compassion M AGA ZI NE
Year in review PLUS Protecting the innocent | 14 Our Cielo | 18 A gift of love | 20
A gift of love
2009: Year in review From the plains of Ghana to the jungles of India, Compassion has reached into the furthest corners of the globe to bring children hope and help in 2009. In a year that will be remembered for some of the most devastating disasters in decades, ranging from typhoons to the twin tsunamis of the global food and financial crises, Compassion has been privileged to be on the front line of both the laughter and the tears. This is our year in pictures.
Protecting the innocent Every year, 1.8 million girls and boys worldwide are subjected to pornographic filming or prostitution. In Thailand alone, 55 per cent of prostitutes enter the profession before they are 18. Elissa Webster reports on how Compassion centres are fighting for our children.
Our Cielo Poverty gets personal for Sydney sponsor Andrew Carswell when he travels to La Paz, Bolivia, to meet his sponsored child Cielo Huanca and her family.
Extras 13 17 22 23 24 26
The financial year in review Yoseline’s story A moment in time In my words Change a life today Sponsorship form
27 28 29 30 31 32
From DJ’s desk News and resources Something new to share Notes of a special kind Thank you from Compassion Gifts of Compassion
compassion MAGA Z IN E
Compassion Magazine is a quarterly publication of
tHE COMPaSSiON diFFErENCE
COvEr iMaGE: Compassion assisted child Bella outside
Compassion Australia. All articles and images are © of
Compassion’s ministry to children is uniquely:
her home in Jakarta, Indonesia, in September.
Compassion Australia unless otherwise stated and may be reproduced with permission from the editor. Compassion Magazine is printed on paper sourced from sustainable forests.
Christ-centred | Child-focused | Church-based
Photo: BEN ADAMS.
Compassion is an international Christian holistic child
CONtaCt uS at: Compassion Australia PO Box 1,
development ministry, committed to child advocacy
Hunter Region MC NSW 2310
and working in partnership with local churches to foster
Tel: 1800 22 44 53 Fax: 02 4935 5099
EditOrial: Mel Carswell, Choe Brereton, Elissa Webster,
the spiritual, economic, social, physical and emotional
Hannah Collingridge. CrEativE: Edward Grosse.
development of children living in extreme poverty in over
Editorial permission, story ideas or feedback:
25 developing countries.
Chief Executive Officer: Paul O’Rourke
ABN 67 001 692 566
CEO MESSaGE Financial year in review: rising to the challenge
As we have started a new financial year and with our annual external audit now complete, Compassion Australia CEO Paul O’Rourke walks us through the key events and performances of the 2008/09 financial year.
ur God is indeed great and worthy to be praised! We have held fast to God who has led us faithfully and gently through what can best be described as a tumultuous financial year filled with enormous joy, sadness and challenges. Time and again, we saw God intervene in unexpected ways to turn challenge into triumph. The global financial crisis, on the back of the global food crisis, also had a profound effect on the ministry this year. The crisis has had a devastating impact on the poor, those with no savings and whose governments do not provide cash rescue packages and grants for home buyers. Our sponsors, many of whom were feeling the effects of the recession, responded magnificently, giving $1.6 million for food packages, seeds, health care and other relief. Globally, Compassion sponsors gave almost US$15 million. However, we saw long-time sponsors having to cancel their sponsorships or at least suspend contributions for up to 12 months in response to the economic crisis—something we have not previously experienced. Amazingly, our revenue for the year still increased by 21.7 per cent to $54.6 million. This growth was a result of Australian supporters’ generous response to our Global Food Crisis Appeal, and contributions to our annual Christmas Appeal which last year included a gift catalogue and increased giving to Complementary Interventions such as water and sanitation projects, disaster relief, HIV and AIDS interventions, emergency medical care for sponsored children, playground equipment, computers and kitchens. Internationally, Compassion’s revenue was US$20 million under budget. In Australia, sponsorship growth was below expectations and we failed to hit our ambitious targets. However, we ended the year with 85,636 sponsored children and remain 18 months ahead of our 10-year plan to have 100,000 sponsored children by June 2012. Globally, the ministry paused in June to celebrate and give thanks
to God for one million concurrent sponsorships when South Korean weightlifter Jang Mi-Ran sponsored Fellow Blewussi Kpodo from Togo. Our magnificent staff continue to rise to the unending challenge of change in the fulfilment of our God-given mandate. The organisational restructure of the past year or so has been difficult as we increase our capacity to better serve our supporters, market our core programs in developing countries and promote our new indigenous projects and wider advocacy initiatives. Our staff have remained committed to keep moving forward, to learn, to grow and at times to be stretched beyond comfort. In line with the broadening of the ministry’s mandate on behalf of children, we have increased our staffing by almost 50 per cent in the past two years to 129.7 fulltime equivalent staff, a financial and cultural challenge in a tough financial climate and time of organisational transition. Some of our key performance indicators have slipped as a result of the combination of slowing growth and increased staffing. Our operating loss of $771,409 was $200,000 more than we had budgeted, although our overall cash position remains strong. We will return to a surplus budget in the 2009/10 financial year and have secured our long term future by purchasing two properties opposite our existing Newcastle premises for future growth. We celebrated the opening of our first indigenous project this year when about a dozen caregivers brought their babies and infants to a North Queensland church for the start of our early childhood intervention. Our wider advocacy efforts on behalf of children also gathered momentum, from sponsors in Hobart organising a fundraising ball which raised more than $260,000 to be used for Child Survival Program projects in Africa and subsidising sponsors affected by the economic downturn, to supporting the Global Poverty Project, an Australian initiative to draw attention to world poverty through
Continued page 13
YEAR IN REVIEW
Year in review From the plains of Ghana to the jungles of India, Compassion has reached into the furthest corners of the globe to bring children hope and help in 2009. In a year that will be remembered for some of the most devastating disasters in decades, ranging from typhoons to the twin tsunamis of the global food and financial crises, Compassion has been privileged to be on the front line of both the laughter and the tears. This is our year in pictures.
Armanto enjoys his moment in the spotlight. In July, as we celebrated the end of the financial year, Australians had given 14,840 extra children the gift of sponsorship, taking our total child sponsorships to 85,636. Thanks everyone! Photo: BEN AdAMS.
YEAR IN REVIEW
A dream comes true, El Salvador
Seng changes his stripes, Thailand
In his small Hmong community in August, Compassion assisted teenager Seng announced his plans for the future. This young man, in charge of his siblings and grandmother since the age of 12, announced that he planned to become the first Christian pastor of his village instead of fulfilling his preordained role as Shaman. As the village’s witch doctor, Seng would be expected to communicate with spirits and ancestors on their behalf. “Nothing can compare to being in a relationship with God,” he said. “I feel a strong burden to help people in this village. They still believe in animism and worshipping spirits. They struggle with many problems that only Christ can save and release them from.” Seng was registered with Compassion in 2002, where he was introduced to Jesus Christ. Photo: ArAdA PolAwAT.
Margarita Guadalupe reyes duran is accepted into Compassion’s leadership development Program, in a country where 20 per cent of adults are illiterate and most children don’t make it past sixth grade. She was one of 45 Child Sponsorship Program graduates vying for 20 scholarships (pictured during the entrance test at the Evangelical University of El Salvador) and in 2010 will walk onto campus proud and determined. 2010 marks the first time the program has been offered in El Salvador. Photo: NESTor rEyNozA. SUMMER 2009
YEAR IN REVIEW
Disaster strikes in the Philippines
Typhoon Ketsana arrived on 26 September, submerging 80 per cent of Manila in water, displacing thousands and killing hundreds. Then came Typhoon Parma in the north. More than 40 Compassion child development centres were impacted; approximately 2000 Compassion assisted children lost their homes or incurred significant damage, three precious Compassion assisted children were killed and three more lost immediate family members. Miguel Flores (pictured) spent 24 hours separated from his parents in the storm until they found one another at their local church. Across the world in Burkina Faso, rain fell for 10 consecutive hours in Ouagadougou on 1 September, causing the countryâ€™s worst flooding since 1919. More than 1500 Compassion assisted children were impacted. Right now we are rebuilding 1100 homes and other relief initiatives at a cost of $1.6 million.
Photo: Edwin ESTiOKO.
YEAR IN REVIEW
A million reasons to smile, Togo
Fellow Kpodo made history when he became the one millionth child to be sponsored by Compassion in June. it was the first time in Compassion’s 57-year history that one million children were consecutively sponsored. Fellow’s sponsor, Olympic weight-lifter Korea’s Jang Mi-Ran, has given hope to Fellow and his father Edoh, whose wife died five years ago. Photo: ChUCK BiggER.
Child mortality drops
new figures released by UniCEF in September, revealed that the number of children dying before their fifth birthday across the globe had dropped by 10,000 a day, or by 28 per cent since 1990. The report stated that in 2008, the number of under-five deaths dropped below nine million for the year, the lowest since records were first kept in 1960. Three months earlier, Compassion Australian supporters gave more than $940,000 to support the Partners of Compassion Appeal, which focussed on helping these most vulnerable children survive and thrive. Because of this generosity, we are all part of this worldwide trend. Photo: COnSOdynE BUzABO.
