Some of you have asked in different ways how Tanzania compares to the other countries I’ve visited with Compassion International.
How bad is the poverty in Tanzania compared to other places I’ve visited?
Yesterday, I was in a solid concrete home with walls painted blue, a solid metal roof overhead, concrete floors under my feet, a door with a knob and a lock, glass windows, curtains even a television. By far the nicest home of a sponsored child I’ve ever visited.
Today I stood in a house made of sticks and mud. The homes of sponsored children here in Tanzania – that we’ve visited – are as dilapidated as any I saw in Uganda or India and some are as well constructed and sizable as the most confortable I’ve seen in Latin America.
But poverty isn’t measured in square feet and it’s deeper than appearances. Poverty is not only economic but also physical, relational, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual. The children Compassion serves here in Tanzania began life as impoverished as any I’ve met – just as vulnerable to malnutrition and disease, hopelessness, abuse, illiteracy, and a host of other evils that prey on the most vulnerable.
How is Compassion’s ministry different in Tanzania than in other countries I’ve visited?
Compassion is a holistic child development organization. This means that Compassion is not just feeding children, or just educating them, or just providing health care, or just telling them about Jesus.
We are doing all of this and more to develop every facet of a child’s life: physical, social and emotional, cognitive and spiritual. This is the approach Compassion takes in serving every child in all twenty-six countries where it ministers.
Tanzania is no different. But…
In every country I’ve visited with Compassion, I’ve seen that sometimes one area of development gets a bit more emphasis. In Tanzania, when I’ve asked mothers what life would have been like for their children if they were not in Compassion’s program, they’ve again and again said their child would have no hope of getting an education. When I’ve asked kids what they like most about coming to their Child Development Center (aka Compassion project), they’ve again and again talked about what they learn there.
In Tanzania, the people are grateful to their sponsors for sending letters, providing proper nutrition, extra food during periods of drought, access to clean water, health care, a safe place to play, Christian mentors…but at the top of their thank you list are books, school fees, uniforms, tutoring and vocational training. As one mother told me here, “Without education we have no plan for tomorrow.”
Sponsor a child today and release a child from every dimension of poverty.
What questions do you have about Compassion’s ministry? In Tanzania or the country where your sponsored child lives?