Pastor Patrick Dommati shares how his church in Hyderabad is continuing its life-changing ministry to children living in poverty.

“We believe that God brought those children into our lives, into our ministry; it’s our responsibility, in whatever ways we can, to help them and to stand with them.”

As a Compassion alumni, Patrick Dommati knows firsthand the impact of a relationship with a sponsor—he still carries his former sponsors’ photo with him wherever he goes!

As a church pastor and former director of a Compassion child development centre, he has seen hundreds more children gain the same love, support and opportunity that he did as a young boy.

That’s why he’s so determined to keep his church’s good work going, by meeting the needs of 241 impoverished children in his community.

With the foundation that your support has given his church through their partnership with Compassion, he is well equipped to do it. And so are hundreds of other local churches around the nation!

“Do not get discouraged! God is still working in our nation; there are churches [that are] still working in our nation … start sponsoring somewhere else, because, who knows? A child like me, who never thought of having a great future, could come out from one of them.”

So, six months after Compassion was forced to close its programs in India, be encouraged that many of the local churches we partnered with are continuing their ministry to children living in poverty. And it’s thanks to God’s provision, the commitment of pastors and church members like Patrick—and the foundation that you have helped to build. Thank you!

Why did Compassion close its programs in India?

Since mid-2016, government restrictions prevented Compassion International getting funds through to India. For months, we attempted to resolve the situation through a number of channels for the sake of more than 147,000 children and 589 church partners there.

However, the government did not lift its restrictions and all of our local partners, including our country offices, eventually depleted their resources.

Compassion therefore formally ended all program operations in India on 15 March 2017.

We were not given a definitive response from the Indian authorities as to why they chose to restrict our funding and limit our operations—or why they refused to lift their restrictions. We believe there were two primary reasons.

  1. The India government placed increased scrutiny specifically against NGOs. Some of their concerns were that foreign aid comes with expectations, so they wanted to reduce their dependency on foreign funding. Many NGOs, big and small, faith-based and secular, were affected by the government’s restrictions.
  2. We also believe their decision not to lift the restrictions was, at least in part, religiously motivated. We are a Christ-centred, child-focused and church-based organisation that seeks to serve children living in poverty as a response to our faith and Jesus’ call to care for the poor.

But it’s important to note that Compassion accepts and serves children and communities of all faith backgrounds (or no faith background), and categorically does not require or force conversion to Christianity at any time. Our support for children and their families is in no way linked to their religious affiliation or beliefs.

Compassion’s primary mission is to release children from poverty, not convert them.

Hope for the future

This outcome was not what we prayed for over so many months. Yet we know and accept that working in India, and all countries where poverty is so extreme, comes with many different challenges. We’re so grateful for your continued partnership in all seasons, but especially during the most difficult time we’ve ever faced.

We will continue to pray for India and celebrate almost five decades of work there. While our programs have closed, we recognise God’s goodness in the 49 years of partnership Compassion had with local Indian churches. As a result of those partnerships, and your support, hundreds of thousands of children in India have been released from poverty. Thank you!

Thank you for standing with us to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

“We believe that God brought those children into our lives, into our ministry; it’s our responsibility, in whatever ways we can, to help them and to stand with them.”

As a Compassion alumni, Patrick Dommati knows firsthand the impact of a relationship with a sponsor—he still carries his former sponsors’ photo with him wherever he goes!

As a church pastor and former director of a Compassion child development centre, he has seen hundreds more children gain the same love, support and opportunity that he did as a young boy.

That’s why he’s so determined to keep his church’s good work going, by meeting the needs of 241 impoverished children in his community.

With the foundation that your support has given his church through their partnership with Compassion, he is well equipped to do it. And so are hundreds of other local churches around the nation!

“Do not get discouraged! God is still working in our nation; there are churches [that are] still working in our nation … start sponsoring somewhere else, because, who knows? A child like me, who never thought of having a great future, could come out from one of them.”

So, six months after Compassion was forced to close its programs in India, be encouraged that many of the local churches we partnered with are continuing their ministry to children living in poverty. And it’s thanks to God’s provision, the commitment of pastors and church members like Patrick—and the foundation that you have helped to build. Thank you!

Why did Compassion close its programs in India?

Since mid-2016, government restrictions prevented Compassion International getting funds through to India. For months, we attempted to resolve the situation through a number of channels for the sake of more than 147,000 children and 589 church partners there.

However, the government did not lift its restrictions and all of our local partners, including our country offices, eventually depleted their resources.

Compassion therefore formally ended all program operations in India on 15 March 2017.

We were not given a definitive response from the Indian authorities as to why they chose to restrict our funding and limit our operations—or why they refused to lift their restrictions. We believe there were two primary reasons.

  1. The India government placed increased scrutiny specifically against NGOs. Some of their concerns were that foreign aid comes with expectations, so they wanted to reduce their dependency on foreign funding. Many NGOs, big and small, faith-based and secular, were affected by the government’s restrictions.
  2. We also believe their decision not to lift the restrictions was, at least in part, religiously motivated. We are a Christ-centred, child-focused and church-based organisation that seeks to serve children living in poverty as a response to our faith and Jesus’ call to care for the poor.

But it’s important to note that Compassion accepts and serves children and communities of all faith backgrounds (or no faith background), and categorically does not require or force conversion to Christianity at any time. Our support for children and their families is in no way linked to their religious affiliation or beliefs.

Compassion’s primary mission is to release children from poverty, not convert them.

Hope for the future

This outcome was not what we prayed for over so many months. Yet we know and accept that working in India, and all countries where poverty is so extreme, comes with many different challenges. We’re so grateful for your continued partnership in all seasons, but especially during the most difficult time we’ve ever faced.

We will continue to pray for India and celebrate almost five decades of work there. While our programs have closed, we recognise God’s goodness in the 49 years of partnership Compassion had with local Indian churches. As a result of those partnerships, and your support, hundreds of thousands of children in India have been released from poverty. Thank you!

Thank you for standing with us to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

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