Charan teaches his mother to write, Bangladesh
in April, eight-year-old Charan taught his mother how to write her name. “it was my first experience to grab a pen and write something,” said a delighted Sumri. Like millions of women in Bangladesh, Sumri didn’t go to school so at the age of 30, she became a pupil for the first time and her teacher was her own son. Charan’s father passed away in 2005. They live in a small hut and Charan didn’t attend school until after he was registered with Compassion three years ago. Today, he is top of his class and plans to become a photographer. “Compassion is taking care of my son in such a way that it seems that Charan is their own son,” Sumri said.
Next step for Australian indigenous program
As the next step in Compassion’s plans to work with indigenous communities in Australia, an early childhood development project opened its doors for the first time in a northern Queensland community this July. The project, which is still in its infancy and surrounded by strict funding criteria, is impacting the majority of children from naught to six in the local community, as well as their caregivers. in a unique model that is fast reaping rewards, Compassion has taken the role of a silent facilitator in this community-driven early childhood development program.
Photo: dAvid AdhiKARy. SUMMER 2009
YEAR IN REVIEW
Jennifer graduates, Haiti
Jennifer Michelda, six, sits on the blackboard of her classroom. In September she graduated from her third year of kindergarten as valedictorian and was enrolled in first grade studies. Her mother left when she was a baby and just last year, their home was destroyed in Hurrican Gustav. But her father Metchael, a furniture maker who is making plans to become a lawyer, said Compassion has helped him “get through” and has transformed his daughter from a shy, reserved child into a talkative, advanced girl who wants to become a doctor. “Many hands put together can carry better the load,” he said. Photo: CHuCk BIGGer.
YEAR IN REVIEW
A new home, Haiti
In July, Julienne Sèance and her three sons opened the front door to their new home. Months earlier, they were unclear about the future after their home was destroyed by one of four hurricanes which swept through their country, killing hundreds and displacing thousands. More than half of Compassion’s child development centres in the country were affected. With thanks to generous donors through our Haiti Hurricane Disaster Appeal in late 2008 and global sponsors, 110 families received new homes and 76 others received extensive repairs. Photo: rICot SAInt PAulIn.
Art fights poverty
Compassion’s inaugural art exhibition Face of Compassion opened to the public in Sydney on 25 September, displaying paintings of those most affected by poverty and least able to do anything about it—children. It also included 12 pieces from budding artist and Compassion assisted child Dhea Savitri of Indonesia. Queenslander Jonathon Scoones (pictured) was crowned exhibition winner with his acrylic and oil painting Fields of Dreams: one person’s slum; another’s field of dreams. Judges included Compassion Ceo Paul o’rourke and renowned artists David Hart and Phil Pringle who said they could not imagine art being used in a better way that impacting children in poverty. Photo: Mel CArSWell
Nelly learns to type, Mexico
Photographed doing her 117th typing exercise, Compassion assisted child nelly is well on the way to progressing from the typewriter to one of the centre’s computers, where she will learn skills in Microsoft Powerpoint, excel and Word. nelly attends a vocational class at the torch’s of Christ Student Centre from 4pm to 7pm each day, situated in Cintalapa, a small rural town where life usually revolves around the harvest of corn, beans and peanuts. Computer skills here are a rarity but nelly knows they will help her get a better job like her teacher, former Compassion assisted student Miguel, who now works in an internet cafe.
Photo: CeSIAH MAGAñA.
A heart breaks, Bangladesh
Australian songbird Debra Byrne travelled to India and Bangladesh in February with fellow Compassion friends like racing car driver Andrew Fisher and singer/songwriter Matt lucas, to sing and dance for more than 1700 children. After walking through the streets of kolkata and amongst the poverty-stricken villages of Bangladesh, Debra said she returned to Australia with an undeniable desire to see the Australian church help a people “robbed [by] the greatest con of all—poverty”. “I knew I would see pain, suffering and poverty, and I saw that, but I didn’t come home depressed or discouraged in any way; I came home full of compassion,” she said. Photo: Mel CArSWell.
13 SUMMER 2009
YEAR IN REVIEW
We say goodbye, Philippines
In May, Compassion staff and children attended the funeral of assisted child, Roselyn; remembered as a 12-year-old who always smiled. Even after her father left their family unit and they moved into a roofless bunker with no door, she never lost her joy. In 2004, two years after she was registered with Compassion, Roselyn was diagnosed with rheumatic heart disease, often a result of prolonged malnutrition and extreme poverty. “I hope that I can live longer so I can finish my studies and help my mother someday,” said Roselyn. Compassion provided Roselyn’s treatment, but despite the centre staff’s best efforts, Roselyn eventually succumbed to her illness on 7 May. Her dream was to one day become a doctor. We won’t forget her. Photo: EDWIN ESTIOKO.
On 6 April, the world paused alongside Rwanda for the 15th anniversary of the country’s genocide, where 800,000 people were murdered in 100 days. In this country that is rebuilding itself, Compassion is hard at work, assisting more than 45,000 children, including twin brothers and orphans Uwiragiye and Nzabahimana (pictured collecting firewood for their stove). Just months earlier, Compassion unveiled its Leadership Development Program in the country, giving 35 Rwandan students the opportunity to go to university and receive Christian leadership training. At the launch, Compassion’s country director Rev Samuel Rugambage said these students would become Christian leaders who would help “heal the wounded souls of Rwanda”. Photo: CHUCK BIGGER. www.compassion.com.au
YEAR IN REVIEW
they said it “The redemptive potential of the local church really is the only hope for our broken world.” Bill hyBels, Senior PaStor, WilloW Creek Community ChurCh, oCtober “Hunger and starvation is the worst enemy of development in any state. It deprives people of their human dignity and in worst cases, leads to extreme malnutrition or even death. Availability of food is a critical determinant of people’s participation in development activities.”
A movement is launched
This July, Compassion joined The Global Poverty Project (GPP) as it launched across the country, inaugurated by former Young Australian of the Year, Hugh Evans (pictured). Based around a 90-minute presentation of leading research, of which Compassion Australian Executive Director of Child Advocacy DJ Konz was a presenter, the message about eradicating world poverty was simple: it is possible. With 1.4 billion people living on less than US$1.25 a day, the GPP says we have 1.4 billion reasons to make sure we’re doing something about it. Photo: GPP.
COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL’S steve Njoroge, SPEAKING ABOUT THE GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS, JUNE “If you want to bring about change in the world, you can’t just be an advocate of somebody else doing it. You can’t just preach lofty goals and wait for somebody else to act. You have to step up. You have to serve.“ Us PresideNt Barack oBama, ADDRESSING THE CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIvE, SEPTEMBER “I believe every generation has the opportunity to leave a great mark on this planet, whether it’s to see the end of apartheid, the end of the slave trade, or in our case the end of extreme poverty—every generation has the opportunity to do something great.” hUgh evaNs, LAUNCHING THE GLOBAL POvERTY PROJECT IN SYDNEY, JULY “If there’s one thing that I have learned over these decades of prayer, action, and intense labour, it’s to never give up hope. When hope is put to work, crisis becomes opportunity.” jim Wallis, SOJOURNERS FOUNDER AND AUTHOR OF THE GREAT AWAKENING, SPEAKING ABOUT THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS, MAY
Tassie digs deep
Four cars, one house, two kitchens, and enough carpet for an entire house—just some of the items auctioned as part of A Night of Compassion in Hobart on 27 June. Organised by Compassion sponsors Kent and Rose Medwin and friends, the event raised $300,000 to help fund Compassion programs in Ethiopia and to support other sponsors struggling because of the economic crisis. It attracted 400 guests and was followed by a ball in Adelaide in October with plans for one in Perth. “We took our first trip to Ethiopia to visit our sponsored children in 2007 and had our eyes opened to what it really means to live in poverty and to experience ‘lack’,” Kent said. “This gala ball was part of our response to what we saw.” Photo: AIDAN WARD.
“It is so refreshing seeing shining faces at the project with an enduring sense of hopefulness. Although they come from very poor families, many of which are grappling with alcoholism, separation, single parenthood, domestic violence, hunger and other ills bedevilling the society, at the centre they know they are special.” rev mBega samsoN mWaNzaNje, PASTOR OF COMPASSION PARTNER CHURCH, DELIvERANCE CHURCH KALOLENI, KENYA, APRIL “A wealthy country like Australia should be able to do better than make the international aid target of 0.7 per cent of gross national income only aspirational. We should make it a reality.” WEST AUSTRALIAN mP jUdi moylaN, ADDRESSING PARLIAMENT, SEPTEMBER
YEAR IN REVIEW
Reaching the little ones, Indonesia
Pictured in August, Erlinawaty Siregar and six-month-old Ruth Elsa are new beneficiaries of Compassion’s Child Survival Program. The program, which provides pregnant women, atrisk babies and infants and their mothers and caregivers with medical assistance, pre-and postnatal care and nutritious food was launched in Indonesia, Bolivia, El Salvador and Tanzania this year. From Indonesia, Mince wea, a shy 19-yearold mother, who has been waiting months for her son’s absent father to return so that she can name him, said she was grateful for the milk, rice and soap she receives every month. “I wish that the Child Survival Program will exist forever,” she says. “It will help many mothers and babies.
