Have you heard of Compassion International? It's an organization that sponsors children in need in developing countries. They "tackle global poverty one child at a time".
A long time ago, I read that Compassion International does something called The Compassion Experience, where they basically take you on a tour of the lives of the children they sponsor. I have followed them ever since because I have always wanted to raise compassionate children.
I want my children to see how others live and to want to help. I want children who are not only compassionate, but sympathetic, and I also want them to see how good they have it. But doesn't every parent?
Well, the other day, while scouring the internet for things to do, I came across the Compassion Experience tour dates for my area. Lucky me, one of the dates fell on the perfect day for me to take the kiddos to this wonderful experience. I made our reservation immediately, and could not wait for the chance to get my boys started on their compassion journey.
We pulled up to a little church in Chatsworth on a rainy Friday morning. There was a tent set up in the parking lot behind the church, and plenty of parking.
The really nice thing about it was, there was no rush, no hassle. We parked just a few feet from the tent, and were greeted by welcoming people pointing us in the right direction.
Once we walked in, there was a short wait. Nothing we couldn't handle. In fact, it gave the kids a chance to get the wiggles out.
Once inside, we saw a small staircase leading to two doors. These are the stories of two children; Carlos from Guatemala, and Shamim from Uganda.
We were only able to do one story because of the stroller. Only Shamim's story was wheelchair and stroller accessible.
When it was our turn to take the tour, we were given iPods and headphones to walk us through Shamim's life.
The story was told by Shamim herself.
We walked through Shamim's home and school, as she explained that often times, school provided the only meal of the day for kids in her village. She spoke about the fear of being sent home.
My Sweet P is only three years old, but this was a concept that got his attention. He carefully listened to the rest of the story as he inspected Shamim's classroom. He played with the toys in the room and wanted to try the meal Shamim spoke about.
As we walked into the next room, a hospital, Shamim told the story of how she became ill and lost her hearing due to her family's lack of money. The medicine to cure her illness was available, she said, but to wealthier families.
The next room was Shamim's new school for children with disabilities; an amazing opportunity provided to her by a sponsor through Compassion International. This was probably the easiest room for me to navigate with a stroller. While each room was an amazing replica and experience, it was difficult for me to navigate with a stroller and a toddler, as the room were rather small.
As we walked out, it was explained to us that every card hanging on the wall in front of us, was a child just like Shamim, who was waiting to be sponsored.
By paying $38 a month, we could sponsor a child and help change a life.
This information was just that, information. The people here were not at all pushy.
Princeton even got a swag bag on the way out.
Overall, this was an amazing experience and I am extremely happy that we had the opportunity to experience this Experience.
For tour dates in your area, check here.