The areas I study in political science tend to have a focus on international relations and theory. Poverty is one of those topics that comes up a lot; especially when I had courses entirely dedicated to wealth and poverty, and human rights.
In February 2011, I took a trip to Peru during my spring break to do volunteer work. It was the most incredible trip I have ever taken, and I'll be sharing more about it I'm sure. I have never seen such absolute poverty.
We were fortunate to be able to bring bags and bags of donations, and we were even able to directly hand them to the families. The children came out of their houses as we walked through the mountains to hold our hands and chatter on in Spanish and Quechuan to us. Most of the children were barefoot, and dirty. They were wearing clothes that had clearly been brought from previous donors, but they were just worn out. The families brought us right into their homes, where the floors were mud and the walls were clay. They were lucky to have some sheet metal to act as a roof, but that couldn't keep out the rain. Their animals stayed right in the house with them (cows, chickens, etc.) and that's just how they lived.
Since then, this has been a huge burden on my heart. So I decided to do something about it. This is something so simple and easy to do, I encourage everyone to take part.
Compassion International works in numerous countries around the world and you can sponsor a child for $38 USD, or $41 CAD. Compared to some other organizations, this one is pricier. I chose to go with Compassion for a few reasons:
- their transparency; I believe Compassion is a reliable charity to work with, and allow themselves to be reviewed to ensure your money is actually helping people.
- their religious affiliation; For those who do not support this, I would recommend World Vision. But to me, the religious aspect does not need to be separated. I love that Compassion works with local churches and provides Christian education and church involvement for these children.
- their sponsor trips; Every year, Compassion organizes various trips for sponsors to volunteer in the country of their sponsor child, and to actually meet their sponsor child. This is fantastic! They are providing life-changing experiences, and I think that is just wonderful.
- a focus on development; they put the emphasis on actually accomplishing something more than writing letters. They say that they are about more than sponsorship, but actually assisting with child development.
Sanctus Real's song "Lead Me" says this "don't leave them hungry for love, chasing things that I could give up". That really inspires me. We have so much here that we can easily give up, in exchange to help those that really need it.
Compassion (US website) and Compassion Canada
Please note that if you choose to sponsor a child from the American website, and you live in Canada, Compassion will transfer your sponsorship of that child to Canada! I've done this for a few reasons: I started with the US website because I didn't realize Canada had a website at first. Plus right now, Dayspring is giving out $30 gift cards to those who sponsor from the US website (I'm not sure if this applies to Canada as well). Transferring your sponsorship is so easy, plus it is then tax-deductible and faster to send letters.