Thanks to your support and the work of the local church, the 2023 financial year has been one of incredible impact. Clare Steele, Compassion Australia’s CEO, shares her reflections below.
11 Sep, 2023
Late last year, I had the privilege of travelling to the Dominican Republic. It felt like arriving in paradise with its beautiful coastline, joyful people and wonderful food. But there was another world—one hidden by the government behind a literal wall. And it’s behind this wall where our local church partners are at work.
I visited a hidden community, one with buildings in disrepair and houses jam-packed together, made of rooms that were little more than boxes on top of one another, threatening a devastating domino effect. The people are forced to pay rent to someone who only pretends to own the land. The river running through is where they wash, play and cool down after long days—and it is poisoned by chemicals and contaminants. Dust pervades roads, floors, clothes and air; it seeps inside of you so that your whole world is engulfed by it.
This environment imprints itself on the people who live here. I saw many sitting helplessly, worn down so much by a lack of food and water that they are unable to work. I met a grandmother whose tears streamed down her face when she spoke of the hopelessness of not being able to provide a strong roof or enough food for her four grandchildren.
No wonder they hide this world.
Yet the work of our partners was inspiring. I attended a church service where the focus that Sunday was on global mission.
In a community that struggled for survival, they still had their eyes fixed on Jesus’ Great Commission.
Afterwards, they took great delight in walking us through the new child development centre that they had built by raising funds locally. They had installed a water purification system which they used to sell water to local families, and these funds were then used to invest in safe housing for their community. This was a church who focused on what they had rather than what they lacked.
In the same way, that grandmother whose face was stained with tears also told me that this world and its desires will pass away—that the end of her journey is to be with God. This does not make life easier or the hunger pains cease—and it certainly does not mean that I won’t do all that I can to enable her to provide for her family—but it does mean her life has the most solid foundation. It means that she and her neighbourhood have hope: Jesus.
In Isaiah 40:31 we read, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” And, as you read this year’s Annual Report, I hope you will be encouraged and inspired by the stories of hope we have to share with you.
A few highlights from the 2023 financial year include:
- 133,802 children directly benefitted from Critical Needs projects such as education, improved infrastructure and clean water.
- 70,819 food packs were provided to families affected by the global food crisis, giving them food to eat while long-term solutions, such as agricultural training, continue to be put in place.
- 784 Australian volunteers partnered with us to bring greater awareness to the challenges faced by children and families living in poverty.
- The incredible Ride for Compassion team cycled from Perth to Newcastle, raising $964,342 and seeing 182 children sponsored as a result.
- 124,720 children were sponsored, ensuring they could participate in our holistic child development program, empowering them to break the cycle of poverty.
This is an incredible result that we could only achieve together as a global neighbourhood: children, families, churches, staff and you. You can find more details in the 2023 Annual Report or explore your impact on our interactive website.
In what has been a year of significant financial burdens in Australia, I am so thankful for your partnership and the love you have shown for your global neighbours.
Thank you for your support and your partnership both this year and in the years to come.
Clare Steele, Compassion Australia CEO
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