“I first started sponsoring a child with Compassion over 16 years ago. I’m so compelled by the incredible work that Compassion does, that every few years I end up sponsoring another child! It’s a privilege to work as part of the Compassion team, and I hope I can do even more to share about the joys of sponsorship with a wider audience.”
Take a moment to get to know Philippa Hanna and discover why she’s passionate about changing children’s lives.
Hi Philippa, thanks for talking with us! You were a worship leader at this year’s Spring Harvest; tell us how you found the week…
Gatherings like Spring Harvest are super-important for the UK Church. All denominations are made to feel welcome, but also, all ages are specifically catered for. We took our two-year-old, who had a whale of a time.
My involvement this year was different to my usual input: I was tasked with creating the worship experience for an alternative venue. We created a very informal environment, which was freeing and felt very intimate.
You’re spending the rest of 2023 with a packed touring schedule – how’s it going?!
It’s been a slow grind back to my usual pace after a two-year event hiatus (thanks to the pandemic). I also had my baby during that time, so it’s been challenging… but I’m thrilled to say we’re back on the road, and it’s going amazingly well.
The ‘Stained Glass Stories Tour’ is taking us all across the UK, and some dates have already sold out. We’re playing songs from the latest album. ‘Stained Glass Stories’ is a collection of original worship songs that helped lead my family and me through a tough season by fixing our eyes on Jesus. Songs like ‘You’re Still God’ and ‘Everything is Possible’ have been anthems for us, and it’s amazing to see them impacting others too.
What do you enjoy most about being a professional musician?
The freedom to be myself. It’s great to be able to share my life and my passions with others through music and storytelling. Also, you get to have so many cultural experiences and adventures! I’m loving sharing that with my little girl too.
Where do you find inspiration for your music?
I heard somewhere that a good inventor answers a problem. I feel that song writing is my way of problem-solving in my head. I reflect on the world around me, with all its frustrations and challenges and ask what truth would help—and from there, my songs develop.
How has your Christian faith shaped your music?
When I was a teenager, I struggled with anxiety and depression, and my faith was a huge part of the recovery process. My faith is honestly everything to me. I don’t think I could live without it.
What advice would you give someone wanting to pursue music as a career?
It’s important to focus on finding your unique voice and narrative. The best shot you have of success is to be original and authentic. Then work really, really hard! And make the most of even the smallest opportunity. I really believe God honours humility, integrity and faithfulness.
Can you remember how you first heard about Compassion?
I was playing my first ever Christian festival—at the time, I was preparing to release my first album and had managed to get a gig playing in the resources area.
I literally bumped into a Compassion stand—and I immediately felt led to sponsor. That relationship with my first sponsored child, Carlos, has been such a blessing in my life. When my music ministry began to gather momentum, I knew I wanted to use any platform I might have to share about this incredible ministry of releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.
What is it about Compassion’s work that made you want to get involved?
I love that Compassion is Christ-centred. For me, the eternal impact of children getting to hear about Jesus is priceless.
What brings you joy as a sponsor?
I love to see my sponsored children growing, learning and smiling. When I get updates that tell me they’re enjoying school and growing in their faith, it gives me hope in a world which faces so many challenges.
Tell us about the children you’ve sponsored with Compassion…
Well, we sponsor six children at the moment, so to tell you about them all would keep you here all day! But I’ll tell you a little about a couple of them… Duretti is so special to me because she has the same birthday as my mother-in-law, Yvonne, who sadly passed away in 2021. Duretti is 10 years old and lives in Ethiopia. I’ve been sponsoring her for five years now; she sends the sweetest drawings.
Mahano is from Haiti. I sponsored him after visiting Haiti in 2009 to see Compassion’s work there. Haiti has devastating poverty statistics, and after I visited, I knew I wanted to invest in a young life there. Mahano is an excellent student with above-average academic performance! It’s reassuring to know that great young men and women of faith are being supported through Compassion so that they can impact society and help their communities.
Have you met any of your sponsored children – what was that like?
Yes, I met Carlos (the first child I sponsored) a few years ago. It was very special because my visit coincided with his graduation from the project and the whole occasion was very emotional. He’s a wonderful young man, and it was incredible to see the impact our friendship has had on his life.
What difference do you think being sponsored by Compassion makes to a child’s future?
Sponsorship has the power to change the whole course of a child’s life. It gives them the opportunity for an improved life in the present and the chance to dream of a great future. Sponsoring a child gives access that meets fundamental needs and rights, which we take for granted in our own children’s lives, like education and medicine. Most importantly, the sharing of faith with these children gives them a knowledge of Christ which has eternal value.
What would you say to anyone thinking about sponsoring a child?
I’ve never for a moment regretted my decision to sponsor any of these precious children. God has provided miraculously over and over so we can continue supporting them, including through a pandemic. They bless my life, and I’m so grateful to be impacting theirs.