NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF)– Thousands of locals got to experience other parts of the world without leaving the C.S.R.A.
The Compassion Experience took place the past three days at True North Church in North Augusta, immersing people in the culture of three developing countries.
“There was a lot of political instability and we didn’t have a home after our home was destroyed,” Olive Aneno said. She is a former Compassion child.
Olive Aneno grew up in Uganda, where poverty meets turmoil. At a young age, her mother took her to become sponsored by Compassion International. Aneno was then able to finish high school, go to college and get her Master’s degree at the University of Georgia.
“I never ever imagined it would happen because where I’m from and also some of the things that have happened to other children who were in my village,” Aneno said.
Compassion International began more than 60 years ago when one person’s eyes were opened to all the orphans in developing countries.
“Poverty is so much, it’s a hopelessness, a feeling that you don’t have value, so we’re able to give these kids hope, not just meeting their physical needs,” said Liza Gingerich, a road representative for the Compassion Experience.
She says the one thing people question the most is where their money goes. She says 80 percent or more of each sponsor’s donation goes directly to the child’s program.
“We’re actually audited every year by charity navigators, which is the biggest auditor for charities in the United States, and we always place in their top one percent,” Gingerich explained.
Families and individuals journeyed into the lives of three compassion sponsored children to see homes, schools, markets and hear life changing stories — all from the perspective of a child whose life began in poverty.
Gracie McNeal brought her children out Sunday.
“I’ve heard one of them say ‘Well, it kind of made me think of my socks and when I have to put my socks on. And I think yeah, it really touched all of our hearts, I kind of get a little emotional, so I was about to cry the whole time I was in there,” McNeal said.
Gingerich said hearing these children’s stories and seeing first hand the size of rooms they live in puts a face on poverty.
For more information about Compassion International and the Compassion Experience, visit their website: https://www.compassion.com/