It was late in the afternoon but the sun was still high and scorching overhead. Project director Kelvin and a small team from the Salvation Army Church in Boso trekked the challenging, hilly terrain towards their last home visit for the day. Drenched in sweat, feet aching, they finally reached 12-year-old Amos's home.  

Once a year, staff from Tearfund’s partner Compassion, visit each child in the Child Sponsorship Programme to speak with their family and assess their living situation. Extra visits are made if the child is sick or has missed activities at the child development centre.  

When they arrived, Amos's family was eating dinner. Banku is a staple for Ghanaians, a mixture of corn and cassava dough typically eaten with soup, fish or vegetable stew. When staff saw Amos eating banku with nothing but a few specks of ground black pepper, their hearts broke. The meal showed the family's desperate financial situation.   

Amos was always dressed neatly in the centre uniform provided or his smart school uniform whenever he attended the child development centre. Looking over his clothes at home, staff realized they were the only clothes he owned that didn't have holes.   

They discovered his parents were unemployed and the family of six were crammed into two rooms. The parents slept in one room and the four children slept in the second on a mat spread on the floor. Though Amos's home situation was confronting, the staff knew they could provide him with extra support through a Compassion fund.  

Every child in Compassion’s programme is vulnerable, but some children are facing more extreme poverty. Amos's parents are well but both are unemployed. The small farm his father worked in didn't supply enough food to provide for the children. Through generous donors, the fund offers a lifeline to these children who are facing unthinkable hardship.  

The extra support meant the family received monthly food baskets containing fish, meat, eggs, milk, beans, rice, and cooking oil. Amos also received clothes and a mattress, so he and his siblings no longer had to sleep on a mat on the floor.  

While this intervention helped to meet the family's nutritional needs, staff pursued a long term solution. They decided to equip Cecilia, Amos's mother, to start a small business to help support the family.   

She received GHS 400 (about NZ $120) to start a small business selling baby diapers.  

Within a short time, Cecilia had repaid the loan and saved up GHS 100 (NZ $29) on her own. Staff were impressed and provided another GHS 400 for Cecilia to invest in her business. She noticed that children's sandals were in high demand in Boso, and they quickly sold out, so, Cecilia added them to her stock and soon found her profits increased. With the help of the staff, she opened a savings account.  

“I never thought that I could ever have enough money to put some in the bank. It gives me joy that I can also walk into a bank and withdraw my own money. When one of my sons was going to secondary school, I just withdrew money and bought everything he needed,” she said.   

Amos’s father Joseph Asare is full of praise for the work of the local church.  

“Compassion has brought peace into my home through the sponsorship of just one of my children. They are providing for Amos, which is a big relief. They have set my wife up in business and she is doing so much for the family. Now, she supplements the meals in our house with fish and other ingredients, as I bring in the corn, cassava, and plantain from my farm.” He continues, “The workers at the church are so fair and kind. Thank God for Salvation Army Church and Compassion.”   

Amos, who wants to be a fine arts teacher in the future, quietly shared in a few words why he likes his child development centre.  

“I like Compassion because they take care of us and buy clothes for us. They pay our hospital bills when we fall sick and they give us a lot of food when we go to the centre, and I thank them,” he said.  

Project director Kelvin will never forget the day they walked into Amos’s house. He is thankful the visit opened their eyes to see the need, and to be part of the local church's response in helping to change the family's future.   


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