You’ve heard the urgent message: One billion children worldwide are experiencing multi-dimensional poverty. In 2023, child poverty is still rampant worldwide. Children experiencing poverty live without access to education, healthcare, housing, nutrition, sanitation, water and ultimately, hope for a bright future. 

We believe in the incredible potential of every child. Thriving children impact families, communities and nations. This means that releasing a child from poverty is an act of compassion that makes a real difference in our world.  

To do this work, we must address poverty’s multi-dimensional nature. We must invest in a child’s life holistically and meet their unique needs in relevant, agile and contemporary ways to truly break the cycle of poverty in their lives and unlock a brighter future. 

Together, we can learn more about the multi-dimensional nature of poverty in the lives of children. We can learn about the tools we have to address it and how we can put our compassion into action to build brighter futures for kids in poverty.  

On this page:

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Boy sits on the ground writing in a book and smiling.

Let’s start with some statistics.

It’s no secret that poverty is a complex problem. Extreme poverty is defined as living on less than $2.15 a day (World Bank). And given current trends, 574 million people—nearly 7 per cent of the world’s population—will still be living on less than $2.15 a day in 2030 (UNICEF). 

Children are more than twice as likely to live in poverty than adults (UNICEF). Currently, one out of five children live in extreme poverty, and the adverse effects of poverty and deprivation in the early years have ramifications that can last a lifetime (UN).  

An infographic containing statistics about child poverty.

As more families fall into extreme poverty, children in impoverished communities are at much greater risk of devastating realities such as child labour, child marriage and child trafficking (UN). Other consequences of poverty—hunger, homelessness, illness, lack of education—are significantly impacting children every day. 

Statistics can tell us a lot about what the world is facing. Learning more about poverty and its impact on children can equip us to respond to their needs in a tangible way. Big numbers can be overwhelming, but they often catalyze life-changing action.  

A girl is wearing a white shirt and an orange purse around her shoulder. She is standing in front of a chalkboard and smiling.

Learn how Compassion can change the statistics.

So, how do we respond to such a complex problem? Compassion. 

Compassion is a powerful force that compels us to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable. Our compassion can move us to meaningful action, and when it is collective, our impact is multiplied.  

We need people like you and those in your community to join the movement of compassion that is making a difference in the lives of children. 

When you partner with Compassion, you are connected to the mission of releasing kids from poverty through practical, tangible opportunities to put your compassion into action with the right tools. 

One of these tools is called Targeted Response. This term refers to specific strategic actions taken to meet the multi-dimensional needs of children in poverty. Though this term may not be familiar to you, you are probably familiar with what it looks like to engage with Targeted Response efforts:  

It is that donation towards job training for women or a scholarship for a young student. It is the fundraiser for a water well for a community in desperate need of clean water. It’s the chicken, the computer, the dental kit or the meal for a family that meets the unique needs of a child or family. These actions are essential to caring for children and developing them holistically both today and into the future. 

Girl sits in front of a furry cow holding a notebook. She is smiling big.

Will you step into the story?

Stepping into someone else’s story moves us to put our compassion into action. When we understand someone else’s experience, we find ourselves seeing much more than statistics. We see people. 

Take a moment to read these stories of compassion in action. Each story focuses on a unique area of Compassion’s Targeted Response:  

Stories are powerful tools to help us engage with big realities. They remind us that taking action doesn’t mean solving the world’s problems in one moment. When we respond to a need, we can change the reality for one child, one family at a time.  

Two boys sit on a curb smiling with toothbrushes in their hands.

Now’s the time to respond.

Now that you’ve learned about the multi-dimensional realities of children in poverty, you can move with compassion. Prayerfully consider how you can use your influence to make a difference.

1. Share

We need people like you to share this reality and invite others to respond. You can use your influence to inform others of what you’ve learned. Here are a few simple ways you can share: 

  • One-on-one: Share a statistic you’ve learned, a story you’ve read or something that impacted you. 
  • Small group: Share a video, read a story, host a discussion or walk through this Learn & Respond page together to engage more deeply. 
  • Social media: Share a picture or video on Instagram, repost a Compassion blog on Facebook or Twitter or create your own post to inspire others to move with compassion on behalf of kids in poverty. Here are some more great posts to share: 
    • Learn about the impact of Targeted Response through Compassion’s Complimentary Interventions on Instagram
    • Watch a video about how Compassion is combatting malnutrition in Kenya on YouTube
    • Share important information about the impact of helping moms and babies living in poverty on Instagram. 
    • Watch this video on how important supporting the beginning of a child’s life is on LinkedIn.
    • Share this reel about how critical it is to invest in the lives of children and youth on Instagram.
    • Read this story about a mother and her twins and the signficance of early childhood education on LinkedIn.
    • Learn five important things about giving Gifts of Compassion on Instagram.
    • Learn about the different clean water initiatives with Gifts of Compassion on Instagram.
    • Answer the question, “How does sponsorship help kids thrive?” with us on Instagram.
    • Watch this story of a girl who translates for her deaf parents and is achieving her own dreams on YouTube.

2. Fundraise 

We always need people who will raise funds so that tangible action can be taken to help feed and support children. You can use your influence to fundraise! 

Start a fundraiser

 3. Pray

Wherever there is great need, we need people of prayer. You can use your influence by committing to pray with us for children living in poverty around the world. 

Pray for children

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“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

-Matthew 25:40



Compassion Canada

Compassion Canada