Written by Zoe Noakes from Compassion International.

Unprecedented. It’s a word I find myself cringing at now. For more than two years, those five syllables have been shorthand for the chaos caused by Covid-19. It always seems to be followed by unpleasant news. But as I reflect on this time and how Compassion’s church partners responded, I realised something. They flipped the world’s script. When confronted with the unprecedented, they became unstoppable. In the face of the unknown, they exuded understanding. As they supported some of the world’s most vulnerable children, they were undaunted. You may have heard how they stepped into action. Get ready for some astonishing numbers! Since the pandemic began, Compassion’s partners have delivered 20,300,492 food parcels. Restoring dignity, they have made 466,992 unconditional cash transfers to families who had lost their income. They organised 2,768,608 cases of medical support and distributed 14,322,297 hygiene kits. Critically, they also supported millions of children to learn at home when schools were closed. Yet there were other unexpected ways they provided vital help and care. 

Since-the-pandemic-began,-Compassion’s-partners-havedelivered-20,300,492-food-parcels.jpgSince the pandemic began, Compassion’s partners have delivered 20,300,492 food parcels.

Here are three surprising ways your support has empowered church partners to change children’s lives—turning an unprecedented situation into an unparalleled response. 

1. By shining light into the shadow of this pandemic 

As people were confined to homes, cut off from school, workplaces, and normal life, surveys revealed a major spike in stress and anxiety. The children in Compassion’s programmes were not spared. However, Compassion’s church partners were there blasting light into this darkness. In Ethiopia, centre staff called children in lockdown each week to pray and speak words of hope and encouragement over them. Fourteen-year-old Fetire became so paralysed by anxiety about contracting the virus, she was scared to go outside. 

“I was excited to hear the voices of the staff from the project,” she says. “My heart leapt with joy. For the first time since I had been at home, I felt hopeful. I told them I was depressed and didn’t know what to do. They prayed for me. As always, it worked.” Her mother summed up the impact by saying: “the weekly phone calls brought back my daughter’s beautiful smile”. 
 

2. By celebrating the special moments  

Over his time, little felt normal, but your support meant Compassion’s partners could continue to make the special moments count. For a child living in poverty, a birthday can’t always be marked by a special gift for a favourite meal, but for a child living in poverty during a pandemic, it is a far-off dream. That’s why Josue was delighted when he opened the door on his eighth birthday to the sight of grinning centre volunteers dressed as clowns. Waving and dancing, they held out a gift for him. “At home, we don't celebrate my birthday because we do not have money. I felt excited when they arrived because I didn't expect them,” he says. “When I saw them, I was thrilled.” 


3. By preparing for Omicron  

The highly transmissible variant saw Covid-19 cases spike all over the world. While the vulnerable countries Compassion works in reported a surge in cases, Compassion’s partners have remained undaunted and innovative in the face of this new challenge. Your support has equipped and empowered them to adapt to the challenges this pandemic creates. They responded by delivering urgent food and supplies, enabling online learning, sharing the message of God’s love, facilitating medical care and promoting initiatives to create long-term stability and generate incomes. One example took place in Indonesia. At one point, the Southeast Asian country topped the world in new Covid-19 cases and deaths. The resulting restrictions left families in poverty struggling without a sustainable supply of food. On Java Island, catfish are a popular local delicacy. When 18-year-old Dika was taught by his centre how to manage a catfish farm, he was equipped with the skills to open a business of his own.  “I am confident I can create my own catfish pools now,” he says.  

Thank you for helping the local church to be the unfaltering hands of feet of Jesus throughout this unprecedented time.  


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