This month at Compassion UK we’re celebrating our 15th anniversary. There are many reasons to praise God:
We can also celebrate that since 1999, we’ve been able to open new Compassion offices, partnering with churches in incredibly poor communities. We’ve begun working in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nicaragua and Togo, reaching out to more children living in poverty. Compassion Togo opened its doors in 2009. There are now 15,249 children being given the education, nutritional support, health care and social skills that they need. Last year 2,613 of these children made first time professions of faith in Christ.
Behind the numbers are individual stories of lives that have been changed. One child at a time.
Meet Gerard. Gerard’s family lives around 40 miles from Lomé. Gerard’s stepfather struggles to provide for his two wives and nine children.
“When Gerard’s mother Adjo brought him to the project to be registered, everybody agreed on the fact that he was extremely poor,” explains Kossi Agbokou, project co-ordinator. “He was severely emaciated and malnourished. His hair was turning red and he had a completely bloated belly. He also had skinny legs and a big head. We could do nothing but register him,” he continues.
The project immediately began to give Gerard additional food support and project health workers monitored him closely. They began to be concerned however as Gerard’s slow progress made them suspect that the food packages vital for Gerard’s recovery were being shared amongst the whole family. Compassion staff members were quick to notice when Gerard was missing from project activities one Saturday afternoon. The next day the project social worker Kodjo Aziadouvo went to Gerard’s home to see what was wrong. “Near the house, just in front of the gate, Gerard was bawling on the ground. His mother Adjo came out and collapsed in tears”, explains Kodjo. “I understood the pain and I decided to act before it was too late. I took Gerard and his mother on my bike and I brought them to the health center in Vogan, about three miles away.”
Gerard was admitted to the hospital for more than two months for severe wasting and malnutrition. The Compassion project paid the entire bill as the medical expenses were far beyond the family’s reach. Even now, Adjo is moved by the project’s generosity. She acknowledged that if it had not been for the project’s intervention, Gerard would have passed away. Adjo explains, “In the village, I have nobody. Even members of my husband’s family did not want the child to recover because, for my husband, it was an added load. If God did not bring the project here, I admit that my son would have died of malnutrition.”
As you can see from the photo above, thanks to the support of his sponsor and project Gerard has made a full recovery and is now thriving.
Thank you to all of our sponsors who have supported children living in poverty over the last 15 years!
Watch this footage of Gerald’s project to make you smile