“You are welcome here.”

With these beautiful words from the families who Compassion serves, step into the homes of 25 children who live in poverty. Whether it’s a corner of a domed traditional home, a simple hammock or a private space created by a curtain partition, each child’s room offers a precious insight into their daily lives.

Look beyond what might appear like bleak or confronting surroundings. Many of these children do have stories of incredible heartbreak and loss, suffering and hardship. But their rooms are still places of learning, dreaming, laughter and ultimately, of hope.

Welcome inside.

____

Brazil

A family sits on a bed in their home.

Photo by Sara Navarro.

Brothers Marcos Alexandre, 9, Marcos Winicius, 13, and Kauan, 6, share this room in northeast Brazil—though occasionally one of them sprawls out at night in a hammock instead.

____

Thailand

Baby Sathinee in Thailand sleeps in a hammock.

Photo by Piyamary Shinoda.

Baby Sathinee takes a peaceful snooze at home in northern Thailand. She’s been separated from her parents since the pandemic closed the Thai-Myanmar border, but continues to thrive in the loving care of her doting grandmother and Compassion’s Survival program.

____

Kenya

Maindi sits on the floor in her home and works on her homework.

Photo by Isaac Ogila.

Maindi, 8, and her family are part of the Rendille tribe, indigenous nomadic pastoralists. She lives in a traditional domed home built of animal hide, sticks and dung in eastern Kenya. Workbook propped up on her knee, she completes her homework before the light fades. With Compassion’s support, she is enrolled in school—the only child out of her five siblings to attend.

____

Brazil

João lays in the hammock where he sleeps every night. The house where he and his family live has just one bedroom, so João and his brother sleep in the living room.

Photo by Sara Navarro.

His home only has one bedroom, so at night, 14-year-old João and his brother stretch out to sleep in hammocks in their living room in Brazil. “I know God is with me,” he says. “I can see Him in the little things. Living in my situation helps me to see the world differently. It teaches me to value what I have and always makes me want to help people who are worse off.”

____

Philippines

Jasper, wearing a white shirt and gray and white striped shorts, is sitting on his bed at home and he is using a cell phone with his feet. In the foreground of the picture is a fan. Behind his is a blue and white sheet hanging up as a room separator.

Photo by Edwin Estioko.

Little Jasper was born without arms in a rural squatter community in the Philippines. On his bed, he demonstrates how he can use his toes to take selfies on his mother’s phone. He often says, “Don’t worry, Mama, I can do this.”

____

Ethiopia

Tigist, in a yellow dress, is sitting on a bed with Yeabsera with their heads pressed together. The walls are green and there is a red curtain, blanket and table cloth.

Photo by Ben Adams.

When Tigist fell sick and could no longer work, she worried her daughter Yeabsera would end up on the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. How could she pay the rent? Not only did the local Compassion centre cover the costs, staff even provided them with this bed in the room they share. “Their help gave me a reason to thank God every day,” says Tigist, “because I can see God’s help through people.”

____

Colombia

A girl in a purple shirt is standing inside her home holding a broom and sweeping. The walls are brick and she is next to two beds with clothes on them.

Photo by Helen Manson.

Ydania sweeps the floor of the bedroom she shares with her siblings in Cucúta, Colombia. Her family fled the spiralling economic crisis in neighbouring Venezuela. As migrants, they arrived with nothing but the clothes on their backs. In their new town, they are grateful for a safe place to sleep, even if it’s crowded.

____

Kenya

Benson is sitting on his bed looking off to the side. He is wearing a green and white striped shirt and blue pants.

Photo by Isaac Ogila.

In 2018, 16-year-old Benson’s home in Solai was engulfed by a wave of water from a collapsed dam. He lost all of his school uniforms, shoes and books. The Chelsea football fan gave thanks to God that his home is still standing, and his family is safe.

____

Brazil

Kaylane reads one of her sponsor’s letters on the bed she shares with her older sister every night. Kaylane is wearing a yellow shirt and red skirt.

Photo by Sara Navarro.

Ana, 11, reads one of her sponsor’s letters on the bed she shares with her older sister each night in Fortaleza, Brazil. “When I read my sponsor’s letters, I feel so loved,” she says. “She makes me feel so special.”