New response phase for global food crisis
In March, Compassion began phase two of its relief efforts with a targeted approach to children at risk of malnutrition because of the crisis. In Siguatepeque, honduras, the child development centre established an egg farm, producing up to 280 eggs daily. In Kenya, Chai Kenga was one of many Compassion assisted children given two goats for their family. And in hundreds of child development centres across the Compassion countries, including the one in east Nusa Tengarra, Indonesia, caregivers attended cooking classes to learn about nutrition and help prevent the onset of malnutrition in their children. Photo: yURI FORTIN.
Partnerships of a special kind, Rwanda
Kent lithgow, church partnership coordinator at Chinchilla Assemblies of God in Queensland, is no stranger to the odd raindance and happily joined local performers during a recent visit to Rwanda. he visited the tiny African nation in January with 11 others from both his church and Chinchilla Church of Christ, who have united for a Compassion Church Partnership with two churches in the Ruhengeri region. Together they sponsor more than 100 children. Currently they are raising money to fund microfinance services for parents of assisted children.
Photo: BEN ADAMS.
COMPASSION AUSTRALIA COMMITMENTS
TOTal ExpEndiTurE PROGRAM
COMMUNITy EDUCATION TOTal ExpEndiTurE
Sponsorship Plus Sponsorship
Child Survival Program*
Partners of Compassion**
Leadership Development Program***
Total Income ($million)
Cost per Average Child Sponsorship ($)*
Acquisition Cost per New Child Sponsorship ($)
* number of periodical commitments to the Child Survival Program ** number of supporters contributing to this fund *** number of Leadership Development Program students sponsored
COMPASSION AUSTRALIA AT A GLANCE
% % 2%1 1
New Child Sponsorships
6% 7% 76%
Total Australian Child Sponsorships Total Worldwide Child Sponsorships
TOTal inCOmE ChIlD SPONSORShIP
PARTNERS OF COMPASSION
ChIlD SURvIvAl PROGRAM
lEADERShIP DEvElOPMENT PROGRAM
Return on Fundraising Investment ($) Net Child Sponsorship Growth (%)
*Cost per average sponsorship is the average number of children sponsored divided into the total cost for administration, fundraising and community education.
frOm pagE 3 An Inconvenient Truth-style documentary and stage presentation. Our advocacy staff mobilised sponsors, as part of our membership of Micah Challenge, to write to the Prime Minister, urging him to honour Australia’s commitment to the Millennium Development Goals by contributing 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income. They also met with Cadbury-Schweppes, urging them to commit to moving all their product lines to fair trade. This followed an announcement by Cadbury UK to introduce a Fairtrade CertifiedTM line. As always, I am proud and privileged to lead Compassion Australia. I am thankful to the Board of Directors for their commitment to me and our family, as well as the staff and supporters they represent. I am thankful for the enormous faith and confidence they show in me and our team and their faithful and prayerful commitment to the role of governance.
Special thanks to Terry McBride, a former staff member who has been on the Board since 1994 and was Chairman for six years until October when he stepped down to allow John Bond to take on the Chairman’s role after serving as a Director since 2002. Both men serve on the CEO Support Committee and have shown great love and wisdom towards us. As always, all praise, honour and glory to God, for whom this ministry is our labour of love.
Paul O’Rourke Chief Executive Officer SUMMER 2009
PROTECTING THE INNOCENT
Every year, 1.8 million girls and boys worldwide are subjected to pornographic filming or prostitution. In Thailand alone, 55 per cent of prostitutes enter the profession before they are 18. Elissa Webster reports on how Compassion centres are fighting for our children. PHOTO: CHUCK BIGGER. www.compassion.com.au
PROTECTING THE INNOCENT
he nights are warm, the waves spill onto the beach and the music fills the air. Drinks and experiences are cheap at Iracema beach, Brazil, and the travel package included special “meetings” with lithe, young locals. She looks out of place in the crowded, smoky nightclub; a child in an adult world. Her skinny shoulders are bared and her senses are numbed by alcohol and cocaine as she puts her hand on the big, stranger’s knee, offering her services for a few dollars. No one knows her story; she can barely remember it herself. It’s been a long time since she dreamed—the nightmare of addiction and her daily reality is all she has left. On the other side of the world, a woman trawls the streets of Nongki village, Thailand, on her motorbike. She sees a young girl sitting alone out the front of a small house, surrounded by barren farmland, and makes her approach. “Do you want a new cell phone?” she asks the girl, after a few moments of conversation. “Would you like to live in a bigger and nicer house? If you want it, I can give it to you. All you have to do is come work with me—I’m looking for staff. You will earn lots of money, enough to buy pretty clothes and a nice car, even help out your parents. It is a very easy job.”
Prostitution may be the world’s oldest profession, but those plying it are often the very young. Every year, 1.8 million girls and boys worldwide are subjected to pornographic filming or prostitution1 , defined as the use of a child for sexual activities in return for money or any other form of consideration, which may include basic needs such as food, shelter or safety.2 Yet, according to ECPAT International, a global network of organisations working together to eliminate child prostitution, child pornography and trafficking for sexual purposes, the child may not even receive the money or other goods; payment is often taken by the adult negotiating the transaction, who in many cases is the child’s parent. ECPAT says the driving forces behind child prostitution are complex, varying from region to region and ranging from gender inequality, lack of education, discrimination against ethnic minorities, armed conflict and domestic abuse to materialism and demand for children for sex.3 But a common denominator around the world is poverty. The increasing industrialisation of many developing countries might push up health standards and national incomes, but segments of the population get left behind, particularly those in rural areas and from ethnic and religious minorities.4 Living expenses rise and opportunities increase, but for those without an education or capital, incomes often don’t, leaving many parents with little choice but to use their children to bolster the family’s resources by any means possible, including prostitution. Those living below the poverty line are highly vulnerable to economic fluctuations and child prostitution has spiked in countries worst affected by the global food crisis, including Haiti and Uganda.5 The transition of a nation from an agricultural to an industrial economy is also linked to increased urbanisation, globalisation and changes in the family structure, providing more contributing factors to child prostitution.6 The demand driven by international tourists and businessmen is well documented, as is the connection between prostitution and men living away from their families to work.7 As child prostitutes are usually cheaper, increased demand for paid sex translates to increased child exploitation.7 In Thailand, over three-quarters of men have visited a prostitute by the
age of 19 7 and an estimated 55 per cent of prostitutes begin working before the age of 18.8 The growth in demand for both child and adult prostitutes has contributed to the growth of human trafficking from Africa, Asia, South America and Eastern Europe. An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked each year—and according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Australia is providing part of the demand, labelled a “high destination” country in 2006 for people trafficked from South East Asia.9 Compassion is working in many of the hotspots of commercial sexual exploitation of children, including Thailand, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Brazil and Peru, as well as countries where child prostitution is on the rise, such as Togo and Uganda. Staff are tackling the causes of the issue through child and parent education and stronger child protection measures at child development centres in these regions, as well as helping victims of sexual exploitation to recover physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. Two of Compassion’s fiercest battlefronts are Fortaleza, Brazil, and Nongki, Thailand. “It is the centre’s duty to ‘vaccinate’ our children and warn them about the seduction and danger of prostitution. We cannot stay calm while these issues are corrupting our community and our children. We have to take action,” says Ratchaya Phosut-Tanapat, the director of Compassion’s Thai Children Development Centre in Nongki, one of 220 centres across the country who undertook training in child rights and protection this year and established local Child Abuse Protection Networks in response to this growing threat.
