Compassion International, a Christian ministry organization, is highlighting the reality of global poverty through an interactive event hosted in the United States.
The exhibits are free to the public and seek to display true stories of children living in challenged developing countries such as Kenya, Uganda and the Dominican Republic. Through this forum, the organization gives visitors the opportunity to step into the lives of people living in developing countries without getting on a plane.
Visitors are guided through exhibits laid out over 2,000 square feet. Throughout the tour, people have the opportunity to experience the lives of three children who are sponsored by Compassion International. Each of the children featured narrates their own story.
“The tour took us through his life in the streets and eventually to the point where he became involved with Compassion International,” Joseph Hughes, who resonated with the story of Rueben, a child from the Dominican Republic, said. “It was a moving experience. I’ll admit, when Reuben finally became stable, had food and access to an education, I teared up a little.”
According to UNICEF, 1.9 million children are living in poverty today. The interactive tour started when Compassion International teamed up with local churches to provide child development programs and assist children living in poverty.
James Hays, a pastor who helps lead the event, said he wanted to give others the opportunity to experience life in different regions of the world that are impacted by global poverty.
“We thought it would be something not only our church would benefit from, but the community could as well,” he said.
Overall, the response from visitors has been positive. Jillian Kissell, a participant of one event in Searcy, Arkansas described the event as “enlightening”.
“I think it’s important to see how others are living and what their daily lives look like,” she said. “I like experiences that will get me out of my comfort zone and learn something new.”
Hays said this is the first time Compassion International has put on the event. According to information found on Compassion International’s website, the tour will visit 35 cities this year.
– Alyson Atondo