Compassion International ended its child sponsorship programs in India on March 15 after serving more than 280,000 children and their families during its 48-year history within the country.
In May 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 reportedly sought every possible opportunity to resolve the situation, including gaining the support of U.S. officials. Last summer, former Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Indian officials on behalf of Compassion. And on December 6, 2016, Compassion’s General Counsel testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in a special hearing to bring light to the situation. However, the Indian government has not lifted its restrictions.
According to the ministry, 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.
Compassion hopes that it can one day resume working in India by serving the holistic needs of children living in extreme poverty there.
“Though we are saying farewell to Compassion’s current program in India, we know that God’s work has not ended,” said Compassion President and CEO Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado in a released statement. “The local church in India remains committed to serving children living in poverty in their country. And the investment made by sponsors in their children’s lives has made a significant difference and will not be forgotten. We continue to lift up in prayer the children, families and staff who are affected by this difficult decision.”
By NRB Staff
Published: March 16, 2017