We cannot stay calm while these issues are corrupting our community and our children. Because of the great risk in their community, the centre has extremely focused prevention efforts, from home visits with parents to an education program for girls about sexuality and personal protection. Staff read the news to the children and discuss it with them each Saturday before they begin the activities, helping them develop a wider view of events in Thailand and what steps they need to take to make good choices for their lives. Education that teaches the children that their worth doesn’t come from money also helps combat low selfesteem. Supattra Somrit, Chonticha Ha-soong and Jenjira Poompuang, are some of the fruit of the Thai Children Development Centre’s efforts. Supattra was the girl approached at her home by the brothel recruiter. She wasn’t taken in by the offers of phones, clothes, cars and money, and simply said no. Chonticha has also set her sights on longer-term goals rather than the pursuit of pretty things. “A lot of my friends want to have pretty clothes or nice shoes from the latest fashions they see in magazines. Some friends work at restaurants at night in order to earn more money, which causes them to drop out of school. I feel really sorry for them. I have learned from the centre that when young girls end up working in a restaurant and neglecting their education, it often leads them into a life of prostitution. I wanted them to come back to study. I asked a friend of mine who quit her school if she was happy and she said no. She has many things she wants, but they mean nothing to her now. SUMMER 2009
ON THE FRONTLINE
“My village is in a danger zone for prostitution,” adds Jenjira. “I see too many young girls being lured into prostitution because they desire more money, but they go into it without knowing the consequences. Attending the centre has been very helpful for me because the centre teaches me about prostitution and now I know how to protect myself from this situation. If someone were ever to try and persuade me to become
example for their children, who grow up believing that prostitution is the fastest way to earn money. But today, after so many years of working in the community, these mothers want a different future for their babies. And they count on us in order to achieve it.” Extra rEporting Bianka Costa (Brazil) and arada polawat (thailand)
Some of them, with the consent of their families, offer their bodies in exchange for some rice.
the SCarY faCtS thailand: Approximately 55 per cent of prostitutes begin working before the age of 18 VietnaM: Up to 20 per cent of prostitutes are children under 18
a prostitute, I would tell my family or the centre staff at the church because they always have good advice and would help me out.”
philippineS: Approximately 60,000 children work as prostitutes india: every year, about 10,000 Nepali girls, most between nine and 16, are sold to brothels in India
Half a world away, Fortaleza is Brazil’s fifth largest city and its beaches make it one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. But 36 per cent of Fotaleza’s two million-strong population live in slums and the city has the third-highest rate of commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in Brazil.10
Southern afriCa: Child prostitution is on the rise in Mozambique, Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe, with the increase linked to poverty, family break-up and the rising numbers of HIV and AIDS orphans
“Families of up to 10 people live together in homes less than 20 square metres and there is often domestic violence or sexual abuse against the children,” says Joyce Andrade, director of Projeto Vilamar, a Compassion child development centre in Fortaleza. “Frustrated and without any encouragement, all they want is to be far from home. So they quit studying and become an easy target for the drug dealers. Then, in order to maintain their addiction, they simply go to the streets.”
brazil: Is home to the second-largest number of underage prostitutes in the world—about 500,000—after Thailand WorldWide: More than one person is trafficked across borders every minute, which is equivalent to the passengers of five jumbo jets every day. Approximately 80 per cent of transnational trafficking victims are women and girls and up to 50 per cent are minors
Josilene Gomes, director of the nearby Espaço Viva Vida Student Centre, agrees. “The families are emotionally unstructured. Many children eat only while they are here [at the centre]. Some of them, with the consent of their families, offer their bodies in exchange for some rice.”
Sources: Coalition Against Trafficking in women, International Labour organization, UNICef, African Security Review, Stop The Traffik
Forteleza’s Compassion centres are on the frontline when it comes to the fight against child prostitution. As well as providing a safe haven for the community’s children, staff have been trained to address the issues children affected by prostitution face and work closely with teachers, psychologists and authorities to protect and rehabilitate the victims. They visit child homes weekly in search of signs of exploitation and consistently teach families about the harm it causes. Most importantly, reinforcing the children’s sense of self-worth, showing them love, teaching them vocational skills and supporting their studies encourages the children to dream of a different future far from the streets, where knowledge and hard work are the essential tools. It’s a future many of the children’s mothers never had the chance to imagine for themselves. Jane is determined her son, who is now assisted by Compassion, will escape her world. She is just 22 but has been working in the nightclubs of Iracema Beach for almost eight years. Illiterate, Jane left school when she became pregnant by her first boyfriend—she was 12 years old and the boy, an addict to crack, was 16. She gave birth to her baby boy and after four years of fighting against her boyfriend’s addiction, left him to raise the child on her own at the age of 16. To put food on the table, she started dancing at a strip club and still works there today. But Carmem Valdete, director of the Centro Estudantil Bom Samaritano, which has worked with over 900 children assisted by Compassion, says mothers like Jane are helping to bring change. “Many mothers here are prostitutes and they are a strong www.compassion.com.au
ABOVE: JANe (RIGHT) wITH CARMeN VALDeTe, DIReCToR AT HeR SoN’S CoMpASSIoN CeNTRe. SHe wANTS A New BeGINNING foR HeRSeLf AND foR HeR SoN To LIVe A BeTTeR LIfe. PHOTO: BIANKA CoSTA. 1
UNICEF, United Nations, ECPAT, International Labour Organisation, Save The 6 7 8 9 Children, Wikipedia, NewInternationalist, University of Rhode Island, Stop The 10 Traffick, Observatorio Da Infancia, Brazil and Unicef Brazil. For exact report links, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
From a tin shed to the Supreme Court This is my story …
oseline Gomez shouldn’t be here. Born to a 17-year-old mother and a married man who already had a family of his own, she grew up in a tin shed with five other families, acutely aware that her step-father was not her own. Her mother sold tea and jam on their street corner for extra money, but it still wasn’t enough to buy her a pair of shoes. She should have been on the streets, struggling to etch out an existence for herself and her family, but instead, she places her thumb on the fingerprint scanner of the Dominican Republic’s Supreme Court of Justice and once granted access, walks into her office. At 36, Yoseline is a life transformed by sponsorship—a girl who shouldn’t have made it past primary school. “My mother would tell me: ‘Look, today you don’t have shoes, but there’s going to come a time when you will have more than enough shoes’.” And she was right. Yoseline was registered with Compassion at four, but when she finished high school, her sponsors, the Bianchi family, decided to continue their support and funded her law degree. “My mother was so grateful to Compassion and the church and she always said: ‘Don’t let these people down; neither those who are in the country nor those who are abroad’.” Yoseline can speak in detail of her days at the Compassion child development centre; from how she was given medicine for a bout of serious tonsillitis to how the staff paid her school fees with sponsorship dollars. As a shy teenager, she was called to the project director’s office to update her sponsorship photograph. Completely embarrassed by her tired, worn-out shoes, she grabbed a friend, lured them into the bathroom and persuaded them to make a quick swap, instructing them to stay hidden until she returned. Laughing, she said: “I can remember as if it was today, her shoes were red!” As Yoseline grew up, her mother told her a simple, but bitterly painful phrase: ¨Remember that you live with your step-father.¨ She soon learned the differences between children who had fathers to support
them and those who didn’t. Leaving for work before sunrise, her mother would say: “I do this because I live with this man, but he is not obliged to support you. I have to do something to get an income for your sake.” Her mother’s work ethic left a powerful impression on Yoseline who worked in medical clinics during her studies before taking on her current role of supervising the writing, processing and filing of criminal cases for her region—from drugs and homicide to family violence, rape and fraud. Stepping through the doors of her family home, it is a far cry from the tiny tin shed she once called home. “I always have Compassion with me in my heart,” said Yoseline. This Christmas as she shops for her husband and two children, Yoseline said she’ll stop and remember her sponsors, the Bianchi family, and the Christmas gifts she used to receive because of them. “There are things one gets used to. Sometimes on 31 December, I wonder what my sponsors could be doing at this hour and I pray that God will give them what they want the New Year to bring.” StorY and photoS bY adoneS Martinez
Spotlight: Dominican Republic oveRview: The second-largest country in the Caribbean with 10 million people hot Spot: With gorgeous beaches and spectacularly affordable prices, it’s fast becoming a destination of choice for travellers in search of a cheaper Caribbean holiday the baD newS: The country is characterised by poverty, high unemployment, corruption and prostitution the gooD newS: Compassion arrived in 1970 and today 39,744 children in 144 centres are being released from poverty, caregivers from 14 Child Survival Programs are being supported as they raise their little ones and 70 students are in university and will go back to their communities to change their world.
TRIP OF A LIFETIME
LIMBERT AT THE SHOPS
Poverty gets personal for Sydney’s Andrew Carswell when he travels to La Paz, Bolivia, to meet his sponsored child Cielo Huanca and her family.
t was the dark and arid air, filled with stifling concrete dust and a bevy of circling flies that pushed me over the edge.
