I am really pleased that Tim Glenn from Compassion International could join us for this interview. Compassion International is an organization that meets the physical and spiritual needs of children all over the world through child sponsorship programs. I have not been compensated for this post. I just like to see hungry children fed.
I have been deeply moved by the empty stomachs of these little ones because my son was once hungry too. He was malnourished before he was even born and consequently weighed just under 4 pounds at birth. I held him for the first time when he was just 2 months old when our in country adoption process began in Nicaragua.
At that time he was still so small that he could have been weighed on one of those scales in the produce section of a grocery store. The dial would have made its way to the 7 pound mark. That was less than each of my daughters weighed when they were born! I immediately fed him the 4 oz bottle I brought with me. It was the most he was ever given in one sitting. He chugged it down and happily cuddled up in my arms. It is a joy to see children who have been fed. Now, let’s meet Tim.
Q: Thanks so much for agreeing to do this India interview Tim. India is the country we are currently learning about at Mommy Maleta. So we are very excited to learn about the work your organization Compassion International does there. First, could you briefly explain what the word compassion means? And next, what are some ways you show compassion to children in India?
A: Compassion comes from the latin, pati cum…which means to “suffer with.” So compassion means not just to feel sorry for someone who is hurting but to feel/experience their pain with them. To be acutely affected by their suffering. So in India, Compassion staff and volunteers are deeply involved in the lives of the children we minister to. Our trained staff know what it’s like to go hungry, to not have access to clean water, to not have access to education. They grieve with these children but also bring help through Compassion’s child development through sponsorship program. Our program provides meals, educational opportunities, health and hygiene education, medical treatment when necessary, school uniforms or supplies, and sometimes even shelter.
Q: We have learned that India is a very big country with big cities and villages. How many cities and villages do you work in? How do you decide where to go?
A: Compassion works all throughout India. Every one of our child development centers is a local church. We have 570 local church partners delivering our program throughout India, to more than 136,000 children. (Note: we do not require children in our program to be Christians or to convert to Christianity, but we do teach the Gospel of Jesus in our programs.) We have several criteria for deciding where to work. First, there has to be a local church that can administer our child development curriculum. The church needs to be able to handle between 200 and 300 children in most cases. It needs to be safe for our children to get there and attend there. We need qualified staff, volunteers who can teach the program, feed the children and meet whatever individualized needs there are. We choose the poorest parts of the world because we believe God has called us to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and to minister to those in deep need.
Q: Could you describe what a typical day is like for a child in India before they are sponsored?
A: Depending on where they live, Indian children can face many hardships. Millions are forced into labor at an early age, working to support their families instead of attending school. Many children face the danger of being trafficked. Infant mortality rates are high in India (42 out of every 1,000 live births according to Unicef.) Little access to clean water, coupled with disease (World Bank says 21% of communicable diseases in India are due to lack of access to clean water) and limited access to basic medicines (In India, 1,600 people die every day —mostly children—due to diarrhea) and many children succumb to disease at an early age.
Q: And what exactly is sponsorship and how does it help a child in India? What is a typical day like for a child after they are sponsored?
A: Once a child is registered in Compassion’s program, he/she has a safe place to learn, play and grow. Compassion’s child development centers offer tutors and age-appropriate curriculum that teaches social skills, basic hygiene skills (how to care for your body), immunizations to protect from potentially dangerous illnesses. Every child hears about a God who loves them and cares for them. They are fed, clothed when necessary. Keep in mind, being part of Compassion’s program can start as early as the womb. Our Child Survival program is a prenatal care program that helps mothers-to-be care for their bodies and the babies growing inside them. Our Child Development through Sponsorship program provides all of the benefits listed above. And our Leadership Development program helps qualified students attend tertiary education (university, community college, technical/trade schools.) And we also come alongside families in times of crisis or disaster to help them get on their feet by providing basic necessities, as well as emergency medical care in some cases. Compassion’s program affords opportunities that children otherwise would not be able to have access to. Every child in Compassion’s program is known, loved and protected.
A: First and foremost, you can always pray. Pray for those who are trapped in poverty. Pray that they would have their basic needs met. You can also serve. Give of your time, talent or treasure to those in need. Have extra clothing? Give! Extra food? Share! Spend time serving at a homeless shelter. Serve meals to the hungry. Host a garage sale or a bake sale and donate the proceeds to a charity. One small donation or a regular recurring donation can mean the difference between eating and going hungry, getting sick or having the vaccination that protects you, struggling with dehydration or having access to healthy, clean water. And of course, you could always sponsor a child. For $38 a month, Compassion’s program provides all the benefits I’ve mentioned here…and even goes further in the event of disaster or crisis. Learn more about how Compassion’s program has a tremendous impact on a child’s life at compassion.com
I want to thank Tim Glenn, USA Communications Director for Compassion, for participating in this interview so we can better understand what life is like for many children in India. I also want to thank Jacquie Parella, Internet Marketing and Communications Manager at Compassion International, for coordinating this interview and allowing me to use the photos in this post courtesy of compassionbloggers.com.
Tim and Jacquie are good examples of people who use their gifts and talents to serve the Lord and others. And now I want to throw these questions out there to all my explorers…
Do you have a special talent or skill? Or is there something you just plain old enjoy doing? How can use use that to serve the Lord and others? Leave me a comment and let me know…
This post was linked up at the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop