I'm Juanita. I'm 11 years old and live in Honduras. My family lives in poverty, which means we don't have a lot of things I need, like food, medicine or school supplies. But thanks to my sponsor in the United States, I get help from a church in my neighborhood. Follow me to find out how kids like me get sponsored, and how sponsors help babies, kids and big kids!
Compassion partners with sponsors and churches around the world to help children who live in poverty. Here's how I was sponsored!
- A church in my city wanted to help my friends and me because our families don't have everything we need. So the church teamed up with Compassion.
- Church workers came to our home and told my parents about Compassion's sponsorship program. My parents signed me up for it!
- I started going to a Compassion center at the church after school to play, learn and eat.
- I was so excited when my teacher told me that the Hendersons, a family in the United States, had sponsored me!
Check out the photos of some churches where sponsored kids go. You can click on the photos to make them bigger. Then read on to find out how my sponsors help me!
When I first joined Compassion's program, I got my own Bible for kids!
With my Bible, I learn all about Jesus. I couldn't read very well when I joined the program, so my teachers at the Compassion center helped me. I loved the colorful pictures that went with the stories!
Sometimes we play a game where our teacher asks us questions about the Bible. The other kids and I try to be the first to raise our hands with the right answer!
I like to read my Bible every day. It makes me feel happy to know that Jesus loves me and has a special plan for my life!
But a Bible isn't the only thing I got at my Compassion center. Let's find out about the food I eat there!
My parents work hard, but they don't always make enough money to buy food for my three sisters and me. When I go to school hungry, I have trouble paying attention. My stomach hurts, and it's hard to sleep at night.
But at my Compassion center, the cooks make us yummy food! Now that I'm not hungry, I can do my homework better. And I don't get sick as much.
Let me tell you more about how my sponsors keep me healthy!
Before I got a sponsor, I'd never been to a doctor. My parents couldn't pay for a doctor or medicine. But at my Compassion center, a doctor comes to give me a checkup twice a year to make sure I'm healthy and growing. The doctor also gave me shots called vaccines that keep away diseases.
I learned from my teachers that I should wash my hands with soap and water to get rid of germs that could make me sick.
A few months ago, my friend at the Compassion center got really sick. He needed surgery, but it was too expensive for his family. Then our teacher told us that some people give extra money to Compassion for sponsored kids who need extra help. My friend got surgery, and now he's back on the field playing soccer with me!
Let's learn more about the fun games I play at my center!
Some of my friends don't have time to play. They go to jobs with their parents and work all day. Even if they had time to play, there aren't any playgrounds or parks. We don't have yards either.
That's another reason I love going to my Compassion center: There's a playground! I play soccer with my friends on the grass behind the church.
We also do fun things in the classrooms. We make crafts, paint pictures, play games and sing songs about Jesus! I like dancing to the songs.
At my center we also study so we do better in school. Let me teach you more about my school!
Some kids in my town can't go to school because their parents can't pay for things like clothes or supplies. Other kids can't go to school because they work jobs to help their families buy food.
My mom and dad didn't have enough money to buy my uniform, pencils and books. Thanks to my sponsor, I now have all the school supplies I need! But the public school I go to isn't great. Sometimes the teacher doesn't show up. Other times the teacher doesn't have time to help me with my questions because there are too many kids in my classroom.
Thankfully my Compassion center teachers help me with my school work and teach me important lessons. Now I get good grades in school! My sponsor writes to me to tell me to keep studying hard.
Let me tell you more about my sponsor's letters!
I still remember when I got my first letter from the Hendersons, the family that sponsors me. They sent a picture with their letter. The photo showed a mom, a dad, a boy my age and a little girl. In their letter, the Hendersons told me they were praying for me. They said God had a great plan for my life. The boy, Terrence, asked me what my favorite food was. The girl, Tamara, drew me a picture with crayons.
It made me feel so special to know that a family was thinking about me! I carefully put the letter in my backpack and took it home that night. My mom put it in a box in our room where it will be safe forever!
