Tuesday 21 August marked the realisation of a 10-year goal for Compassion and Australian Christian supporters: reaching 100,000 children living in poverty around the globe.
Back in 2002, when Compassion set the goal, Australians were supporting 27,477 children—meaning the number had to grow by more than 300 per cent.
“This is a great milestone,” says Tim Hanna, Compassion Australia CEO. “What’s measurable is the number, what is immeasurable is the impact on those lives in terms of opportunity, hope and a future for children, families and communities living in poverty.”
Compassion credits the 100,000 milestone to individuals, churches and businesses from all around Australia who have banded together over the past 35 years to make this number possible. Some, like the Paul Coleman Trio, sang to raise awareness, others, like Seaforth Baptist Church held fundraising walks and spoke up about the issue of poverty in their communities.
When Compassion Australia began in 1977, it consisted of two second-hand typewriters, a modest rumpus room in Islington, Newcastle, and a couple—Laurie and Olive McCowan—with a passion to carry out God’s work.
“To begin with, nobody except those from our home church knew about Compassion,” says Olive McCowan. “We didn’t have the money to promote the ministry, so our biggest problem, initially, was simply getting the name out there.”
Today, as a partner country of Compassion International, Compassion Australia is an international Christian child development and child advocacy ministry that works in partnership with local churches in more than 26 developing countries.
Compassion’s four programs—Child Survival, Child Sponsorship, Leadership Development and Critical Interventions—work towards releasing children from all forms of poverty in Jesus’ name.
The ministry is contributing to worldwide progress in the fight against global poverty. The latest Millennium Development Goals Report, which was released in July this year, announced that already, important targets on poverty, slums and water have been met—three years ahead of deadline of 2015.
From a small, Newcastle-based organisation, to a national ministry with global reach and widespread impact, Compassion Australia continues to grow with God’s blessing and the help of caring Australians.
“Thank you to all the sponsors who helped us to form an established ministry,” says Olive. “We pray that God will bless you as you continue to work with children and sponsor a special child overseas.”
For more information about Compassion Australia, visit www.compassion.com.au