As Christians, What Can We Do When Faced With The Reality Of Extreme Poverty?

Insights from Danielle Strickland about how you can make a difference in the battle against poverty.

Danielle Strickland

Danielle Strickland is no stranger to extreme poverty. As the co-founder of Stop the Traffic and Amplify Peace, she is on the front line in the battle against poverty and oppression, worldwide.

Working with Compassion UK as an Ambassador and Sponsor, Danielle recorded her life changing experience of meeting her sponsored child, Emerson, in the extreme poverty of Haiti.

Watch this unforgettable moment of love and justice, and learn more about how Danielle makes the choice to fight against extreme poverty, in Jesus' name:

Can one person really make a difference in the fight against poverty?

Jesus demonstrated that it can. He went to the one, He stopped for the one, He touched the one, He healed the one, He knew the name of the one. The child sponsorship model is powerful because it’s choosing to see one individual. It’s like saying, ”Emerson, I see you. No one else does, other people might say you’re one of those kids that doesn’t have enough, but I choose to see you.”

God’s kingdom works one at a time; the lost son, the lost coin, the lost sheep. It is the nature of God Himself. I believe this one by one model can change the world.

Sponsoring a child is one vital step that can begin to rid the world of extreme poverty. And it’s such a small and easy act, for those of us who have more privilege and wealth in the world.

Poverty revolves around a lack of choice

Sponsoring a child gives them more choices. Choices to eat. Choices to go to school. Choices to join a church. Choices they didn’t have before.

But that starts with you making the choice to help.

You can help silence the voice of poverty for other children like Emerson and sponsor a child with Compassion today:

It's hard to face poverty, but Jesus calls us to be agents of change

Pay attention to the things that move you. That thing that irritates you, the news story that disrupts your day or the conversation you can’t forget. Decide to tune in to what you can’t ignore. What if those interruptions are God exposing the things he wants you to change? 

There is no changing the future without disturbing the present. - Catherine Booth

I think that a lot of people want a changed future without changing anything now - that’s impossible.

The thing about seeing extreme poverty is it makes me angry. It’s weird because it makes some other people cry, but for me it just makes me angry. It makes me angry not because people have to live like this, it doesn’t make me angry just because it disempowers people, it makes me angry because I know we can stop it.

In the developing world we are in danger of a self-focused salvation so really my job is to be a bridge. I invite people to come out of comfortable backgrounds and encourage them to meet people even in Western contexts, which are supposed to jar them.

kenyan slum

People say, “I’m overwhelmed.” and I say “That’s the right response. I’m overwhelmed, you’re overwhelmed, Jesus is overwhelmed. Actually he wept quite openly about it.”

And then the question becomes,“Now what? Could we participate? What can we do?”

Action usually starts with a small step. In a Compassion context, it might start with sponsoring a child or it could be helping your kids to engage with poverty.

I’ve had a wonderful journey with my kids and sponsorship is where I have been able to really invite them into justice as kids. I share with them and say, “This is poverty, this child is just like you, living on the other side of the world and you guys can connect and have a friendship.”

If everyone took one small step, we could change the world. Will you take that step?

You can help silence the voice of poverty for other children like Emerson and sponsor a child with Compassion today:

We might be tempted to run away but that won't change our hearts and it won't change the world

Danielle Strickland

Challenge yourself, lean into the discomfort by learning more about the issue or cause that stirs you. Whether that is supporting refugees, getting to know your neighbours, donating to your local food bank, sponsoring a child, helping at a homeless shelter or praying for the persecuted church.

Do some research, discover the facts and connect with organisations who can face the discomfort with you. Being informed often takes away a lot of the paralysis and fear that so often holds us back.

People think that fighting injustice is for the experts or you need special qualifications.

We do this to poverty too, which is one of the reasons I love Compassion. It’s an accessible, ethical and relational way to engage in the issues surrounding poverty.

The answer to poverty is simply to share. We might think we need all the right knowledge, the exam grades or smart strategies. Start sharing what you have and see what happens.

You can help silence the voice of poverty for other children like Emerson and sponsor a child with Compassion today:


WORDS : Compassion UK

PHOTOS : Compassion UK



Child Slavery On Lake Volta: 15 Photos To Make You Think

Ebenezer was just six years old when he was sent to work on Lake Volta.


7 Powerful Prayers for Tackling Climate Change During COP26

In a few weeks, leaders from around the globe will gather in the UK for one of the most pivotal moment as we tackle climate change. Here’s what you need to know about COP26, why it matters and how you can pray.

, ,


Girls and Computers: How Compassion is Helping Girls Conquer the Digital Gender Gap

Access to technology is crucial in this digital age. Yet women and girls are often excluded from it. For International Day of the Girl Child, Compassion explores the digital gender gap and how we’re empowering girls to bridge it.


A Time for Action: Climate Change and its Impact on Global Development

At the start of Great Big Green Week, Palamanga Ouali, Compassion’s Vice President for Africa, shares the startling impact the climate crisis is already having on those living in extreme poverty and how Compassion’s local church partners are responding.


Haiti Disaster Update

Compassion’s church partners are supporting children and families in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake.


Pray for Haiti in the aftermath of the 2021 earthquake

Please keep Haiti in your prayers as the country recovers from the devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake that has hit the country on 14 August.


The Good Samaritan: How to Love Your Neighbour in a Hurting World

An inspiring reflection on how to love your neighbour as yourself.



25 Different Types of Houses From Around the World

Join us on an exciting tour of homes from around the world.

, ,


In Photos: Why Children are the Hidden Victims of this Pandemic

Meet eight-year-old Shaniz as she shares about living through COVID-19 in Mathare slum, Kenya.


Sponsor a Child in Africa: Empower Them to Overcome Poverty

You can give a child in need vital stability and security.


What is Poverty? The Definitions of Poverty

Poverty is far more complex than a number. Poverty has a face and a name.


Why Your Efforts to Tackle Child Poverty Matter Now More than Ever

A reflection from Compassion’s Head of Global Programme, Sidney Muisyo.