Experience Ethiopia

With assistance from Compassion and the local church, Sameson Tilahun entered vocational school to study woodworking. He is now a role model to other children, and employs an additional two employees.

With assistance from Compassion and the local church, Sameson entered vocational school to study woodworking. He is now business-owner and mentor to other children.

Sameson often felt alone, but the Lord was always with Him and provided the love he needed at just the right times.

Community and heritage are so important, but especially to kids who know the isolation of abandonment. What do you know about Sameson’s heritage?


Ethiopia is a fascinating country. Here are a few facts to kick off your discovery:

  1. Ethiopia is about 7.5 years behind the U.S.! This is because Ethiopia is the only country in the world to have 13 months in a year.
  2. Coffee was first discovered by Ethiopia-wildlifean Ethiopian goat herder in the Kaffa region (from which the word “coffee” may derive) when he noticed his goats “dancing” after eating the berries off the coffee plant.
  3. Ethiopians measure time from when the sun rises AND count time on the opposite side of the clock. When the sun rises at 6 o’clock it is said to be 12 o’clock – the start of the day.
  4. Ethiopia is mentioned 40 times in the Bible and it is one of the few countries mentioned in the Bible, the Koran, Homer’s Odyssey, and many other ancient books.
  5. Because more than 70% of Africa’s mountains are found in Ethiopia, it is sometimes called “the roof of Africa”.
  6. Unlike most African nations, school in Ethiopia is free. However, many kids have to work instead to help support their families. Less than half are still enrolled by 5th grade.

Ethiopia was founded in 980 B.C., making it one of the oldest nations in the world. But despite its rich history, it is also one of the poorest nations in the world.

  1. For every 1,000 Ethiopian Eyerus and Meseret Aregachildren five years old and younger, there are 166 deaths.
  2. With an estimated population of 86 million people, 78% of Ethiopians struggle with an income below US$2 a day.
  3. Preventable diseases, including Malaria, account for at least 60% of health problems in Ethiopia.
  4. 61% of Ethiopian adults are illiterate.

You can be part of releasing Ethiopian children from poverty in Jesus’ name, and become part of their world! Click here for more information about sponsorship.


Sign with Shamim

Can you imagine how hard it would be to communicate if you couldn’t hear anyone, including yourself?

Shamim lost her hearing to malaria when she was just a little girl because her family could not afford the $7 medication. Simple solutions can be unreachable for those living in extreme poverty.

But what the enemy meant for evil, God turned around for good. Shamim now has a thriving ministry for other children with disabilities. She can relate to them on a personal level and point them toward the hope of Jesus that has kept her strong.

Shamim learned sign language so that she could communicate. It’s difficult to express and receive God’s love without communication. Do you know any words in sign language? Watch Shamim’s video and see if you can pick any out.

Here’s what she’s signing:

I am called Nakiyemba Shamim graduated from Compassion UG507 [her child development center]. Compassion has been my way forward because it helped me to reach where I am now.

Despite my disability Compassion did not lose hope in me. It helped me and motivated me to gain passion. Compassion also helped me to open my eyes to help other children who have disability.

With this, I opened my ministry which is called Sherinah’s new hope for children with disability. And with this ministry I hope to help these children to become as what I am today.

You can learn one important sign right now!

Shamim says it the same way.

You can also communicate the message of love to a child through the life-changing power of sponsorship. Click here for more information on how you can get involved.

Destined Duo: Hannah and Shamim

If you heard Shamim’s story at The Compassion Experience, you probably remember hearing about her sponsor, Hannah.

In this photo, Hannah is wearing jewelry that Shamim (also called “Sherinah”) made to raise money for her ministry, Sherinah’s New Hope for Children with Disability Ministry. You may remember a similar necklace from the last room of Shamim’s tour.

They are still very close friends. The relationship they developed through prayer and letter-writing has stood the test of time. Now they’re changing the story for many other children.. together.


Here is an excerpt from an interview with Hannah:

Hannah, thanks so much for joining us today. Could you tell us when you began sponsoring children through Compassion International?

I sponsored my first child when I was 11 years old. My parents hosted a Compassion Sunday and I spotted a packet with a girl one year younger than me. I asked my parents if I could work for them to sponsor Shamim. Once I graduated high school and got a real job, I took over Shamim’s sponsorship completely and added three more girls.

How and why did you decide to sponsor a child? Is there a specific story surrounding your decision to sponsor a child that you can share with us?

I grew up writing to our family’s sponsored children, Margaret in Kenya and Aaron in the Philippines. It was always a dream to sponsor a child for myself and every since being very young, I have loved letter writing and missions! Sponsoring a child at age 11 was a way that I could be a part of God’s mission field prior to being able to travel by myself.

Can you tell us the first name of the child you sponsored and where he or she is from?

Shamim, the first child I sponsored, has now graduated Compassion’s program! She is from Uganda and she is about to graduate college. She also started a ministry for disabled children in Uganda since she is deaf herself and wants to reach other children with disabilities. We now sponsor another girl from Uganda and her name is Cissy. Cissy lives close to Shamim and so Shamim visits Cissy when she has time!

Hannah's Children

Cissy and Shamim in front of Cissy’s home in January 2015

…my husband and I sponsored 9 more children and I write to over 30 other children. I love letter writing and this is a door that God has opened to allow me to disciple many children and to be involved with missions. If you have a heart for missions but feel that you are not able to travel, and if you enjoy letter writing, consider sponsoring or corresponding with a child through Compassion!

