Letter From Edouard Lassègue
Vice President, Latin America & Caribbean Region
We are living in an unprecedented time. The COVID-19 pandemic is an ever-evolving crisis that has impacted all of us, no matter the country. I will not mince words — our region has been hit very hard by the virus. Caregivers have found themselves without jobs, precious lives of loved ones have been lost, and the impacts are predicted to push the most vulnerable into deeper poverty for years to come.
I am reminded of a verse from Isaiah, that even in the wasteland, our mighty God can do new things. We can trust in him even when our path is rocky and uncharted. We can have faith that he will make a way. Isaiah 43:19 (NIV) says:
“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)
For Compassion Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), I believe he is still doing new things. The hardships continue, but I am so proud of our staff, donors, and volunteers who stepped up in tremendous ways this past fiscal year to serve the neediest. These stories deserve to be celebrated.
We have decided to do things differently this year. Instead of giving you a printed regional report, we are showcasing our fiscal year 2020 (FY20) highlights online. Our hope is that you will share this site with your friends and family.
When the pandemic hit, we knew we needed to shift our priorities to ensure we kept meeting the critical needs of our children, youth and their families.
Our first priority was to maintain household food security. Parents have lost their jobs and without an income, it is difficult to put food on the table. That is why we have delivered over 3,965,000 food kits to vulnerable families , as well as offering income generation skills and support.
We are also committed to the health needs of the children and families — providing medical supplies, masks and hand sanitizers. Since COVID-19 began, we have distributed over 2,020,000 hygiene kits. In Ecuador, you can read about a group of alumni offering telehealth medical care. We are also helping cover the medicine and health care expenses of children who have become ill – and so far, we have provided over $174,000 in health care support.
Child protection is also at the forefront of our minds as families quarantine in close proximity. We have led virtual tutorials and provided practical guides that address family conflict resolution and living together without violence. In Brazil, we had over 350,000 church, youth and family members participate in an online campaign raising awareness on fighting child and youth abuse.
The tutors and pastors are dedicated to delivering program content and engaging families in creative ways — whether through youth mentoring through social networks, hosting a virtual symphony, or parents co-facilitating lesson workbooks.
While we celebrate these accomplishments over the last fiscal year, we also acknowledge the pain and grief for the families who have lost loved ones, are battling illness, or facing economic uncertainty. Compassion’s commitment to releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name is more important than ever.
Would you pray for the Latin America and the Caribbean Region? I hope you are encouraged as you read these stories and learn more about how God is doing new things, even in the wasteland.
Vice President, Latin America & Caribbean Region
Read the Stories
At Compassion, we take child protection very seriously.
During times of quarantine, we know that children may be more vulnerable to abuse and violence at home. However, Compassion’s church partners are actively working with parents, caregivers, and children to educate them on preventing and reporting abuse.
Isolated Yet Protected
Vanessa Viotti, National Director of Compassion Brazil, holds a poster in support of the awareness campaign against sexual violence against children and adolescents.
Compassion Brazil has reached hundreds through their social media campaign, “Isolated But Not Unprotected.” Church partners are encouraging families to create videos, posters and songs that show how each family can play a part in the fight against sexual violence in their own home and their community.
Project Director Goes the Extra Mile
Project Director, Claudia, suffered from physical mistreatment in her youth and does not want other children to suffer. She explained, "What I lived through drives me to step in when I see a child being hurt, if someone is doing something bad to them, if there is an injustice."
Compassion Alumna and Project Director, Claudia has a heart for vulnerable children. In her 15 years of serving at Compassion’s church partner she has intervened in situations of child exploitation and abuse. As the only staff member from the center with permission from the authorities to move around the community, Claudia has been checking on each child, taking them food baskets, and spending time with them (at a distance).