend. Knowing this, Sebastian’s Compassion center teaches vocational skills classes. Wanting to prove that boys could weave too, although it’s commonly done by girls, Sebastian chose bag weaving. He now uses the skills he learned to train his peers, earning him a monthly income. He also taught his mother to weave and sell her creations, further improving their family’s living conditions.

Sandy, Cosmetologist

Sandy is standing in the salon with her hands in her pockets, smiling. The wall in the background is purple.

One of Compassion’s local church partners in Colombia opened up a nationally accredited beauty school. Sandy graduated from the salon program, which launched her into a long-term career of painting nails and styling hair.

Rayane and Rhaldney, Photographers

Rayane shows one of her favorite pictures. She is smiling at the camera as she holds up her picture.

A Compassion center in Brazil launched a program called Criativa (“Creative”) to give new dreams to youth threatened by lack of opportunities.

Rayane photographs her community. She shares:

“Here there is much history of struggle, determination and resistance. I like to record these people, to show what is beautiful among our alleys. Despite the bad things we see here, it was the fact that I was born here that made me who I am today. It was what made me strong to fight for my dreams.”

Rhaldney shows one of his favorite pictures. He is wearing a black tee shirt with colored letters, and jeans. He is holding a photo and looking at it.

Rhaldney, another student, explains that photography changed his life. He says, “It’s through the lens of the cameras that I express my perceptions in the world. I have friends from the community who chose the wrong paths, but I’m grateful to the project [Compassion center] for helping me to take a different path. Today I study advertising and marketing, and even though there are difficult days, I know that God has helped me in my struggles.

Piyeston, Chef

Piyeston is wearing a gray shirt with blue and yellow plaid apron. He is holding out a bowl of soup that he made.

When Piyeston expressed his interest in cooking, the staff at his Compassion center in Sri Lanka organized a cooking program with Dilmah, a famous brand of Sri Lankan tea. All the youth were shown what a chef’s career looked like and given the next steps to take if this was a job that interested them. “I didn’t know that ‘chef’ was a job title,” says Piyeston, smiling. “I had never even heard of the word. But cooking was something that I love to do, and this program taught me so much.”

Sandra, Painter

Sandra is wearing a black dress with pink and blue flowers on it. She is painting at the craft fair and she is sitting in front of a tree. There are many other people in the background.

One of Compassion’s church partners in Honduras organized a public fair where students could sell their creations to their communities. Sandra, 17, says, “Painting is my passion, and I discovered it through the vocational training I got at the Compassion center.”

International reporting and photography of young entrepreneurs by Christian Abayisenga, Odessa B, Eric D. Lema, Helen Manson, Juana Ordonez Martinez, Sara Navarro, Gabriella Akpene Samaty, Doreen Umutesi

About the Author: Ava Bruns recently graduated from Clemson University with a communication major and brand communication minor. She is currently a Marketing Specialist intern at Compassion. A love for the Lord, a heart for people, a passion for creating and an adventurous spirit collide to make her the person she is today.

Young man with a guitar

8 Comments |Add a comment

  1. ANTHONY February 8, 2022

    It is wonderful to see GOD at work in this ministry improving the lives and future of our future Christian Church. It just goes to show you that Christ like love & Compassion shown to those who want to know HIM can change lives. Gods blessing to all

  2. Benita January 17, 2022

    These were very inspiring and encouraging stories. I hope to some day see some of these success stories come out of Ethiopia, where my precious sponsored child lives.

  3. Mary Druding January 14, 2022

    What a thrill, to learn that the young woman I’ve been sponsoring will be attending college this year.

  4. Nelson Nguyen March 29, 2021

    Psalms 90:17  May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.

  5. Sarah March 23, 2021

    Wow this is really encouraging. Am also a former beneficiary of compassion Uganda. Am greatly and passionate about all the good things compassion did to me and continues to do. Compassion motivated me to join the children’s ministry through child evangelism fellowship and am now a happy Sunday schoolteacher. Furthermore through compassion I learned baking where I now earn a living through selling cakes. May God bless you.

  6. Linda Dorsey March 17, 2021

    This was so inspiring to me. Do you tell my children that I sponsor in Haiti and Indonesia these inspiring possibilities for their future?

    1. Anna March 17, 2021

      Hello Linda! Thank you for sponsoring your precious children in Haiti and Indonesia! Through our development program, each child is encouraged to set goals and dream big for their future. The children have check-ins with their church mentors to discuss what interests they may have, and to pursue various vocational trainings that may be available in their area. Your sweet kiddos are definitely encouraged with inspiring possibilities for their futures. ?

  7. Terri March 16, 2021

    Beautiful stories of real people and futures filled with hope because of the ministry of CI! My heart is rejoicing after reading this encouraging blog post today. Please keep them coming.

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