I had to contain myself. I couldn’t let them see my tears, for fear of inadvertently inflicting more shame on this beautiful family. I thought I was shock proof, a hardened city journalist who had seen his fair share of the best and predominantly, the worst of what society has to offer. Poverty was also no stranger to me, having trudged knee deep in dark slime to visit children living in the urban slums of New Delhi, held newly-arrived orphans in India’s deep south, and stayed in the homes of desolately poor Vietnamese river villages. They were heart-crushing moments, but this was different. This was personal. We had just stepped into the 2m x 2m concrete shell that homes our adored sponsor child, Cielo, her three siblings and her hard-working mother. I vividly remember my first glimpse of Cielo as she approached for a tentative embrace; her cute oversized pink socks; her neat yellow shirt and denim shorts; her searching and sad eyes; her typically Bolivian sun-drenched cheeks. She was beautiful, albeit understandably reserved. Boasting only limited Spanish, it was initially hard to melt those nerves away. Her first words were “thank you”. I sat and watched her inconspicuously out of the corner of my eye, as she sang and danced through the centre’s morning program. Although relatively new to Compassion program in La Paz, she knew the actions and words to each song. She was absorbed. Scanning the open-air room, it was abundantly clear Cielo and her siblings were among the poorest in the program. That was confirmed www.compassion.com.au
when the kind-hearted program director informed us Cielo’s mother earned barely $2 a day selling soda in the markets in downtown La Paz. Her father had abandoned the family 12 months ago. It was difficult to stomach just how any man could up and leave four beautiful kids languishing in squalor, struggling to survive, never to return. I’m convinced the family’s survival and hope have been sustained by Compassion’s involvement in their lives. As we warmed to one another, it was clear to see that this family, every one of them, exhibited a continual sense of relief, of utter thankfulness. From that meagre $2-a-day income, Cielo’s mother paid half to rent their home on the hillside overlooking La Paz. I wondered what $7 a week bought in such a sprawling suburb, less than a kilometre from the more affluent centre of town. I was devastated by the answer. Tucked away in the rear of a communal court yard, Cielo’s home is a dark and airless cell, hemmed in at the front by rough and crumbling red brick and encased in white smoke-stained concrete walls. There are no windows and the only entrance is a charming little wooden door. Inside, there is only enough room for two beds and a few shelves containing all their worldly possessions. A dilapidated gas cooker sits on the floor. We all sit on the bed together, Limbert (Cielo’s brother) restless on my knee, Cielo by my side wearing my rip-off Arnette sunglasses despite the darkness. She looks glamorous and content. Cielo’s mother is beside me breastfeeding her youngest. It’s easy to see that her heart beats for nothing more than her children. They are her world, and worthy of any self sacrifice that makes their lives marginally better. We ask her what we can do for her family. Looking around this room,
TRIP OF A LIFETIME
LA PAZ, CIELO’S HO
A PRETTY COOL MOMENT one could think of a thousand things, countless material items to make their lives slightly easier. Food, electricity, clean bedding, sanitised toilets. Anything. Without hesitation, or any thoughts of material enhancement, she points to her youngest who has two blocked tear ducts. “If you can do one thing, please help us to be able to take him to the doctor.’’
Tucked away in the rear of a communal courtyard, Cielo’s home is a dark and airless cell. Later in the day we had an amazing opportunity to take Cielo and her family shopping. Cielo and her siblings were given free rein to buy anything they desired, starting with toys and dolls. Gender pursuits cross all cultural and economic barriers—the girls picked out life-sized dolls, while Limbert went straight for a police kit, complete with handcuffs. The focus quickly turned to food, where the girls meticulously selected the basic necessities, showing wisdom that belied their years—rice, powdered milk, oil, sugar. Then the lights turned on; the notion of “free rein” finally kicked in. They went for the luxury items they would never be able to afford: Coco Pops, canned fruit, a blow-up beach ball. Their joy melted our hearts. Despite being an avid hater of shopping trips, this moment is one I will cherish to the grave. Family goodbyes are always difficult, even more so when you may never see each other again. But from that last warm and appreciative hug, through final tears and a cute farewell wave, my spirit is resolute, my life changed, my focus has been realigned. It may be cliché, but it’s entirely true—we can make a difference.
An unforgettAble dAy lA PAz: A million people; the world’s highest capital city; perched in a canyon and under the constantly snowcapped Illimani; 64 per cent of residents live below the poverty line; a main tourist attraction is women’s wrestling SAlvAtion Army 8 de diciembre Student centre: Only a year old with 146 children, 36 of whom are sponsored by Australians. During the visit, kids were having medical check-ups, writing to their sponsors, doing their homework, sculpting animals out of plasticine and watching a drama about true happiness in life HigHligHt: Taking the family shopping to a local mega store. We grabbed a trolley and told them they could have whatever they wanted lowligHt: Watching Cielo and her brother go to the kitchen of our lunch spot, ask for three plastic bags and then meticulously scrape 80 per cent of their lunch into the bags to take home record: Squeezing 14 people into a five-seat taxi future: Andrew, his wife and his in-laws are planning to pay for eye surgery for Cielo’s youngest brother.
Despite the tyranny of distance, the barrier of language, and the gulf of cultural divergences, we can dramatically change the circumstances of a precious life. A fundamental, palpable, generational and eternal change. Now that’s worth investing in. SUMMER 2009
A GIFT OF LOVE
A gift of
Sharing the love and message of Christmas. A Compassion assisted child in the Dominican Republic during Christmas celebrations last year. Photo: ADoNES MARTINEz.
A GIFT OF LOVE
Few girls will pass up lip gloss and a handbag, but for Gabriela Belermont, this gift from her sponsor last Christmas represented so much more. Choe Brereton and Bianka Costa report.
abriela Belermont used to hate everything about the lead up to Christmas; the relentless sales pitch that hammered out of nearby markets and malls in irksome waves, the lights and plastic snowmen, the frenzied crowds. The entire racket seemed like a pitiless taunt—urging frantic and wealthy parents to buy more while ushering her family toward the drab reality of another dull, uneventful and frustrating Christmas. Most of the residents in Gabriela’s neighbourhood of Vila Real in Hortlandia, Brazil, believe there are few reasons to celebrate. High rates of unemployment, violence, broken families and drug and alcohol abuse have kept the community stagnant and unprogressive for years. Without asking for it, the corruption in Vila Real, driven by its almost permanent state of oppression, has left an indelible mark on Gabriela’s life. When she was only five-years-old, news of her mother’s death traumatised her entire family and shattered her already fragile childhood. Her mother’s boyfriend owed money to a drug dealer and ultimately paid the debt with his life and hers. Gabriela’s grandmother, Norma, has cared for them in the confines of their dilapidated home ever since. Her cleaning jobs don’t bring in much money, putting luxuries like celebrating Christmas at the very bottom of the pile. When Gabriela started attending Fruto Da Esperanca Child Development Centre in 2007, three years after losing her mother, she walked through the gates as a lonely, arrogant and insolent child with a depleted capacity to love. The tragedy of her loss still so raw; the invisible wound had severed her voice and steadily driven her emotions inward. But the centre staff and Gabriela’s Australian
sponsors started to repair the damage by helping her rediscover love’s ability to heal and restore. Now, a sweet and very shy girl, Gabriela still barely talks, but her ever-increasing kind and thoughtful conduct shows she has been physically, emotionally and spiritually nurtured. When asked about last year’s Christmas celebrations, her demeanour instantly brightened. Memories of the delicious meal of roast chicken, pasta, beans and rice come flooding back, as do the lingering moments of nervousness just before she is handed her beautifully wrapped gift of a white teddy bear, a handbag and lip gloss. For onlookers her beaming smile was a reassuring sight—a sign of change, of her genuine delight and steady recovery. Like the rest of her friends at the centre, Gabriela is reminded through prayer and song of the real reason for celebrating Christmas. “It was a special moment when they sang a song and we could share God’s love with their families,” said the centre’s social worker Mrs Marta. This Christmas, despite missing her mother deeply, Gabriela will eat, laugh and talk with her friends, while quietly knowing more than anyone what a new life in Christ means and how the persistent love of others can make the biggest difference. Please don’t forget your sponsored child this Christmas. By giving to our Christmas Appeal Sent With Love, you allow us to give a gift to every Compassion assisted child—more than a million—and for some, it will be the only gift they receive this festive season. Visit www.compassion.com.au or phone 1800 22 44 53 to contribute. We suggest $30 per child you sponsor. SUMMER 2009
A MOMENT IN TIME
Bangladesh: People sift through the charred remains of what used to be their homes after fire ripped through a Dhaka slum in April. Text and image: David Adhikary and Choe Brereton.
itting quietly next to his mother, dry and out of the sopping rubble, Sariful feels like one of the lucky ones. His back is bare and his fingertips are still charred, but he doesn’t really care. Safe among 20 other families from his child development centre, he can finally reflect on what happened. He remembers the heat, the smoke that obscured every inch of his slum, his mother’s cries as she inched closer to the brittle stubs that used to be their home. Glancing over the tangled debris, she looks at the temporary shelter he is trying to erect—they will need somewhere to sleep tonight. For now though, they have what they most need; a hot meal and a roof over their heads at the Compassion centre.
The need was great, the destruction immense. Johon and the staff at Senpara wasted no time in providing for as many families as they could, including those of 20 Compassion assisted children whose homes were damaged or destroyed in the fires. The centre cook worked overtime and the centre’s activities were rearranged so the basics could quickly be made available—hot food, water and bundles of old clothes. Families were also given bedsteads, bedcovers, pillows, mosquito nets and a little money to replenish some of what they had lost. For those like Sariful and his mother, who were now living on the streets by day and huddling together under makeshift shelters by night, Compassion Bangladesh rebuilt their homes.
