On 15 March 2017, Compassion formally ended all program operations in India. This is an extremely difficult decision that affects more than 147,000 children and 589 local partners in India. Our hearts break with yours as we think about what this means for them—and for you, our sponsors and supporters in India. However, we trust God and His plan in the midst of all this, even though we don’t fully understand it now.

Compassion Australia CEO Dr Tim Hanna said it was a hard day for the organisation and more than 6000 Australian sponsors who support children in India, many of whom have been praying for a change for many months.

“Our supporters have stood with us since last year, praying and believing that the situation in India would resolve.We have explored every possible opportunity to bring about a solution for the sake of these children, but without the result we all desperately wanted.”

Compassion began working in India in 1968. Over the years, over 282,000 children, babies, mothers and young adults have completed the program. However, in mid-2016, the Indian government began preventing Compassion funds from reaching its local church partners.

Compassion was not the only ministry impacted. More than 20,000 non-profit organisations had their charitable registrations revoked, and 300 currently face similar restrictions. We believe this is due to the government's increasing scrutiny against NGOs, the desire to reduce dependence on foreign aid, and the threat of Christian influence in a predominantly Hindu nation. As an unapologetically Christian ministry, Compassion seeks to serve children living in poverty as a response to our faith and Jesus’ call to care for the poor.

Because we care so deeply about the children in our program, we have explored every possible opportunity to resolve the situation. However, the Indian government has not lifted these restrictions, and our field office funds are nearly depleted. After much prayer and nearly a year of effort to remedy the situation, Compassion has begun the process of closing our program. We have also begun notifying our sponsors that our India program operations will end 15 March.

Compassion is giving sponsors an opportunity to write one last letter to their sponsored child. While there is no guarantee these letters will reach all sponsored children, local church partners in India have committed to doing what they can do distribute them.

Despite the end of Compassion’s programs in India, we know that God’s work has not ended. We serve a faithful, almighty God who will continue to work in the lives of these precious children. The local church remains committed to their communities. And the investment made by each sponsor in their sponsored child’s life will not soon be forgotten.

“This decision will not deter us from continuing our ministry to vulnerable children in the 25 other nations where we work,” said Dr Hanna. “And today I am asking our supporters and church partners to continue to stand with us to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.”

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Thank you for your continued prayers and support for Compassion and for children in sensitive countries like India. We ask you to continue lifting up the many precious children, families, staff, pastors and sponsors who are affected by this difficult transition.

Learn more about the situation in India and what happens next.