I was born into a slum community. These are my reflections on The Compassion Experience

Jane'

I was born into a slum community. I lived in a community of thousands of families, with no access to proper toilets. We used the open drains and rubbish tips as toilets. There was one tap that supplied water to the entire community. There was no work, no school and people were dying from dengue malaria.

22 years ago, my life changed when somebody decided to sponsor me. Somebody decided to speak up for me.

If I hadn't been sponsored, I wouldn't have become the first in my family to go to school. I wouldn't have been able to send my sister to school. My family and my community have been transformed because of what Compassion did in partnership with my local church.

I am grateful to God and thankful to those who chose to make a sacrifice to come alongside us and gave us the opportunity to realise our potential. The 5-year-old me, the boy from the slum, would never have believed that I would one day graduate from university with a Masters in International Business. Compassion sponsorship empowers a child whose circumstances limit their opportunities.

First-hand reflections on The Compassion Experience

Seeing some of the recent comments this week about The Compassion Experience have made me feel disappointed. I have been through the experience myself, and I would highly recommend it to families or individuals. I believe it has been created and presented with great empathy to those in poverty.

The stories in The Compassion Experience celebrate human life and promote the message of equality. They are real life reflections on some of the complexities of poverty exploring issues such as access to healthcare, education, disability and security at night.

Having been born and brought up in a slum community myself, I have experienced poverty first-hand. And I can say with confidence that The Compassion Experience does exactly what it says, 'Experience another world without leaving yours'. It gives us all an opportunity to see what life is like in other places that we may or may not get to visit in person.

The Experience gives an opportunity to be inspired by real stories of people who’ve been empowered. It gives you an insight into their incredible tenacity and never give up attitude. It shows how those born into poverty can change their lives and go on and change the lives of others.

I truly believe that The Compassion Experience gives us all an incredible opportunity to be encouraged and inspired by the stories of hope that it shares. It shows us that in today's world where the concept of poverty can be overwhelming because the scale is huge, change is possible, there is hope.

If you’re not sure about what to think about The Compassion Experience, I would encourage anyone to come and visit yourself. I might even see you there!