As sponsors, we all wonder what difference our support is making. The answer is: a big difference! Sponsorship gives children the chance to pave a path out of the cycle of poverty—and to offer that chance to others as well. Here’s what just a few Compassion graduates are up to today.
Jonathan lives in a small community in Honduras where most people work as farmers and only earn a couple of dollars a day. But when he was a boy, Jonathan was registered in Compassion’s program. At the Compassion centre, he had the chance to be part of a firefighter training program for kids. It set the course for his future.
“As a child, I was living in the midst of a hopeless environment until I enrolled in the children’s firefighter program at the Compassion centre,” he says. “I trusted the Lord and never gave up my dream of becoming a firefighter. Today, I proudly wear the firefighter’s uniform and serve my community.”
Becoming a firefighter in his community is very competitive, but Jonathan says Compassion gave him the edge he needed: “I met Jesus while I was in the program. I also learned about respect for myself and for others. Also, my sponsors’ letters encouraged me to continue. Those qualities enabled me to be selected as a permanent firefighter.”
Now Jonathan’s mission is to keep his community safe, and he’s giving back by training new junior firefighters at the Compassion centre.
Gai is from such a remote village in Thailand that children had to be sent to another village to go to school when she was growing up. Although it went against the cultural norms to educate girls, Compassion paid Gai’s school fees and she was able to receive an education in a neighbouring village. She went on to complete her university degree in accounting and got a good job with the Thai government as an accountant.
But her village needed help. A Compassion centre opened in her village, allowing children to have opportunities to thrive without having to leave their parents. But in this remote village, the Compassion centre couldn’t find qualified staff to handle the centre’s accounting.
Gai decided to leave her well-paying job in the city to move home and become the centre’s accountant. She says, “I can never repay or thank the people who sponsored me and helped me enough. But I can sacrifice so that the next generation can have the chance that I got.”
Viviana’s parents were farmers in the highlands of Ecuador. But prolonged drought made it impossible to provide for their children. During those times, Compassion filled the gap for Viviana.
“Compassion was the buttress of our family, providing hope and a way out,” she says.
At her Compassion centre, Viviana discovered that she had a talent and passion for communicating God’s truths. She was often the master of ceremonies at church and Compassion centre events.
Today, Viviana is a TV producer and evangelist and has produced more than 50 programs! She’s currently producing a program called Taripana that will encourage locals to participate in initiatives to improve the social, educational and economic development of her province.
The youth director
Juniper was known as the naughtiest little boy at his Compassion centre in the Philippines. If there was trouble, his tutors knew he would usually be at the heart of it.
But Juniper’s tutors continued to faithfully guide and care for him. And today Juniper is the youth director of his church! When asked how the change happened, his centre director, Violy says, “We didn’t do anything special. We just implemented the sponsorship program, shared the gospel and encouraged the children to go to church. But we were very patient. I always believe prayer had a lot to do with it, too.”
Now Juniper is leading a group of 40 to 60 youth, guiding them to choose God’s path in their lives.
When Bienvenue in Rwanda graduated from university, he wanted to do something to give back to his community. He realized that having a mentor made a huge difference in his path to success. So Bienvenue, along with other Compassion graduates in Rwanda, started a program to train mentors for children enrolled in Compassion.
“Mentorship is biblical and volunteering to mentor a child is one way of nurturing responsible citizens with a heart for God,” says Bienvenue.
The alumni are training parents to mentor children and youth, and each parent mentors four children. The mentors encourage the children and help them to make good decisions about their futures. The alumni’s goal is for every child in Compassion Rwanda to have a mentor!
The industrial engineer
Josué from Mexico had to start working as a bricklayer with his father when he was just 12, carrying heavy buckets and mixing cement under the unbearable sun. But through Compassion, he got a chance for a different future.
Josué graduated from high school and is now working in the office of an oil company while he studies industrial engineering at the university.
Josué is also giving back by working as the program coordinator at his Compassion centre. Although he’s a busy student and employee, he continues to work at the centre to ensure that more children have the chance to hear about God!
Mark graduated cum laude from one of the leading universities in the Philippines with a degree in education. He could have chosen to teach at any number of schools, but he’s settled down in the remote village of Colambo.
When he arrived, the school was just two makeshift bamboo rooms, and there was only him and one other new teacher. He could find a more prestigious and better paying job elsewhere, but Mark has stayed put.
“I have found my calling,” he says, “and that is to educate these children and see them grow, and if given the chance, to lead them to the Lord.”
Thanks in part to Mark’s leadership, two new school buildings have been constructed and the school has established a partnership with a local organization that conducts a regular feeding program for the students.
“To me, this is my way of giving back for the kindness I received from Compassion and my sponsor,” Mark says.
The program director
Being part of Compassion’s program convinced Gaby in Honduras to pursue her dream of going to university—despite coming from a poor and broken family.
“My parents’ separation made me grow up restless on the inside when I was a child,” says Gaby. “However, church pastors, Compassion tutors and my sponsors taught me to love myself, to experience healing from the inside out and to go beyond my circumstances.”
Now Gaby is pursuing a degree in business administration, but she’s also giving back. After having served at a Compassion centre as a tutor for two years, she’s now the director! Gaby is providing the same encouragement and love to children in difficult circumstances that she herself received as a child.