____

Philippines

Jearvee with her mother Annalyn. They are being visited by Ruth Manzano, the project director of PH0206. They are sitting together in their small house.

Photo by Edwin Estioko.

The Philippines is among the poorest nations in Southeast Asia, yet studies often show its people are among the happiest in the world. This is true for 17-year-old Jearvee’s family, who live in a slum in Metro Manila. The family of seven shares a tiny two-room home, where living quarters double as a bedroom. But, as Jearvee says, “We are happy all the time. I have everything that I need: my loving parents, my younger brothers and sister, my school and my church.”

____

Ethiopia

Kalkidan is wearing a blue shirt and white skirt. She is standing in her home in front of her bed, holding pictures of her sponsors.

Photo by Tigist Gizachew.

Ten-year-old Kalkidan proudly holds a photo of her sponsors in her new bedroom. The clean, spacious room is vastly different from her previous home. The house she and her single mother rented doubled as a communal kitchen, where neighbours cooked at all hours. After seeing Kalkidan’s reality, her sponsors rented a safe, new home for the little family. Her smile says it all.

____

Dominican Republic

Ilsa Inaira Yaque, and her sister Yosaira Yaque, both Compassion beneficiaries. Yosaira is wearing her school uniform, a khaki skirt, sky blue shirt, black shoes, and black socks. Ilsa is also wearing her school uniform, a sky blue shirt, light blue jeans, and white sneakers with red laces.

Photo by Yrahisa Mateo.

Sisters Yosaira and Ilsa learned how to pray at their Compassion centre in the Dominican Republic and now do so every morning and night. The bed they share may look unusual, but there’s a good reason it’s elevated. The concrete blocks help keep it dry if the nearby river floods. They store precious letters from their sponsors under their mattress.

____

Ghana

Forgive is lying on a mattress in a dark room. There is a green trashcan in the corner.

Photo by Vera Mensah-Bediako.

Five-year-old Forgive draws a picture on her bed in Ghana. Orphaned at just one week old, Compassion’s church partner helped her grief-stricken grandmother to support the baby girl. Today, Forgive is healthy and thriving. “The good people in this church have kept her alive for me,” says her grandmother Margaret. “God bless you and increase your work.”

____

Philippines

Jonalyn, wearing a green shirt, is sitting on a bed in her home looking at her baby, Ruela, who is sleeping. The house is very crowded.

Photo by Edwin Estioko.

Just metres from the sea, Jonalyn watches over her sleeping five-month-old baby in Metro Manila. Their tiny home, built of flimsy materials, is vulnerable to the ferocious typhoons that batter the Philippines each year. “I’m worried every time, especially for my baby. I’m so happy that the church is here to help us.”

____

Ecuador

Maria Jose is wearing a pink shirt and blue shorts. She is sitting on her bed hugging her teddy bear. Behind her are her toys.

Photo by Nico Benalcazar.

At five years old, María José could not walk or speak and could barely move. Born with cerebral palsy in Ecuador, the little girl was given a bleak prognosis by doctors. But with one-on-one attention from Compassion’s church partner, María José has flourished, building her strength and learning new words. Today, at seven years old, doctors predict she will one day walk on her own.

____

Burkina Faso

Yves and Bibata are siiting inside their home. On the left is a wooden table with clothes and other household belongings. Behind them is a mosquito net hanging from the wall.

Photo by Serge Ismael Ouedraogo.

Because of unemployment, Yves’ parents couldn’t afford a meal every day. When he was registered into Compassion’s program in Burkina Faso, he was diagnosed with acute malnutrition. His health has since turned around! The lively toddler now keeps his mother on her toes.

____

Indonesia

A girl in white and orange sits on a bed holding and looking at a book through a doorway with green wood walls, red trim and purple curtain.

Photo by Ben Adams.

Klarisa’s family in North Maluku, Indonesia, love colour: their bright home is painted like a rainbow. “My favourite thing about the program is that I get to study the Bible,” she says.

