LONDON, Ontario (March 1, 2017)—Compassion Canada, a holistic child development charity, today confirmed that the global organization is taking steps toward ending its child sponsorship programs in the country of India. Compassion’s final day of operations in India will be March 15. Compassion International’s programs have benefitted more than 280,000 children and their families during its 48-year history within the country.
In May of 2016, India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) began blocking Compassion from sending money to its two country offices and 589 church partners throughout the country. The Indian government put Compassion on its prior approval list, which requires the ministry to obtain approval from the MHA for each transaction. But any requested approvals have been denied, hindering the organization from paying its staff or funding its programs.
For nearly a year, Compassion has sought every possible opportunity to resolve the situation, including the efforts of our U.S. partner to gain the support of American officials. Last summer, former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Indian officials on behalf of Compassion. And on December 6, 2016, Compassion International’s General Counsel testified before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee in a special hearing to bring light to the situation. However, the Indian government has not lifted its restrictions.
The decision to close its India operations impacts nearly 147,000 babies, children and young adults currently registered in Compassion’s child development programs, as well as 127 staff. Just over 4,700 Canadians sponsor more than 5,000 Indian children.
Barry Slauenwhite has served as President and CEO of Compassion Canada for 24 years. “This is a heartbreaking and unprecedented moment in Compassion’s long history in India,” he says. “I take comfort in the knowledge that local churches in India are not leaving. They will continue to serve vulnerable children in their country as God enables them. I’m also thankful for our sponsors, who have shown faithful love to these children over the years. This is a difficult decision, but I believe and pray that God will move to sustain all those affected.”
Compassion International has partnered with the local church in the developing world to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name since 1952. Today, Compassion Canada and its international partners work with more than 7,000 churches in 26 nations to bring care to more than 1.9 million children and families. Compassion’s is the only child sponsorship program to be validated through independent, empirical research. For more about the ministry, visit www.compassion.ca.
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