Johon Singha, director of Senpara Child Developement Centre, was also at the slum that day, arriving on the scene a few hours after the shortcircuited power line sparked an inferno in the southern corner. The fire service wearily packed up after three solid hours of fighting flames, only to look around and find that they had saved lives but not much else. The area was now a blackened mess of fallen bricks and twisted corrugated iron, crowded with women that wailed with disbelief and despair.
Yes, Sariful definitely feels like one of the lucky ones. It would have taken his mother a lifetime to replace everything they had lost. Tucking his school books under his arm and smoothing down his new uniform he lingers at the door for a moment as if taking it all in.
“I never thought we would be able to live in a house again,” he says. “Compassion gave me a house and all I needed for school. I am so grateful to Compassion and our sponsors.”
IN MY WORDS
words Lillian Nakafeero has led a sad and at times, tortured life, but a home visit from her Compassion centre director years ago set her life on a new course, writes Choe Brereton and Consodyne Buzabo.
efore Compassion came into my life, my dad had an operation on his head and died. That is what my mum told me. He died in 1995. I was nine years old. At the time, we lived in Luwero district, in a village called Kibanvu, which was far from where Compassion was. We were five children and eventually we were separated and sent to live with different relatives. One day I went back home to visit my mum and I told her about how I was being abused and beaten. At my auntieâ€™s home I was treated like a servant. My mother started looking for help for me and so she went to Luwero Church and they directed her to the Compassion centre. In 1996, my sister and I were registered with Compassion. At home things were not easy as mum did not have a job. We would go without food and money for rent. In 2001, life began to change. Mum had began falling sick. She had found a new boyfriend and was pregnant. My aunties came and picked her up and took her to Kampala for treatment and left us. We would still go to school but we were always being chased away because mum had not topped up the rest of the school fees. The teachers used to call us poor and we felt ashamed. In the end we were fed up of their name calling. Since I was the oldest person at home, I started working in a restaurant. They
did not pay me but they would give me food to eat. The landlady liked us and left us to stay there without paying rent because we were well behaved and would help her with some chores. My sister and I moved to Kampala to join my mother and were registered into a secondary school. Compassion continued to pay our school fees, but at home, life became even worse and our relatives mistreated us. We used to live in terror of our uncle. One day near Christmas, he threw our belongings outside and we slept under the stars that night. A neighbour took us in for a week while my mother made samosas to get some money. She made enough for us to rent a room nearby. Once, when the Compassion director visited us, she was in shock. We had only one mattress in the room. There were seven of us living there by then. She bought us mattresses, blankets and bed sheets. She cried as she left and said we should have told them honestly what we were going through. She put my sister and I in a boarding school and Compassion paid for everything we needed. After my mother died, Compassion would feed us and also give us money when neccessary, until I joined the Leadership Development Program where I now study social work. It is a helping profession. I am doing it so I can help as I was helped. Compassion showed me love though I was hated by relatives. I had people to run to,
people who gave me hope, encouraged me and helped me to stand with my family. They made my real potential come out and changed how I was regarded by my family. My relatives used to despise me until they saw me enter university. When I speak to children at the centre, I tell them that if I did not have Compassion I would be nothing. If Compassion was not around me I would be married with children, not receiving an education, and I would be miserable. God used Compassion to deliver my family because I used to curse myself asking why I was born into this family, but now I am glad because God used Compassion to deliver me to where I am today.
HOPE FOR LUWERO Home to approximately 12,000 residents, the plains of Luwero lie 68 km north of Kampala, Ugandaâ€™s capital. Nine years after a horrific guerrilla war massacred thousands, Compassion arrived to find a community still very much in need of employment opportunities, affordable medical care and proper sanitation. Luwero Child Development Centre now thrives with 228 registered children. In a district where only 10 per cent of children complete their secondary education, Compassion is offering them a chance to be different. SUMMER 2009
CHANGE A LIFE TODAY
toma mohanto Bangladesh (F) 10 Bd2011014
mitali biswas Bangladesh (F) 9 Bd3070077
sUPoRna maJUmDER Bangladesh (F) 5 Bd3130048
aÏcha gUiRa zama Burkina Faso (F) 8 BF1140131
PatRicia salinas Boliviva (F) 8 BO3090477
maRia galVEz Boliviva (F) 4 BO3870006
nilDa Da silVa Brazil (F) 15 BR2140374
Let her thrive. imElDa baRRiEntos el salvador (F) 9 es7090291
haYmanot bERhanU ethiopia (F) 6 dR0020325
giFtY gaVoR Ghana (F) 10 Gh5110054
giFtY assibU Ghana (F) 7 dR9280197
In Australia, gardeners plant Oleander trees for their luscious flowers. But in rural India, and many other parts of the world, the sap of the Oleander tree is one of the many homemade remedies for curing a common household problem—the birth of a girl. Across the developing world, girls suffer for simply being … girls. They’re the burden of another mouth to feed, a dowry to pay or an inadequate heir.
VRilin gloRia monica east indonesia (F) 7 id1260254
bRigitha saJow east indonesia (F) 3 id1260261
EbbY tUmiwa east indonesia (F) 10 id2230023
gRacia tambUnan indonesia (F) 4 iO2920299
For girls, growing up in a poor family is a battle for survival. 150 million girls are physically or sexually abused every year. 130 million of the world’s women today have experienced female genital mutilation. One in seven girls in the developing world are married before 15, making them five times more likely to die in child birth. Only 43 per cent of girls in the developing world attend secondary school and worldwide, women’s wages are 20 per cent lower than men’s. Don’t overlook the girls: sponsor a precious child today and give her the chance at life—to live and to thrive.
Diana lUcia lUcas Mexico (F) 6 Me7700347
samantha RaYo Nicaragua (F) 10 Ni1050280
PatRicia silVa Nicaragua (F) 3 Ni1710264
JUlEYsi gaRcia Nicaragua (F) 4 Ni1710276
1800 22 44 53 www.compassion.com.au
child alliYah aRcilla Philippines (F) 6 Ph2140730
PRincEss annE PUgoY Philippines (F) 5 Ph2140731
JoYcE PalaYa Philippines (F) 9 Ph2240522
KRistEllYn oRbistonDo Philippines (F) 8 Ph2240526
maRY gRacE RoJas Philippines (F) 8 Ph2240527
mwizERwa claUDEttE Rwanda (F) 5 RW3480359
UmUlisa bElisE Rwanda (F) 7 RW5200412
CHANGE A LIFE TODAY
clEiRi ciRiaco dominican Republic (F) 7 dR1270059
maRilEYDY Rincon dominican Republic (F) 10 dR1270059
Johana sanchEz ecuador (F) 5 ec1050802
gRacE Ramos ecuador (F) 8 ec1260474
RinKY monDal east india(F) 9 ei1900272
nEha Das east india (F) 7 ei1900279
mERiana Digal east india (F) 3 ei4080225
aDa mERaRi RUiz Guatemala (F) 10 GU4040165
haRilYs salEs Guatemala (F) 7 GU8530639
DiEUDEna alEXis haiti (F) 4 hA2684189
JosKia chERY haiti (F) 4 hA3031227
EstER PanJaitan indonesia (F) 7 iO5650101
gRacE gitonga Kenya (F) 6 Ke3860183
nasERian lEina Kenya (F) 8 Ke5890247
naimUtiE saRbabi Kenya (F) 4 Ke5890249
ValERia PaRDo Peru (F) 3 Pe1100822
ana sancama Peru (F) 6 Pe1570731
KaREn gUERRERo Peru (F) 4 Pe2040807
anEli DElgaDo Peru (F)3 Pe2050996
PaEng saPhawanaKUl thailand (F) 9 th9790087
shiVan nKamUshaba Uganda (F) 8 UG2130419
annEt oJaKURU Uganda (F) 9 UG5410281
winnER aita Uganda (F) 3 UG5410285
d sheet mUKamUsoni JEannEttE Rwanda (F) 7 RW5200415
UwizEYimana chaRlottE Rwanda (F) 5 RW5200422
KUan thammaJai thailand (F) 5 th9400229
SPONSOR A CHILD TODAY
LET HER THRIVE
Give the greatest gift At any given time, Compassion has approximately 150,000 children waiting for the gift of sponsorship. A gift that gives all the important things like educational opportunities, healthcare and nutritional support, but best of all, it gives love, restores hope and introduces children to the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.
SPONSORSHIP PLUS $56 PER MONTH provides a child with all the benefits of Basic Sponsorship, as well as enabling Compassion to fund additional initiatives for Compassion assisted children and their families such as emergency medical care, income generating activities, vocational training, parent education and field church partner development.
Gift a child this gift today. Call Compassion australia today on 1800 22 44 53 or visit www.compassion.com.au to sponsor a child. Please have your credit card or bank account details ready.
COMPLETE THE ATTACHED COUPON AND POST TO: COMPASSION AUSTRALIA PO Box 1 Hunter Region MC NSW 2310
$44 PER MONTH provides a child with health care, nutritious food, educational assistance, life skills and Christian teaching.
