KOLKATA, INDIA — As we observe World Hunger Day this week (Fri May 28), a recent report from the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) predicts a steep increase in food insecurity over the coming months across 20 ‘hotspot’ nations – with more than 270 million people at risk of starvation – doubling the pre-pandemic figure.
Christian international development charity, Compassion UK, is appealing for more support for children and families in the world’s poorest communities, to help them build resilience and alleviate the effects of lack of food and malnutrition.
The charity shares the powerful story of how one young boy broke out of the vicious cycle of poverty in the slums of India, after becoming a Compassion sponsored child.
Jane’alam, Sponsored through Compassion:
My name is Jane’alam and I was born and brought up in the city of Calcutta. I come from a small slum community of 10,000 people who share two toilets and one tap. The magnitude of the problem in Kolkata is massive with 1.5 million people living in slum dwellings and caught up in this vicious cycle of poverty. But change is possible and I know that because it happened to me.
My father found out about some people who were helping slum children. And he took me there and I got sponsored through Compassion. Going to the project was very exciting for me. There were lots of activities. We have songs and singing and dancing, so it was a very enjoyable environment. We felt really loved.
Everyday we would get a very good nutritious meal and life skills training really to equip the children to break free from the cycle of poverty.
I’ve never met my sponsor in person, but he wrote me letters constantly telling me that he loved me, he prayed for me, he cared for me asking about my family. I used to do paintings and sketches for him and write back to him as well and ask him about his place, his country and he used to tell me it snows in winter. It never snowed in Calcutta.
Over the years we’ve developed this relationship which makes me feel very loved and special. I was the first child in my community of 10,000 people to actually go to school. I think it really empowered me to make positive changes not just in my life but in my family and community as well. Very vivid in my memory is the time I taught my parents how to write their names. It’s usually the other way round.
I was studying for my final exams in high school and my father became very sick. He got malaria and within the span of a few months he passed away. It was a very difficult time in our family. I was very scared. I thought I would have to stop studying and work to support the family. But I received letters from my sponsor at that time saying God provides our needs and he will provide for us and that I should continue my education.
By God’s grace I managed to score the highest marks at my school and then I was offered an opportunity from Compassion of the Leaders program and that enabled me to go to university. I studied business. I did a Bachelors in business administration from Kolkata University. And then I got an offer from Manchester University. And in December 2014 I graduated with a first class masters degree in international business.
As I look back I’m very thankful to God for what He has done in my life, but I am very excited because I believe that he equipped me to make a positive change in someone else’s life. I have become a sponsor myself now and sponsoring a little girl who lives in a slum dwelling made up of abandoned drain pipes. I’m looking forward to writing letters and investing in her life and journeying with her to see how she flourishes and breaks herself and her family from the vicious cycle of poverty.
About Compassion UK
Compassion is a leading Christian children’s charity. “At our heart is a relentless passion to act on our compassion and empower every child left vulnerable by poverty. Our approach to fighting poverty is highly focused and personal. Since 1952, we’ve been giving children the opportunity to escape the suffering and fear poverty brings through our one-to-one child sponsorship model.”
“We’re with you in believing every child matters and deserves to be safe, fed, educated and empowered.”
Source: Global News Alliance, Breaking Cycle of Poverty on World Hunger Day