Parents living in poverty make heartbreaking decisions every day. Send their child to school or pay their rent? Buy medicine or feed their family for a week? There is no insurance or medical safety nets when you live in poverty. These are real stories from children in our program. What would you do in their family’s situation?

1. Rakibul’s story

Shahadat and his then two-year-old son Rakibul were involved in a rickshaw crash in Bangladesh. Initially, both seem fine and the x-rays come back clear. But for weeks afterwards, Rakibul screams out in pain and walks with a limp. Tests show his leg hasn’t developed properly because of the accident. Surgery will cost A$1400 but Shahadat makes barely A$8 a day as a rickshaw driver. These were the choices Shahadat faced. What did they do?

Shahadat sold the rickshaw but the sale still wasn’t enough to cover the surgery. Thankfully, Compassion heard about Rakibul’s case and stepped in. The Medical fund paid his post-surgery treatment and the other expenses the family couldn’t afford. “I cannot express in words the amount of relief I felt after coming to know that someone will stand beside me,” Shahadat says. “If we had not gotten the support, then we would probably have had to watch our son suffer abnormal growth right before our very own eyes.” You can help stop a child’s suffering.

2. Rose’s story

Rose was walking to school when she was hit by a speeding jeepney in the Philippines. When the driver realised, he reversed back over her. She was a victim of a ‘double hit’: in the Philippines, if a person is injured, the driver needs to cover all their medical costs. But if they are killed, they need only pay a burial fee. Rose was lucky to be alive but still suffered a serious open leg fracture requiring immediate surgery. The doctor won’t operate without upfront payment. These were the choices Rose’s family faced. What did they do?

The jeepney driver was arrested but spent just one day in jail, having bribed the police. He brings the family food and gives a little money to Rose’s family; it’s nowhere near enough to cover their expenses. They don’t have the money to seek justice through the courts. Rose’s parents need to stop working to care for her and try to raise the money needed for her medical care. Compassion’s Medical fund is a lifeline. Rose’s medical costs are reimbursed and a huge weight is lifted off the family’s shoulders. Help a child access urgent medical care.

3. Joseph’s story

When Joseph was seven months old, his head began growing faster than his body. Soon, it was so heavy his neck could barely hold it up. His parents live in Ghana in a deeply superstitious community. They took him to a spiritualist and when his condition didn’t improve, a hospital. Doctors say he needs an operation costing A$1300. Neighbours say they are cursed and should leave Joseph by the river. These were the choices they faced. What do they do?

Joseph’s parents couldn’t afford the surgery so they never returned to the hospital. Thankfully, Compassion begin working in their community just months later. Joseph was again sent to hospital. This time he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus: water on the brain. Compassion’s health specialist booked him an appointment with a neurosurgeon. Joseph’s operation was a complete success. “I do not know what to say to display the way I feel inside me for what Compassion and Mercy Baptist have done for my family,” his mum says. “This was the child I was advised to go and abandon by a river bank. Now, just look at this good-looking boy. All I can say is thank you.” You can give children living in poverty access to specialists.

4. Joshua’s story

When Josie’s son Joshua complains of headache, she takes him to a doctor who diagnoses him with eye problems. But when Joshua has trouble walking, she knows something is terribly wrong. The specialist calls her at 11pm: Joshua has a brain tumour and needs urgent surgery if he is to survive. The treatment will cost A$17,000: an insurmountable sum for the family of five who live off husband Ricard’s small wage as a labourer. These were Josie’s options. What did she do?

Josie turned to Compassion staff for help. Joshua’s surgery was paid for through the Medical fund. “I can’t explain the relief when I heard this,” she says. “I told myself ‘there is hope’. If Compassion was not there to help us, I might not be able to do anything to help him.” Their beautiful faith continues to sustain them. “Jesus saved my life,” beams Joshua. “He is the best in the world.”