YES I WANT TO SPONSOR! Sponsorship Plus at $56 a month or Basic Sponsorship at $44 a month NAME OF CHILD/CHILDREN PICTURED:
Year of birth
1. Child name
2. Child name
3. Child name
If selected child is no longer available please select another on my behalf
once only Diners
Name on card Expiry
Card holder’s signature
MY DETAILS Are you an existing sponsor?
Yes, my Supporter No. is
No. Please fill out your details below Mrs
OR Please debit my card Credit card number
OR I PREFER TO SPONSOR A: boy
I would like to add this to my existing payment option
Please accept my donation of $
Enclosed is my cheque/money order for $ Compassion Australia
made payable to
Contributions over $2 are fully tax deductible. See above for mailing details.
DJ’s desk DJ Konz: father of one child, advocate of many.
How is it that some of life’s biggest lessons come from the smallest people?
arlier this year, after I wrote about alternative gift catalogues and confronting my happy capitalist addiction to consumerism, a friend named Susy told me this story: Some time ago her two boys TJ and Josh came across TEAR Australia’s annual gift catalogue— where you can “purchase” goats, chickens, education supplies and the like with the proceeds going to projects that help the poor. Between them, they decided they were going to “buy” not just one or two items, nor even the most expensive item. They decided to buy one of everything. They did their sums: they needed $5500. As most dutiful parents would, Susy gently coaxed them to aim a little lower. “I tried to get them to dream a little less … big,” she told me. Not to be dissuaded, the boys set about the task, like preparing to win an Olympic Gold Medal. For three years, the boys relinquished all claim to Christmas and birthday presents. Instead, they wrote to relatives to ask either for a ”gift” from the catalogue, or money toward one of the more expensive items, like a community toilet. They door-knocked neighbours, lobbied locals and inspired others to imitate their example. Finally, they triumphed. They purchased one of everything. They were eight, and 10. TJ and Josh are my heroes. Heroes because they dreamed they could make a difference, took action and let nothing deter them. Heroes also because of their determined self-sacrifice: no presents! For three years! Just when I was getting all smug and self-congratulatory for deciding to ask for no presents for this (one) Christmas! TJ and Josh remind me just how much we can learn from our kids. Perhaps that’s why Jesus put a child in the midst of his squabbling disciples; while they were busy positioning themselves for power, posturing for greater control of the common purse, Jesus beckoned a small child: “Unless you become like this little child, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” Without a word, a little child challenged their theology, showed up their
selfishness, and exposed their ambition. Little child. Big boofheads. Giant lessons. Recently, I learned even more from kids. Several months back children were invited to write to the Prime Minister about Australia keeping its promise in 2000 to give our fair share of national income to the poor: “Children speaking up for children”, we called it. Nearly 1000 children responded to our challenge. Some of their letters were, simply, brilliant. Joshua, aged four wrote: “Dear Mister Prime Minister, God gave us a rainbow to remind us of His promise. Here is a rainbow for you ...” Rebekah, 10, pulled no punches: “Dear Mr Rudd, I pray that you will come to your senses.” Ouch!
All carried the eloquence of simplicity. Most were, therefore, profound. Some were characteristically Australian in their irreverence: “G’day Kev, if you could give more money for kids oversees who are hungry and sick, that’d be great. Thanks mate!” Others were passionate, heartfelt and articulate. Many were, of course, illustrated with creative crayoning, texta text, or finger-painted neo-impressionist micro-masterpieces. All carried the eloquence of simplicity. Most were, therefore, profound. But here’s the thing. Amid the hundreds of letters, there was not a hint of selfish motive. Most saw a simple equation: we have plenty. They don’t have enough. Therefore we should give up more so they can have what they need. Granted, they may not be schooled in the Keynesian fundamentals of economic rationalism, but their arguments made me wonder if we tend to over complicate things. ”I am lucky because I have internet, phone, water and electricity … these [children] can’t even eat proppelly [sic].” “We don’t need as much here.” “We can do without some stuff because other kids are going hungry, missing out on school”. “It’s not fair.” “We can fix it.” Doesn’t this get to the crux of the issue of solving global poverty? Addressing our own selfishness— not just as individuals, but also as nations, in
decisions about how much we share of our personal and national wealth with our neighbours, and even how we structure international trade rules to disadvantage and sometimes impoverish others so we can experience the trade advantages? Within the complexity of these issues, at root, don’t they come down to the same simple questions: will we act on the basis of self-interest and selfishness or dream a different world is possible—and act accordingly? Will we, like the disciples, position ourselves for power and control of the purse-strings or will we understand—deeply, in our heart of hearts—that God’s kingdom doesn’t function on those principles and nor can a just world. My wife and I are seeking to raise our daughter Bethany to be a good global citizen (and, at two, she’s doing just fine so far). We have committed to taking her with us on at least some of our trips into the poorest communities of the world, so she realises that her “normal” is actually, on a global scale, very abnormal, and so she also makes friends across social and ethnic boundaries. We sponsor children for the same reasons and try to model simple living and generosity. As she grows we will teach her what the Scriptures say about justice, the poor, and Jesus’ identification with the broken and marginalised. But I suspect that if Bethany is anything like TJ, Josh and our army of letter writers, she may actually teach me far more than I teach her. Perhaps, just perhaps, it will be her generation— and that of TJ, Josh, Joshua and Rebekah—who transcend their self-centredness and bring an end to extreme poverty. Perhaps she and her generation will teach me and mine that with authentic discipleship, it actually is possible to abandon the pseudo-security that keeps us clinging desperately to our false gods and worshipping at the altar of wealth—to give up trying to retain power and control of the purse and to seek first the kingdom of God. Perhaps she will turn to us and say: “see, it was possible!” If so, she too, will be my hero. # DJ Konz is Compassion Australia’s Executive Director of Child Advocacy. SUMMER 2009
NEWS & RESOURCES
Christmas operating hours
Church Leaders’ Trips
Please note that Compassion offices will be closed during the festive season, from 5pm Thursday, 24 December until 9am Monday, 4 January, AEST. If you wish to contact Compassion during this time, email compassion@ compassion.com.au or phone 1800 22 44 53 and leave a message. Your query will be responded to as soon as our offices re-open. We apologise for any inconvenience and wish you a safe and blessed Christmas and New Year.
Hearing brings understanding, experience brings change, now you have heard, you’re invited to come and see. In February, a group of Australian church pastors and leaders will head to Thailand with Compassion to experience Compassion’s programs firsthand. While this trip is fully booked, if you are interested in attending a future trip or if you’d like information on Compassion Church Partnership in general, please contact our Church Partnerships team at email@example.com or phone 1800 22 44 53. Future vision trips include Rwanda and Uganda from 13 to 24 April and the Philippines from 6 to 11 September, 2010.
Annual Report Now Available Compassion expanding to Sri Lanka in 2010 After six years of research, relationship-building and much prayer, Compassion will expand its reach to Sri Lanka with a number of Child Survival Programs opening in March next year. The initial focus will be on babies and caregivers from Colombo’s urban slums, including the devastated communities that border the rubbish tips of Somalia and Apple Garden, and the minority groups of tea and rubber plantations in the Sri Lankan hills. To support these vital Child Survival Programs as they launch, email ChildSurvivalProgram@compassion.com.au or phone 1800 22 44 53 today.
NEWS & resources
Typhoons Ketsana and Parma—repairING homes and hearts
Compassion has begun large-scale relief efforts in the Philippines after the devastation of Typhoon Ketsana and Typhoon Parma in late September, which killed hundreds and displaced thousands. More than 2000 Compassion assisted children
Compassion’s 2008/09 Annual Report is now available. An electronic version is available online at www.compassion.com.au or for a hard copy, please contact us on 1800 22 44 53 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
were affected and with much sadness we report that three children and their families passed away in the landslides following Typhoon Parma. Almost two weeks after the devastation, two Compassion child development centres were still submerged and at one centre alone, the homes of all 331
Face of Compassion artworks available online Compassion’s inaugural art exhibition opened to the public in September, showcasing compelling works from a range of Australian artists. While many of the pieces have sold, others are still available, including works from Compassion assisted child Dhea Savitri from Indonesia and a range of photographs. To view and/or buy online, visit www.compassion.com.au/art.
children were completely flooded. Emergency relief of food, blankets, clothing and personal items were dispersed immediately, but as the months unfold, we now have to start rebuilding and repairing homes and impacted centres. At the time of printing, more than $130,000 had been raised. A very special thank you to everyone who gave generously. To support this relief effort, visit www.compassion.com.au or phone 1800 22 44 53.
COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT VISITING IN FEBRUARY
THREE OPTIONS FOR LETTER WRITING
Compassion International President and CEO Wess Stafford will visit Australia in February for a series of conferences and events. The inspirational speaker and author, who grew up the son of a missionary in an African village, is passionate about children and says every child we encounter is a divine appointment.
