One thing we all share in common as humanity is a God-given desire to contribute to the world at large and God-given abilities to do so.

That’s why most people living in extreme poverty don’t want a handout—they want a sustainable way to provide for themselves and their families. They want the pride of hard work. That’s one reason why Compassion’s programs aren’t focused on the long-term development of people. We want to empower young people and their parents to have the skills, determination and hope to lift themselves out of poverty. We want to enable them to live up to their full potential and do so with dignity.

Here are a few of those faces of dignity—people who are overcoming their circumstances, with a little help, in order to provide for their families and contribute to their communities.

Silvia, a mom in Guatemala, with her two children, a girl and a boy.

In Silvia’s community in rural Guatemala, the majority of children became severely malnourished after a food crisis. Silvia’s children were malnourished too. But Silvia and other moms in her community were helped to begin a fish farm. With the success of their farm, they are able to provide more balanced meals for their children to fight malnutrition.

A man in Thailand sits on the ground weaving a basket alongside students.

Poe-Ga in Thailand can’t walk, and was never able to provide for himself but had to rely on charity. But when a local church learned that he knows how to weave traditional baskets, they put him to work training young people this dying art.

A dad stands in a field with his two children, a girl and a boy.

This dad lives in a community of people in northern Thailand who fled conflict in neighbouring Myanmar. Having left everything behind, they had no way to earn an income. But this dad was helped with seeds and land to start a tea farm—a crop that can bring in a good profit, especially for people living in extreme poverty.

A teenage boy holding scissors and a comb.

Although just 15, Jean Pier learned skills as a barber through Compassion. He’s using his earnings to save for college—he wants to be an engineer. He is certain that he won’t get trapped in the gangs and drugs that are common in his community in Honduras.

Two moms baking bread in a bakery in Tanzania.

These moms in rural Tanzania were illiterate and didn’t have skills to earn an income. But they learned baking skills and started a bakery. Now they are able to send their children to school and their mindset has been transformed from one of fatalism to hope.

A woman works at a sewing machine.

Judith in Togo and was unable to provide for herself and her two children. She contemplated suicide. But she was given a sewing machine, and now she can provide for her small family with dignity. They are even able to eat breakfast—a meal they never had in the past.

A teen girl holding a mixer in a bakery.

Tatiana in El Salvador is learning how to bake so that she can provide for herself when she graduates!

A teen boy making pastries.

Levi in Peru received help to start his own pastry business. He works many hard hours every day with the dream of expanding his business in the future so that he’ll have the resources to support churches to build more secure infrastructure.

A young woman works at a sewing machine next to two other women.

This young woman is learning how to sew in order to provide for herself. She lives in a community in northern Thailand near the border of Myanmar. Lacking Thai citizenship, they aren’t free to travel to other provinces or access public education, so learning vocational skills is key to survival.

A profile photo of a young man in Haiti.

Watson, from a desperately poor community in Haiti, learned carpentry skills, and now he provides for his family.

Often the circumstances people were born into have trapped them in a seemingly endless cycle of poverty—until someone presents them with a chance at sustainability. Through Gifts of Compassion, you can help a parent or young person take the first step into a stable life by giving them the resources to begin earning an income.

Give an income generation gift today.

Help people earn an income

Amber Van Schooneveld

Amber Van Schooneveld

Amber Van Schooneveld is the Managing Editor of Compassion International's blog.