25 Photos of Young Lives Transformed: the Difference the Local Church Makes

How your sponsored child is being empowered.

“I want to become a nurse and see my father healthy and mother happy again so that we don’t have to see the face of poverty ever again.”

Nahida’s dream to lift her family out of poverty is something we desire for every child and teenager in our programme. No child should ever have their ambitions limited by poverty which is why every church-driven Compassion project invests in its young people through vocational training and extra-curricular activities.

a young girl dressed in blue

Thanks to loving Compassion project staff and volunteers, every child and young person is known. But this doesn’t just mean by name. Through weekly contact, the staff and volunteers know each of their likes and dislikes, passions and their hopes and dreams.

From basket weaving to firefighting, discover how you’re helping equip the child you sponsor to break free from poverty to reach their God-given potential.

1. Carpentry – Guatemala

Girls learning carpentry

In Guatemala, carpentry is traditionally seen as a male occupation. This inspired a Compassion project in the highlands to break gender stereotypes and offer classes to a group of teenage girls.

Lucerito (far right) says, “It gives me great joy because I feel confident. I really can do it and in the future, I will continue to see what I can create to help others.”

2. Music – Indonesia

A group of children playing music

Thomas Edison teaches music to the young people in Indonesia.

“The church found that many of the students had an interest in music and singing so they asked me to teach music classes because I play piano at church. I made all of the instruments we use myself. Some of the children who are shy are actually very talented but they’re not able to express themselves. With music, they’re able to do that so they become more confident.”

3. Baking – Peru

A girl mixing a cake

When children arrive at the Peruvian Evangelical Church in Carabayllo, Peru, they are welcomed by the aroma of freshly baked bread. For Medalid, learning how to prepare different types of cakes and desserts has had a significant impact on her life.

“Learning pastry making is my passion,” says Medalid. “With everything I have learned, I am preparing cakes at home. In the mornings, while I go to school, my mum goes out to sell them, and this way we can help a little bit with the household expenses.”

4. Crafts – Thailand

young people weaving baskets

Teenagers participate in vocational training activities in the Tasongyang District, Thailand. They are learning to weave, bake, make soap and flower decorations. These items are then sold locally providing an extra income for their families.

5. Hair and beauty – Ethiopia

A girl washing hair

Every Saturday in Awassa, Ethiopia, teenagers gather at the small salon at their local Compassion project to practice hairdressing, beauty and cosmetics.

Across Compassion projects in Ethiopia, students often receive a professional certification in their chosen vocation.

6. Bracelet making – Haiti

boy smiling with paints

Enock is 17-years-old and lives in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. At his project, he learnt how to make bracelets and this simple skill became a means of survival for his family.

7. Mechanics – Rwanda

A boy fixing a car engine

“I am studying automobile mechanics. I chose that vocational training course because I like it a lot, and I feel like it will help me to develop myself,” says Jean De Dieu.

Across Rwanda, young people, supported by Compassion, are involved in skills training, such as computer training, carpentry, motor vehicle repair, dressmaking, cooking, hairdressing and driving.

8. Learning to surf – Brazil

Boys with surf boards

You may be surprised when you discover some of the children you sponsor in parts of Brazil take surf lessons! These sessions allow young people to learn a new skill while having fun. Local surf instructors ensure children and young people are kept safe.

9. Shoes and guitar making – Tanzania

Twin boys making shoes

Teenage twin brothers Dotto and Kurua were orphaned at a young age. Thanks to Compassion’s local church partner in Nyakato, Tanzania, they’ve been taught a variety of income-generating activities including shoe and guitar making. These skills will help prepare them for employment after they graduate from the programme.

10. Dancing – Bangladesh

Girls dancing

When Joseph’s daughter, Mollika, first announced she was taking dancing lessons, he wondered what the point was. It was then he remembered his own childhood dream. “When I was her age, I too had a dream to become a football player, but my family’s poverty and my dreams did not go hand-in-hand.”

Thanks to her Compassion project, Mollika participates in dance classes two to three times a week. The project employs a professional teacher who teaches a range of dance styles. Mollika is a dedicated dancer and has been selected for district-level dance competitions where she’s won awards and medals.

