17 Celebratory Photos of Birthdays Around the World

Enjoy these joyful photos of children celebrating their birthdays around the world.

A birthday is more than gifts. It’s an opportunity to show children that they are valued and loved — and children in poverty shouldn’t have to miss out. Each culture might have its own unique traditions surrounding birthdays, and our staff ensures children feel celebrated within that tradition. Maybe you like to celebrate someone on their birthday with a card and a birthday Bible verse?

Enjoy these joyful photos of children celebrating their birthdays around the world!

Celebrating birthdays in Kenya

Poverty can erode children’s sense of worth, so staff at each Compassion project look for ways to counteract the damaging messages of poverty. Each church we partner with around the world decides how best to recognise children’s birthdays. Sometimes that means a field trip to the beach or a zoo. Other times it means a birthday cake and a small present for the birthday child.

These children in Kenya are enjoying a group birthday party at their project, complete with cake, party hats and lots of fun.

birthday girls smiling

children with birthday party hats

Celebrating birthdays in Indonesia

Parents of the children we serve in Indonesia often work as casual labourers, making 78p or so a day — not enough to buy birthday treats. Often the children’s birthdays pass unnoticed. So at one Compassion project, the staff hold a birthday party every three months for the children who had a birthday that quarter. They pray, sing, and have cake and snacks. The children love it!

children at a birthday party

children praying

The tutors also go out of their way to celebrate each child on the actual day of their birthday. They will share a piece of birthday advice or a birthday wish with the child and give them a small gift. If a child’s birthday falls on a day when they aren’t visiting the project, staff will visit the child at home to deliver the gift and wish them a happy birthday. The tutors remind the children that they are loved by God, by their community and by their sponsors.

Celebrating first birthdays: Uganda

One of the most important birthday milestones for children in poverty is the first birthday. The majority of children around the world who die before they reach age five pass away before their first birthday. That’s why our Child Survival intervention, which works so hard to help babies and mums survive, takes special care to celebrate babies’ first birthdays, like this celebration in Uganda, which includes birthday cake and delicious snacks and special treats.

babies eating party food

children with birthday cake and hats


Many families who live in poverty in La Paz, Bolivia, rarely have the opportunity to celebrate their children’s birthday. They simply cannot afford to. The staff at one Compassion project planned a special surprise celebration for the mums and babies to mark the children’s first birthdays. When the parents, children and their siblings arrived, they found themselves in a beautifully decorated room with streamers, balloons, a piñata, presents, party food and even a clown, who entertained them.

They were overjoyed, with many of the mums saying it was the first party they’d ever attended.

girl with birthday cake

mums and babies in Bolivia

Celebrating the Quinceañera in Colombia

Throughout Latin America the quinceañera is an important birthday tradition. It celebrates a girl’s 15th birthday, marking her transition from girlhood to womanhood. Quinceañeras can be quite grand — complete with tiaras, ball gowns and dancing! But for many of the girls living in poverty in Latin America, this important cultural tradition is out of their reach.

For Lesly in Colombia, her 15th birthday was just another day.

“I had dreamed of having a party, but my family had no resources for one,” says Lesly.

Knowing how important the quinceañera is, staff at a Compassion project in Colombia plan a special party every year to celebrate the girls who are turning 15. This year, it was Lesly, Celena and Ledis’ turn to be celebrated.

“I was really excited when I was told that the project was going to prepare a 15th birthday celebration for me and two other girls!”

family with birthday cake

girl reading birthday card

“Every time I receive a letter or greeting from my sponsor, it makes me feel important and loved,” recalls Lesly.

Celebrating birthdays in the Dominican Republic

Sponsors are able to send a monetary gift to the child they sponsor for their birthdays. Lorielky in the Dominican Republic has received birthday gifts from her sponsor for the past several years. Her mum, Delmi, has helped Lorielky use the money to buy clothes and toys. And for the past few years, Delmi has also been able to use the gift to do something really special — to throw Lorielky a birthday party at home!

girl blowing out birthday cake candles

birthday party celebrations

Celebrating birthdays with greetings from around the world

As a sponsor, your birthday greetings are also an incredible way to show your sponsored child how valued and loved they are. This next collection of photos shows the impact your birthday messages have and how your words are treasured for years to come.

smiling girl in Kenya

Joyce in Kenya loves the birthday wishes she receives from her sponsor. This simple message made her day, “Happy Birthday Joyce, we love you and we are praying for you every day. You are wonderfully made!”

girl with love poster

The picture held up by 10-year-old Amy from Ecuador sums up the meaning of the birthday gifts and messages she receives from her sponsor.

“I am grateful to my sponsor for my gifts, says Amy. “She always remembers me on my birthday, and she makes me feel loved.”

girl opening birthday letters

Eleven-year-old Kaylane was born with a large birthmark which her classmates used to taunt her about. Thanks to her sponsor’s letters and birthday greetings Ana knows how beautiful and important she is.

“When I read my sponsor’s letters, I feel so loved, Ana says. “She makes me feel so special! On my last birthday, she sent me a letter wishing me an amazing day and saying that this date is important to her too.”

Does your sponsored child have a birthday coming up? Why not take a moment to send a birthday greeting today?

boy with thank you poster

Thanks for making these special memories happen! A birthday party, present or a greeting might seem small in the grand scheme of things. But this is just one of the ways that you are helping children in poverty live a full life, getting to see their worth and potential, just like other children.

Thank you for helping children celebrate their birthdays and make these special memories happen! You’re bringing so much hope, joy and light into the lives of children in poverty!

A version of this blog was originally published by our friends at Compassion International.

Compassion International

Words by Compassion International


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Compassion UK Christian Child Development, registered charity in England and Wales (1077216) and Scotland (SC045059). A company limited by guarantee, Registered in England and Wales company number 03719092. Registered address: Compassion House, Barley Way, Fleet, Hampshire, GU51 2UT.