It’s the middle of summer, so you’re probably not thinking about Christmas carols and snow softly falling outside your window. However, even though the taste of peppermint hot chocolate isn’t on your lips, think back to Christmas with us for a moment.

Shopping for the perfect gifts is a large part of the Christmas season. Last year, Canadians planned to spend an average of $625 on gifts for their loved ones (CBC News). For nearly 4,000 Canadians, that involved buying some Gifts of Compassion.

Last year Canadians bought over 12,000 Gifts of Compassion!

If you’re reading this, I can safely guess that you probably bought one for some or all of the people on your list—the numbers are in my favour. Perhaps you picked out a bicycle for the cyclist in your life, life-saving surgery for the doctor, or safe homes for the new homeowners.

Today we want to show you how your gifts made a real impact in the lives of children and families all around the world.

We’re so excited to share these reports with you. For us here in Canada, Gifts of Compassion might be a way to take the focus off all the consumerism of Christmas. For children around the world, Gifts of Compassion help them break free from poverty and live in the fullness of who they were created to be.

Here are just a few of the gifts you gave last year…

____

You gave a better commute to 514 children in Sri Lanka.

Two photos. Photo 1: A boy riding a bicycle. Photo 2: A girl receiving a bicycle poses with a group of adults.

Children in Sri Lanka often need to walk long distances in the hot sun to get to school. For girls in particular, this can be especially dangerous as it leaves them vulnerable to abuse. The precarious journey can affect children’s motivation and school attendance.

But through Gifts of Compassion, you sparked change in the lives of 514 children by giving them bicycles. Now, travelling to school, extracurricular activities and their Compassion centre is safer, more efficient and a lot more fun! Local Compassion staff are excited to report that school attendance is up 80 per cent since the bicycles were distributed. Beyond that, the bicycles are providing a source of daily exercise for children.

You gave life-saving surgery to Saviour in Uganda.

Saviour holds stands in his hospital room, playing with a toy airplane.

Saviour was born with a heart defect—and the prognosis was not positive. Without surgery, only one in four children with his condition live to see their 10th birthday. But the surgery is expensive—and isn’t available in Saviour’s home country of Uganda. For a family living in poverty, it was simply out of the question.

But thanks to your generosity, Saviour was able to travel to India for surgery. We’re happy to report that it was successful and Saviour is doing well! He will still need a second surgery—please be praying with us for his health and another successful surgery.

You gave protection from dengue fever to 4,107 children in Peru.

Left: two boys pose holding a mosquito net. Right: a group sits in a classroom with an instructor standing in front of the group.

In the Amazonas region of Peru, there is a high prevalence of dengue fever—an illness spread through mosquito bites. Peru was one of three countries in the Americas to report an increased number of dengue cases from 2016 to 2017 (World Health Organization). With your help, ten of Compassion’s local church partners in the region were able to equip 4,107 children with the supplies and training needed to prevent dengue fever and other vector-borne diseases in their homes.

“During [a dengue outbreak], I was very concerned about the children and their families,” says Lilian, the director of a Compassion centre in Amazonas. “But thank God for this support! We were able to provide resources to prevent dengue for all the families.”

You gave full stomachs to 250 toddlers in Colombia.

A young boy sits at a table and is served a plate of food by a young woman.

Many parents around the world don’t have the resources to provide a balanced and nutritious diet for their children, leading to acute malnutrition. Malnutrition is one of the most common and most dangerous effects of poverty. Globally, about 45 per cent of deaths amongst children under the age of five are linked to undernutrition (World Health Organization).

Because of your support, several of Compassion’s local church partners in Colombia were able to provide nutritious meals and dietary supplements for 250 malnourished children ages three to five. They worked with local nutritionists and pediatricians to track each child’s growth and also conducted nutrition workshops for the children’s caregivers.

As a result of these efforts, all 250 children have achieved or are well on their way to a healthy height and weight!

You gave safe homes to 15 families in Uganda.

Left: a family poses in front of a completed home. Right: A home that is nearly complete; a woman walking in front of it carrying supplies.

In a region like Kabale, Uganda, where heavy rains, landslides and floods are common, it is important to have a home that can withstand these perils. However, a sturdy shelter is simply too expensive for many families. This all too often leads to devastating destruction during the rainy season.

Compassion’s church partners in Kabale set out to provide safe homes for the families in their communities with the most need. And thanks to your partnership through Gifts of Compassion, ten homes are complete and five more are under construction—15 families have new, sturdy and safe homes! They no longer have to worry about the region’s landslides and flooding leaving them homeless.

____

Did you ever imagine that your Christmas gifts could do all of that? Be sure to share these reports with someone you gave a Gift of Compassion to and let them know that their Christmas gift had a huge impact around the world!

If you haven’t yet given a Gift of Compassion, you can today! Gifts of Compassion aren’t just for Christmas. They are available year-round and make great birthday, anniversary and graduation gifts.

Shop now

Written by: Alyssa Esparaz

Alyssa brings her passion for youth, justice and Jesus to her role of Writer and Communicator at Compassion Canada, as she works to inspire and equip the Church to live compassionate lifestyles. Her favourite things in the world include her family, basketball, ice cream and riding on airplanes.