In my letters to the Hendersons, I write about all the fun activities I do at my Compassion center! I've told them about my favorite foods, my favorite Bible verses and what I'm learning in school.
Now that you know all the reasons I love being a sponsored child, let's find out how sponsors help big kids!
How Sponsors Help Big Kids
Teenagers in Compassion's program get everything that kids my age get. But they also learn extra skills that will help them get good jobs when they are fully grown up.
My Plan for Tomorrow
When I'm 12 years old, I'll fill out a workbook called My Plan for Tomorrow. It helps sponsored kids make plans for their futures. Setting goals is extra important for kids like me. I want to be an airplane pilot someday!
It's important for poor kids to learn skills so they can earn money as adults. Here are some of the special classes that big kids can take at their Compassion centers:
- Cooking, so they can become bakers or chefs.
- Sewing, so they can make clothes to sell or wear.
- Mechanics, so they can earn money fixing cars and motorcycles.
- Haircutting, so they can work at or own a salon.
Check out the photos that show big kids learning important skills!
Now that you know how sponsors help teenagers, let's find out how Compassion helps babies and moms.
How Compassion Helps Babies
Babies aren't old enough to be sponsored yet. But thanks to people who give to Compassion's Survival Program, many babies start getting help before they're even born!
Compassion helped my aunt Paola and her baby. Let's find out how!
Compassion's church partners help babies and the adults who take care of them.
Pregnant moms need healthy food and vitamins to keep themselves and their babies healthy. But my aunt Paola was pregnant and didn't have any money for food or vitamins.
Then Sofia, a woman who works at our church, visited Paola and told her how Compassion could help her and her baby.
Let's find out how!
Sofia prayed with Paola. She told Paola that God loves her and has a special plan for her - and her unborn baby! That made Paola feel special and full of hope. Before, Paola felt afraid because she didn't know how she'd raise a baby alone.
Sofia gave a Bible to Paola. She showed Paola a verse that would remind her that God made her and her baby special:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
- Psalm 139:13-14
Sofia told Paola she'd visit her again soon.
Find out what she took Paola on her next visit!
When Sofia went to Paola's home the next week, she took a bag of groceries and vitamins. She told Paola to take the vitamins every day. She said the nutritious food would help keep her and the baby healthy.
Paola told Sofia she was worried about having the baby in her one-room home. She couldn't afford to go to a hospital to have the baby. But Sofia told her not to worry - the church would take care of her.
Let's learn more about health!
Did you know that pregnant women, babies and toddlers all have special health needs?
Women who live in my neighborhood sometimes have babies at home. That can be dangerous. But many people can't afford nurses or doctors or hospitals. So when Paola was ready to have her baby, Sofia drove her to a hospital. There were nurses and doctors to help. Paola had a healthy baby boy! She named him Pedro.
Sofia kept visiting Paola at home to check on her and Pedro. Paola took Pedro to our church, where health workers weighed him to make sure he was growing. They also gave him shots to keep away sicknesses. When Pedro was old enough to eat food other than his mom's milk, the church gave him a nutritious porridge.
I remember one time when Pedro got sick. Sofia made sure that he got medicine, and she showed Paola how to help him get better. Sofia taught Paola a lot of other things she didn't know before.
Find out how babies' parents get training!
Lots of adults in my neighborhood dropped out of school when they were kids so they could work jobs instead. Others never went to school at all. Since they didn't go to much school as kids, they can't find jobs that pay enough now.
But many moms and dads in Compassion's Survival program get training to learn special skills. My aunt Paola took a class at our church and learned how to sew. Now she makes money sewing new clothes for people and fixing their old clothes. This will help her buy food and medicine when Pedro needs it.
Here are some other classes that parents take in Compassion's program:
- Cooking, so they can make meals for their families and sell meals for money.
- Mechanics, so they can make money fixing cars and motorcycles.
- Crafts, so they can make gifts like purses and blankets to sell in marketplaces.
- Reading, so they can read the Bible and help teach their kids to read and write.
- Haircutting, so they can make money cutting people's hair.