11. Basket weaving – Togo

Children in Togo making baskets

Basket weaving is a traditional craft passed down through the generations across many African countries. At their project in Lome, Togo, children love this interactive activity as they know it will help them provide an income in the future.

Compassion projects in Togo also offer a variety of extracurricular activities including lessons, choreography, choir, art, football and puzzles.

12. Computer classes – Philippines

Children learning computer skills

In the Philippines, young people are taught a range of computer skills to help equip them for the future. Here at Aklan Baptist Student Centre, teenagers are learning how to use Excel.

13. Art – Mexico

boy holding his painting

When Compassion staff and volunteers spot a talent or passion in one of their young people, they do everything they can to nurture and develop it. Encouraged by his tutor, ten-year-old Hector took up art as a way to express his feelings.

14. Hairdressing – Colombia

A girl practicing hairdressing

Teenagers at this Compassion project in Colombia take turns to sit for each other while they practice hairdressing.

Across the country, projects offer weekly sports and music workshops, as well as vocational training in computer maintenance, beauty skills, tailoring, baking and shoe making.

15. Brick making – Uganda

Boys making bricks

From making bricks to laying a wall, these young people in Uganda are learning important building skills.

16. Barbers – Nicaragua

A boy cutting another boys hair

In Nicaragua, children 12 and older meet for 4 hours on Saturday, plus one additional day for vocational training. At their projects, children learn hairdressing and barbering, alongside other classes in music, computers, sewing, carpentry, baking and handicrafts.

17. Sewing – Kenya

A girl using a sewing machine

In Kenya, young people are taught a range of different skills from dressmaking to leather work. Projects also offer extracurricular activities such as annual football competitions, talent shows and holiday camps.

18. Tennis –  El Salvador

A girl with a tennis racket

In El Salvador, Compassion church partner Iglesia de las Asamble as de Dios, promotes healthy development by providing children with tennis or swimming lessons. For 10-year-old Alondra, she chose tennis.

“I am very happy because I have friends, I have a sponsor! I learn about God and at the project they asked me if I wanted to join a sports workshop. I chose tennis!”

19. Community service – Sri Lanka

Children cleaning their community

In Sri Lanka, young people serve their communities by planting trees or cleaning up their local community.

Children and young people meet at their Compassion project on Saturdays and during their school holidays. Projects offer children a range of extracurricular activities including camps, sporting events, field trips and talent shows.

20. Football – Burkina Faso

Boys playing football

Thanks to Compassion’s local church partner, Jam Tam Church, children play football as part of project activities.

21. Computer skills – Dominican Republic

Boys and girls working at computers in the classroom.

Across the Dominican Republic, children take a range of vocational training courses to help equip them for the future. Many of these courses are certified, allowing the students to grow professionally in a given technical field

22. First Aid training – Bolivia

Children learning first aid

In Bolivia, young people learn important first aid skills at their Compassion project. This is particularly important in remote areas where there isn’t a clinic nearby.

23. Shoe making – Ghana

Children making shoes

Thanks to Compassion’s local church partner, Dago Methodist Church, an extracurricular activity for 20 children has turned into a booming income-generating venture benefiting both students and caregivers.

Students at the project are learning a new trade, making leather shoes.

24. Dancing – Ecuador

Girls in traditional dress

Traditional dance classes are just one of the extra-curricular activities offered by projects in Ecuador. Children and young people also participate in art, music and sports like football.

For teenagers, Compassion Ecuador also has an extra certified curriculum called ‘More than Conquerors’ which covers vocational training, including 17 workshop topics.

25. Firefighting – Honduras

Children with a firefighter

When teenagers at their project in Honduras expressed an interest in firefighting, staff at the project arranged for Firefighter Garcia who is in charge of coordinating child firefighters to visit and provide training.

Thank you

Thanks to your incredible support young people have the opportunity to release their God-given potential in a safe, fun and loving environment. In the future they will be able to live a life free from poverty because of your investment today.

Emily Laramy

Words by Emily Laramy


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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.