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Compassion Experience hosted in Harrogate for the first time

Harrogate Churches will host the Compassion Experience at St Aidan’s School this month, giving visitors the unique opportunity to find out what life is like for some of the most vulnerable children in the world.

Twenty local Harrogate churches have joined together to host the Compassion Experience at St Aidan’s Church of England High School on Oatlands Drive from the 20th- 21st of January. The event is free, and everyone in the general public is invited.

The Compassion Experience is a mobile trailer space created by child development charity Compassion UK which allows people to experience the sights, sounds and smells of a developing country.

The trailer houses the interactive, tactile, audio and visual stories of Sameson, a boy from Ethiopia and Shamim, a girl from Uganda. Both Sameson and Shamim grew up experiencing the vulnerability, restrictions, and dangers that poverty brings in their respective cultures and contexts.

Reverend Guy Donegan-Cross, Vicar of St Marks Church in Harrogate shares:
“We are so excited to host the Compassion Experience in Harrogate. We hope this gives the local community a chance to connect with the issues surrounding poverty in a tangible and personal way.

We are constantly bombarded by news about the world but so often feel distance from the realities of those living the poverty. We hope the experience connects with visitors on an emotional level and inspires us to all believe we really can make a difference.”

HG1000 Campaign

In 2014 a group of 20 Harrogate churches, including St Marks, launched the HG1000 campaign, with the aim to release 1,000 children from poverty through child sponsorship and providing 1,000 families in the developing world with clean, safe drinking water.
People from all walks of life generously contributed to the first of its kind campaign, from local schools, to businesses, to churches and sports people. The team have now reached their target and have funded 1000 life-saving water filters and sponsored 833 children with Compassion UK.

“The community of Harrogate have a very generous and compassionate spirit. Through the support of the HG1000 campaign, I have seen first-hand the amazing difference we can make when we all rally together and focus on the same cause. I hope we continue this journey of looking outside ourselves and together lead the way in seeing many more children lifted out of poverty,” shares Guy.

Compassion is an international child development charity with more than 60 years' experience of working with some of the world’s poorest children. At present more than 1.8 million children attend Compassion’s church-based projects in 25 of the world’s poorest countries.

Justin Dowds, CEO of Compassion UK explains, “We brought the Compassion Experience to the UK to bring the developing world to our doorsteps. When people think of poverty, they often think of the lack of material things, but actually, poverty is the lack of freedom to make meaningful choices. Poverty narrows children’s horizons and undermines their ambitions. Through our holistic child development program Compassion stirs hope in children. You can witness that hope coming to life through the Compassion Experience.”

“The Compassion Experience will enable visitors to experience another world without leaving their own,” explains Compassion UK’s Caroline Cameron. “Most importantly the presentation will offer a message of hope for children sponsored through our world-class child development programme.


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