Compassion Australia CEO Tim Hanna shares a special thank you and reflects on reasons to be thankful during the most difficult time in Compassion’s history.

In the months since our programs officially closed in India—a devastating event for hundreds of thousands of children and family members, hundreds of local churches and thousands of supporters like you around the world—we’ve been overwhelmed by your response.

As CEO Tim Hanna shares in the video above, there are many reasons to be grateful even in the sorrow of not being able to continue to help children in need in India.

  • Your response, as supporters and sponsors in India, has been inspiring. In thousands of phone calls and email conversations, we’ve heard incredible stories and testimonies of lives changed—not just of the impact you’ve had on your sponsored children, but of the impact they’ve had on you. Thank you for sharing.
  • Your patience as we’ve embarked on this effort has been a blessing. It takes a long time to call thousands of sponsors, and yet we’ve been encouraged by the gracious way you’ve communicated with us and trusted us to communicate with you.
  • So many of you have said “Yes!” to continuing your sponsorship journey with Compassion by sponsoring a child in another country. Thank you for your determination to prevent the fight against poverty taking even one step backward.
  • Thousands of children have been released from poverty in India through the support of friends like you in almost 50 years of Compassion partnership with local churches there. That’s something to celebrate!

Above all, we’re grateful that God will continue the good work He’s begun in the lives of children and their families across India. And local churches will continue to minister to the children and their communities, working to release them from poverty in Jesus’ name.

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 lifted 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.

In the months since our programs officially closed in India—a devastating event for hundreds of thousands of children and family members, hundreds of local churches and thousands of supporters like you around the world—we’ve been overwhelmed by your response.

As CEO Tim Hanna shares in the video above, there are many reasons to be grateful even in the sorrow of not being able to continue to help children in need in India.

  • Your response, as supporters and sponsors in India, has been inspiring. In thousands of phone calls and email conversations, we’ve heard incredible stories and testimonies of lives changed—not just of the impact you’ve had on your sponsored children, but of the impact they’ve had on you. Thank you for sharing.
  • Your patience as we’ve embarked on this effort has been a blessing. It takes a long time to call thousands of sponsors, and yet we’ve been encouraged by the gracious way you’ve communicated with us and trusted us to communicate with you.
  • So many of you have said “Yes!” to continuing your sponsorship journey with Compassion by sponsoring a child in another country. Thank you for your determination to prevent the fight against poverty taking even one step backward.
  • Thousands of children have been released from poverty in India through the support of friends like you in almost 50 years of Compassion partnership with local churches there. That’s something to celebrate!

Above all, we’re grateful that God will continue the good work He’s begun in the lives of children and their families across India. And local churches will continue to minister to the children and their communities, working to release them from poverty in Jesus’ name.

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 lifted 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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