____

Honduras

Yaretzi (left) and Julieth (right) read their sponsors’ letters. They keep them in a photo album. Both of them are laying down on the bed they share with their Grandmother Yaretzi is wearing a gray dress with pink hearts on it and purple socks. Julieth is wearing a purple dress.

Photo by Juana Ordonez Martinez.

Sisters Yaretzi, 9, and Julieth, 8, and their grandparents were forced out of their home by gang members in Honduras. The family had no other option but to build a makeshift wooden house near the city dump. On hot, humid days, the smell of rotting garbage is overwhelming. One of the girls’ favourite places is the bed they share, where they read Bible stories with their grandma. “I want to become a teacher,” says Julieth, “and share the Word of God with children.”

____

Kenya

Sammy is sitting in his room at a desk doing his homework. He is wearing a red t-shirt.

Photo by Isaac Ogila.

Eight-year-old Sammy works on his homework at the home he shares with his mother in northeast Kenya. “I love to do my homework in my room because it is a peaceful space and no one disturbs me here,” he says.

____

Bangladesh

Shakib is wearing a denim shirt and jeans. He is standing in his room and behind him is a large cabinet full of his older siblings' books. He is holding an armful of books and next to him is his bed.

Photo by J. Sangma.

In Bangladesh, Shakib spends his days chasing the best internet connection at home so he can participate in his online classes while schools remain closed. He shares this room with his father and older brother.

____

Peru

Enan with his parents and two of his siblings in his bed. The family is sitting on Enan's bed together. There are clothes hanging on the wall behind them.

Photo by Jonatan Ruiz.

Enán, 8, lives in the Peruvian jungle with his family. Their home is typical of the houses in their community, made of wood with a woven-palm roof. Compassion’s church partner provided the family with iron roof sheets to protect them from the sudden tropical storms. “Sometimes, in places like our community, children do not have dreams or goals for their future,” says Enán’s father. “However, my children are encouraged at the centre to make plans. They inspire them to dream to do great things.”

____

Ethiopia

Tiruwork, in a pink and brown polka dot dress and a white sweater, sits on a bed looking at her sleeping baby girls, who are wearing white and covered by a blue blanket.

Photo by Ben Adams.

High above Eyerusalem and Absalat’s home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, vultures circle. They swoop upon the mountain of trash below. The toddler twins live near the city dump. Their home is just eight-foot wide and six feet in length, with much of the room taken up by the family’s bed. It’s worth it for the beautiful neighbours who live alongside them. They help the twins’ mother, Tiruwok, by watching over the twins when she needs a helping hand.

____

Indonesia

Nadia is wearing shorts and a red shirt. She is sitting on her bed. There is an oxygen tank beside her bed.

Photo by Vera Aurima.

Nadia’s oxygen tank crowds her bedroom in North Sulawesi, but this 12-year-old is very grateful for the equipment. Medical access in her village is scarce but Compassion’s program ensures she receives the support she needs for her heart condition.

____

Uganda

Violet, a girl in a white shirt, sits on the edge of a bed with papers on her lap. There are clothes stacked on the bed and a tan and black blanket. There is a red curtain in the doorway.

A little nervous, Violet reads her sponsor’s letters at home in Uganda before she meets them for the first time. When she saw their car pull up, all nerves were forgotten as she flung herself into their arms. “It was like we’d known each other since she was born and that we’d been apart for so long,” says her sponsor, Paul. “I’ll never forget that moment.”

____

Peru

Elizabeth is holding her teddy bear in her room. Elizabeth is wearing a pink tee shirt and is smiling at the camera. There is a wooden fence behind her.

Photo by Jonatan Ruiz.

Elizabeth hugs her red teddy bear in the home she shares with her grandparents in the Amazonas region of northern Peru. She describes the day she received the toy—at her first Compassion Christmas celebration—as “the happiest day of my life”. The little girl was abandoned by her parents but is being raised in a home full of love: love from her grandparents, love from her sponsors and the love from Compassion’s local church partner.

____

Follow us on Instagram to get perspective into the lives of children living in poverty infused right into your feed!

Follow @CompassionCA

 

Words by Zoe Noakes, Compassion International

Written by: Compassion Canada