For millions of children around the world, the unchanging story of poverty is all they have ever known. Recent statistics from UNICEF and the World Bank show that:

• More than 9 million children under 5 die each year. Two-thirds of these deaths are preventable.
• Over 1.4 billion people in the Developing World live below the poverty line (US $1.25 per day).
• In Developing Countries, about 130 million children and teens have lost one or both parents.

The Bible shows us God’s heart to help the poor. “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed cloths and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me…” Matthew 25:35.

Compassion is one of the world’s leading child development and child advocacy organisations. Their approach is to work with the local church, linking a child living in poverty with a loving sponsor. Each sponsor gives their child access to education, health checks and the care of a local church-based Compassion project. There is no quick fix to global poverty, but through Compassion, children’s lives are being changed. Their work is impacting families, communities and nations. Independent research showed that Compassion-sponsored children are more likely to be employed as adults, and leaders in their communities and churches (Journal of Political Economy 2013).

On Sunday 9th April, Hope Church Winchester will become a Partner Church with Compassion. The local Church that we will support is ADERP Gakenke in Rwanda. The children we look to sponsor will be from this hillside community.
Rwanda was once known as a ‘land of a thousand hills’, famed for its breath-taking scenery and endangered mountain gorillas. In 1962, Rwanda gained independence from Belgium and the Hutu majority population overthrew the ruling Tutsi King. After years of unrest, on 10 April 1994, the Hutus began the systematic slaughter of the Tutsis. Over the next 100 days, about 1,000,000 people were killed. The genocide left huge scars on the country: 50% of the population left were children, more than 800,000 were orphaned and 20,000 families were without parents.

Today, Rwanda has vowed to learn from its past. It has developed a system of good governance, zero tolerance for corruption and promotion of gender equality. For example, 56% of all parliamentarians are women. The country has been credited by the World Bank for the positive way they conduct business.

Our sponsorship will allow the staff of ADEPR Gakenke Rwanda to provide our sponsored children with bible lessons, health screening, education, vaccinations, testing & counselling for HIV/AIDS and life-skills training. The staff will also provide parenting education and household development training for the parents or guardians of our sponsored children.

Please pray for this new faith-venture for Hope Church. Pray for peace in Rwanda. Pray for God to show the children how much He loves them. Come to the launch event on Sunday 9th April and let us turn faith into action.

Wai Wan