Every day in developing countries families struggle to make ends meet as they attempt to work, put food on the table, and gather clean water. While most Americans are not exposed to such hardships many organizations work toward the goal of improving the lives of people in impoverished areas.
One of these organizations is Compassion International, a Christian based organization that works to strengthen communities in countries like India, Kenya, and the Philippines. The origins of Compassion International begin in the 1950’s when Rev. Everett Swanson was on a preaching tour of South Korea. Swanson was so moved by the extreme poverty he witnessed he made it his life’s work to gather resources in order to improve the lives of those less fortunate.
The thing that makes Compassion international is the fact that they work on the micro level rather than the macro level to improve lives. Many organizations will work to build infrastructure and distribute goods trying to make modest but broad improvements. Compassion International works with individual children on a one on one basis to make a radical improvement in their lives. With this approach Compassion International hopes to improve outcomes and build up individuals that can serve to improve their own communities.
The other part of the mission of Compassion International is building awareness of the plight of children in developing countries. To that end Compassion International has created the Compassion Experience.
The Compassion Experience is a 2000 square foot mobile multi-media presentation where visitors will get an opportunity to become immersed in the life of a child in a developing country. Each visitor is issued an ipod and headphones they use so they can hear about the life of a child and their experiences all while touring full scale mock-ups of living spaces, shops, workplaces, schools, etc.
While touring the exhibit visitors will also hear about what Compassion International has done for children from the words of the children themselves. While the exhibit is family friendly there are actually two versions of the audio narration. One version is more child friendly whereas the second version will touch on grittier subjects such as drug production, mortality, poverty, child incarceration, etc.
The Omaha stop of the Compassion Experience will focus on the lives of two youths, Kiwi from the Philippines, and Jey from Kenya. Each child has their own story of struggle, faith, and transformation.
Let it be known that Compassion International is a Christian based organization, and the stories told by the children place a lot of emphasis on their personal faith stories and their belief in Christianity. However, the Compassion Experience seeks to be sure that visitors of any faith feel welcome and comfortable as the goal is to increase awareness of world poverty and show the difference each person can make to fight it.
While the event does accept walk ups it is strongly encouraged that visitors make a reservation in advance. There is no admission charge and the experience is climate controlled, covered, and wheelchair accessible. The experience will take about 30 minutes. More information about the event can be obtained at the Compassion Experience website at https://cts.compassion.com/events/622
WHEN / WHERE:
September 30-October 3, 2016
StoneBridge Christian Church
15801 Butler Ave
Omaha, NE 68116
- Photos Courtesy of Compassion International