There are now three easy options for sending letters to your sponsored child. 1. Use the A4 form included with child letters (if you don’t have one, contact us and a new one will be mailed to you). 2. Write your letter (no images accepted) online: www.compassion.com.au/letters 3. Send us an email, including attached photos, to email@example.com. And we’ll do the rest.
Wess will speak at Kidsreach Conferences in Sydney on 20 February, and in Melbourne on 26 and 27 February. To attend or for more information, visit www.kidsreach.org.au or www.mtconline.org.au
Compassion in your area:
02 9898 9422
VIC/TAS/SA: 03 9890 6662
08 9240 1505
07 5479 1889
Shop = Give That’s what you do when you buy with Compassion
Introducing our new online store where every dollar spent goes back into the work of Compassion. Great resources and gifts. New stuff added all the time.
THE 2010 calEndar IS HErE!
If we don’t
stand up for children
then we don’t stand for much. MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN
on sale now for Christmas
NeW january 2010 MON
New Year’s Day
You asked for it, so here it is! Compassion has just launched its first calendar, full of beautiful images of the children we serve, information on the situations they live in, and inspirational quotes. The 2010 Compassion calendar is the perfect gift to get your friends and family thinking about children—all year long. Be quick, we only produced a limited number.
Every child born
A girl works alone in the rice paddies. More than 30 per cent of children in the world’s least
developed countries are forced to
into the world is a new
thought of God,
an ever fresh and radiant possibility. KATE DOUGLAS WIGGIN
work in homes, fields and factories, often without pay. Knowing who
makes the products you buy and choosing to support Fairtrade producers can make a world of
difference to these children.
When I look at the abundant need around, my faith in God and His awesome power gets grounded more firmly in me. Amidst great death, neglect and poverty His love is manifested through the help little children receive at Compassion. determined than ever, that, slowly but surely we can make a difference in someone’s life, one at a time.
Anyone who welcomes a little child like this
on my behalf is welcoming me.
Impact children and you will transform generations and influence nations
All this has made me more
ANURADHA GHOSHAL, COMPASSION PROJECT WORKER
Other great items available this Christmas:
GIFT IDEAS $ 24
We Will Not Be SileNt
Looking For Hope
GIFTS OF COMPASSION
Male and female
Designed by a Compassion
$14.00 - $5,312.00
$4.95 (PACK 12)
Notes of a special kind Earlier this year, we received letters of thanks from church partners in the field and we’d like to share a couple of them with you.
I am Mr Paan Fumeesong, Pastor of the church at Huey Ma Kang Child Development Centre, TH-951. I thank you who sponsor the children through Compassion.
My name is Daniel Delma, the Senior Pastor of the church where your sponsored child fellowships. I would like to express my gratitude for your great support through Compassion, as we all benefit from it.
Our community is in a hilly area. There are two tribes called Yellow Lahu and Red Lahu who live together. Yellow Lahu are Catholic and Red Lahu are Buddhist. Total population is 700 people. There is no crime in the village but there is famine and poverty as the villagers do not own land and have no occupation for their living. There is no Malaria but there is HIV and AIDS and the government has helped supply medicine for that. Due to the agricultural nature of the area there is a lot of unemployment between January and April every year. This creates family problems. Many marry when they are very young, about 13 or 14 years old and then separate later.
Our church, which is located on the outskirts of the capital city, is part of an underprivileged population. A major issue here is the prevalence of HIV and AIDS which has orphaned many of the children, leaving them without any support. Malaria, typhoid, hunger and malnutrition are other issues faced here. Many children do not go to school and as a result, a number of the children find themselves in the streets with drugs, delinquency, and prostitution. In the city, you find a concentrated group of unfortunate children and a painful synthesis of suffering parents who completely lack the minimum to live.
The church works together with Compassion to run the centre to help the children develop. This benefits the children a lot. They have a good opportunity to learn many things that are good for their lives and their soul. Some subjects are foundational for their living; such as pig farming or fish farming. Our staff follow the curriculum from Compassion International; soul, health, emotions, and knowledge. The centre also provides some culturally appropriate activities such as Thai language class and Lahu language class. I have a vision to share the good news with the children in order that they will know God and experience the Lord Jesus. The children always lead us to their parents. Caring for children is a very important part of laying a good foundation for good lives ahead. Our church cannot do it alone, but with Compassion, we are sowing grain into the soil. From your support we will have new young plants and after that we will look after all the plants then let them become trees ahead.
The child development centre, with its focus on holistic child development, provides hope for the entire community. Your sponsored child now has the possibility of a bright future and an ability to be released from their bondage. We look at them and see children with bright futures, who love God and their neighbours and people who will also show a great love for Christ. Three years ago, one of our children Issouf Sawadogo was suffering from a typhoid fever. He didn’t have parents to take care of him, but thanks to Compassion and the centre, he had two operations, including a 20cm ablation of his perforated intestines. This would have been almost impossible without Compassion and Issouf would have probably left this world at the age of eight. Dear sponsor, your action saves souls, frees from misery and ignorance, and possibility to the underprivileged. Your letters give great joy to the children, and demonstrate the expression of a true and sincere love.
I thank you supporters very much. May you pray for the children’s ministry and I shall remember you all in my prayers.
Please pray for the childrens’ faith and family. Pray for our church which has this heavy work to lead these children to Christ while helping them to grow in good health and education. We express our joy of being able to take part in this very difficult, yet exciting work.
Serve together in Him,
Thank you for being our partner in this ministry. May God reward you.
Paan Fumeesong is the Pastor of Hauy Ma Kang Church in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand, which supports 109 children, a number of whom are supported by Australian sponsors, including 50 through a Compassion Church Partnership with Georges River Community Baptist Church in Peakhurst, NSW.
Delma is the Senior Pastor of AOG Church of Eliel, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The centre started in 2004 and supports 256 children, a number of whom are supported by Australian sponsors including 100 by Metro Church in Queensland, who is partnering with Compassion to seek justice for children in poverty.
YOUR SUPPORT IS WORKING
It’s coming to the end of another year and we here at Compassion, as well as the children we serve, say a big thank you to all of you—our supporters. Thank you for your faithful love and continued support,
which is transforming the least into strong and able young men and women. You have been a blessing and inspiration to us all throughout this year.
Together we have raised more than $130,000 for victims of Typhoons Ketsana and Parma The most pressing needs for victims of natural disasters are often food, shelter and clean water. In late September and October, Compassion supporters gave more than $130,000 dollars to help provide these essentials to the 2000 Compassion assisted children and their families severely impacted by Typhoons Ketsana and Parma in the Philippines. The typhoons hit less than a week apart killing over 200 people and displacing hundreds of thousands more. On behalf of those who lost everything, we want to say a very special thank you.
Thanks for your Christmas love Thank you for giving so generously to your sponsored child or children this Christmas. Supporters have given more than $1.5 million so far, which will be pooled to provide every Compassion assisted child around
the world with a gift this Christmas—sent with love, from you to them. Thousands of cards have also been received and have been sent to the field, much to the joy of your sponsored children. See page 20 for more details on Christmas giving and cards. God bless you and your family this festive season and in 2010.
Thanks for sending the occasional note It’s not an easy job for most of us, but it means the world to our children. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time over the past few months to send a letter to their sponsored children; letters that would have been received like pure gold at the other end! It’s the simplest, most effective way to give love and encouragement to the ones who need it most so to all the letter writers out there, we say a special thank you. And if you’ve never had a go, it’s not too late to start. For letter writing tips, visit www.compassion.com.au and select the ‘Sponsors’ tab.
A Life-Changing Act–Thanks Margaret Nothing accentuates the value of being a Compassion supporter more than the life changing act of simply caring—like Queensland’s Margaret Chandler, sponsor of 19-year-old Sarah Mwesigwa from Uganda.
Sarah’s father, Ojamba, has had poor vision for the past two years—that is, until Margaret heard about it. She met a beaming Sarah and her equally delighted parents for the first time on a recent trip to Uganda, where Ojamba’s failing eyesight was an obvious and growing concern for the family. A letter from Sarah shortly after Margaret’s return to Australia suggested that things had rapidly deteriorated. Ojamba was now struggling to read the small print of his Bible and Sarah’s homework, which distressed her greatly. Concerned, Margaret contacted Compassion to find out what it would cost to treat Ojamba’s eyes. Thanks to Margaret’s generous donation of $165.50 (given through a family gift), Ojamba saw an optician and now wears a new pair of metal rimmed glasses. He can read his Bible again and, much to Sarah’s delight, he can also sit alongside her and help her be the best student she can be at school. To Margaret and all our supporters who constantly show acts of care and generosity, we want to say thank you. What you give in time and money may only seem like a small sacrifice, but for your sponsored children and their families, it means so very much.
Looking for Christmas gifts with extra heart?
Give a gift that gives twice with the Gifts of Compassion catalogue. Behind every gift is a child or family whose life could be changed because of your gift. And, it will save your friends or family getting another pair of red socks this Christmas.
new mUm kit
Compassion Australia's Summer magazine 2009