The Compassion Experience
The Compassion Experience is a unique take on raising awareness for global poverty while simultaneously alleviating children out of poverty. Compassion International is providing a first-hand look at the daily lives of the global poor through their interactive Compassion Experience.

The Compassion Experience is an exhibit currently touring the country, hosted by Compassion International, a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for child sponsorship to help lift children out of poverty. Operating since 1952, Compassion has grown from aiding 35 children in South Korea to helping millions of children worldwide become healthy adults.

Compassion’s Accomplishments

The organization also accepts one-time donations to do things such as build a well, provide literacy classes, and cover the neonatal care of a pregnant woman. The Experience is meant to build upon these goals by allowing for a better understanding of the daily difficulties imposed by poverty.

To Lynnelle, an Ohio-based volunteer who has worked with the organization for over 20 years, the work Compassion is doing through their interactive experience is invaluable.

In an interview, she explained, “We talk about [global poverty] all the time, but we don’t have any idea what people in the rest of the world go through.” Raising awareness for global poverty needs to be more than just words, and Compassion knows how to do just that.

A Day in a Compassion Exhibit

The exhibit itself operates out of a large, climate-controlled tent and series of trailers. An audio tour chronicles the lives of three children whose lives have been changed by Compassion, highlighting the positive effects sponsorship has had for them. In the Compassion Experience’s Mentor, Ohio location, these children were Olive, from Uganda; Carlos, from Guatemala; and Kiwi, from the Philippines.

In Olive’s case, Compassion provided for treatment for her tuberculosis and then, once healthy, helped her return to school. She eventually received a volleyball scholarship in the United States, where she went on to earn a master’s degree in social work. She now works for the same organization that changed her life.

The Compassion Experience provides human faces and compelling narratives that demonstrate the daily realities of those living in poverty. Lynnelle described her visit to Rwanda, where she saw those living conditions first hand: a small, closet-sized room and no running water.

However, thanks to the efficacy of foreign aid and organizations such as Compassion International, things are changing. The Gates Foundation cites that the percentage of poor people around the world has dropped by more than half since 1980, with countries such as Brazil and India more than quadrupling their real income per person.

According to Bill Gates in his 2014 Annual Letter, children who have been lifted up out of poverty, “do more than merely survive. They go to school and eventually work, and over time they make their countries more self-sufficient.” Raising awareness for global poverty and increasing levels of activism is a necessity for all countries, not an option.

Lynnelle put it much more simply.

“This to me,” she said, “is changing the world.”

Sabrina Santos

Photo: The Compassion Experience