Every child who is part of Compassion's program receives love, support and care that aims to meet their spiritual, economic, socio-emotional and physical needs. This is known as holistic child development.

Children play in The Phillipines

In the same way that poverty is about more than just material wealth, we are more than just our physicality. Each of us is made up of heart, mind, body and soul. To help children living in poverty and address all these aspects, a holistic approach is necessary. Compassion's holistic development recognises children as whole beings, each uniquely made and loved by God.

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbour as yourself.'" —Luke 10:27 (NIV)

Poverty exposes children to significant vulnerability in almost every area of their lives.

A holistic model of development aims to reduce this vulnerability felt by both children and their families through improved nutrition, health, education and income generation support.

To ensure each child's individual needs are supported, holistic child development is tailored to a child’s age, gender, health, culture and family situation. When a child is registered in our Child Sponsorship Program they receive spiritual guidance through the local church, nutritious food, access to clean water, quality health care and emotional support, alongside education and skills-based training. All children in our programs receive support regardless of their spiritual beliefs, culture or background.

Compassion’s holistic child development model is designed to help the most vulnerable and marginalised children on our planet grow up to become thriving followers of Jesus who are positively influencing their world. Compassion's programs assist children through all stages of their development: from Mums and Babies into the Child Sponsorship Program, with support as needed through Critical Needs. 

Salama, Kenya

Salama’s story shows the difference a holistic approach can make.

In the coastal town of Malindi, Kenya, Salama’s mother breaks limestone rocks to provide for her family. As the sole provider for the family, if Kadzo misses a day of work, then her children will have no food.

"Sometimes when I sit and think about the future, that’s when the sadness comes suddenly," she says.

The multi-generational nature of poverty meant that Salama was destined to follow in her mother’s footsteps. But that all changed when she registered in Compassion’s Child Sponsorship program.

Through the support she receives from her sponsors, she now has hope for her future and is determined to become a teacher. The encouragement and support (physical, emotional and spiritual) that Salama receives benefits not only her, but also has a flow-on effect for her whole family.

Salama, Kenya

"One day she’ll save the entire family. It may not be tomorrow but in the future the family will turn upside down. It will not be the family you are seeing today, just because of Salama," says Evelyn, the local project director.

Through a holistic approach to Salama’s development, she is able to reach her full potential as someone created in the image of God.

A good neighbour is someone who loves others the way Jesus loves them, seeing them as a whole person and putting that love into action. By being a good neighbour and helping those in greatest need, over 2.1 million Compassion assisted children receiving love, care and support because of your support.

You can join us as we further explore the devastating impact of poverty in episode two of The Good Neighbour docuseries. You will hear from those who live out the reality of poverty everyday as well as the local church who supports them and experts who ensure the effectiveness of our programs.

Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel to be the first to watch upcoming episodes. You can also invite your family and friends to be a good neighbour by watching the series with them.

Together, we can learn how to be good neighbours to those in greatest need.

Words by Amy Mason and Andrew Barker with field reporting by Zoe Noakes.