You can also start your own story with a child in need of a loving relationship. Click here for more information about sponsorship through Compassion International.


Healing for the Heart

Even if you got to walk through scenes of Yannely’s life at the Compassion Experience, there is so much more we could tell you about her incredible story.

When Yannely’s mother, Lidia, learned she was pregnant 23 years ago, her husband tried to convince her to have an abortion. When Lidia refused, he abandoned her and their unborn daughter.

A college-aged daughter with her mom.As a single mother in the poor community of Villa Flores in southern Dominican Republic, it was difficult for Lidia to make ends meet and provide for her daughter.

Yannely recalls that often, they had only one meal a day — a green banana and a bowl of rice. And because they couldn’t always afford fuel to boil their water, they were forced to take the risk of consuming untreated water from the community tap

Thankfully, Lidia’s burden was eased when Yannely was registered in the local church-based Compassion program, where she was sponsored by a woman named Dorothy Schmitz.

Yannely calls Dorothy “the most influential person in my life.” Through their letters, their relationship grew, and Dorothy quickly became Yannely’s trusted mentor, always motivating her to have faith and hope in God.

Yannely dreamed of being a pediatrician, and she demonstrated the potential to achieve that dream.

When she was 12 years old, she was blessed to write to Dorothy that she had met the president of the Dominican Republic at a ceremony recognizing the country’s outstanding students. She recalls that when she extended her hand to shake his, he surprised her with a big hug and kiss on the cheek — something she had longed for but never received from her own father.

Yannely saved each one of Dorothy’s letters, drawing encouragement from her sponsor’s kind words. When Dorothy told Yannely “you will become a great doctor,” she believed it. Yannely says she carried her sponsor’s words in her heart, and they motivated her to continue pursuing her goals.

Though Yannely had the intelligence to become a doctor, she didn’t have the financial resources to attend medical school. When she applied to be part of Compassion’s Leadership Development Program, she was an obvious choice for this special program, which provides outstanding graduates of the Compassion Child Sponsorship Program the opportunity to attend college and receive targeted training in Christian leadership.

A Dominican medical student attends to a patient at a clinic by checking her blood pressure. Currently in her fourth year of medical school, Yannely is already using her skills to help others. She volunteers her time as a tutor at a Compassion center, conducts free medical checkups for Compassion program alumni, and serves as a nurse in poor communities in the northern region of the country.

Perhaps the most rewarding result of her involvement in the Leadership Development Program has been the restoration of her relationship with her father. She learned about forgiveness through the program, and decided to take the courageous step of forgiving the father she had never known. Then she took one step further: She actually sought him out and met him face to face.

When they met, Yannely’s father could not hold back his tears from the guilt he felt for abandoning her and her mother. On that unforgettable day, between the tears and embraces, the relationship between this father and daughter was completely healed.

Planning to specialize in pediatric perinatology in the future, Yannely holds one of the highest academic standings in her university. Her ultimate goal is to start her own foundation to provide quality health care at a low cost for the poor.

There is no limit on the influence one sponsor can have on one child’s life. To learn more about sponsorship through Compassion International, click here.

Article from Sponsor E-News



Experience the Philippines

Did you get to walk through Kiwi’s story at the Compassion Experience? She sure faced lot of bumps in the road, didn’t she? That, and a lot of water.


But Kiwi never gave up hope. She is a strong woman with strong faith. Kiwi grew up in the Philippines, which raises a lot of strong people. Because natural disasters are so frequent and destructive, citizens are conditioned to be overcomers. In general, Filipino people are have earned global admiration for their perseverance and good humor.


  1. The Philippines is an archipelago of more than 7,107 islands with a population of over 100 million people.
  2. One of the most unique and traditional dishes is balut, which is a boiled, fertilized duck egg with a half-formed chick inside.
  3. When the Spanish government ruled the Philippines, it ruled that all citizens must have Spanish last names.
  4. Jeepneys are the most popular way of getting around in the Philippines. They are colourful and crowded. One of the apparent origins of the word jeepney, is from the words jeep and knee because passengers sit so closely together (if you even manage to get a seat!).
  5. The Philippines is regarded the “text capital of the world”. 350 to 400 million text messages are sent daily by local 35 million cell phone users, which is more than the daily total sent in the U.S. and Europe, combined.
  6. Flag of the PhilippinesThe Philippine flag is unique because it’s displayed differently in times of peace and war. During peace, the blue side is hung on top, and when the country is at war, the flag is hung the other way so that the red is on top.


Joy can’t easily be stolen, but the often harsh conditions of life in the Philippines affect a child’s ability to dream. Human trafficking is especially rampant in this country and many children are forced into labor to help provide for their families. Here are a few of the latest stats on poverty in the Philippines:

  1. Super Typhoon Haiyan and fast-rising food prices caused an increase in poverty in the first half of 2014.
  2. The poverty incidence is slowly dropping due to increased government initiatives, but 25.8% of Filipinos still live below the poverty line.
  3. At last count, around 3.6 million Filipino children under age 5 are underweight and 4 million are stunted due to lack of nutrition.
  4. According to UNICEF, 30,000–50,000 children in the Philippines are displaced every year as a result of armed conflict.

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You can be part of releasing Filipino children from poverty in Jesus’ name, and become part of their world! Click here for more information about sponsorship.