Sacramento and Marin County Photographer

My blog post today is going to be a little different than usual.  Did you know that I donate at least 20% of all session costs and print orders to Compassion International?  Well, I wanted to give you a little inside look at what you are helping to support when you book a session with me.

This is Margaret.  She is twelve years old, a hard worker in everything she does with big dreams for her future.  She is my Compassion sponsored child and has been in the Compassion program since it began in her community when she was eight and a half years old

Compassion International | Naomi Harrison Photography 1(Margaret at age 10 holding treats she received for her birthday)

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A couple months ago, I wrote her a letter asking:

“If someone who didn’t know much about Compassion were to ask you what Compassion has done in your life, how would you answer them?  How have the program and the workers helped you and what have they taught you?”

I just received her reply, which she gave me permission to share, and this is what she had to say about the Compassion program.

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“The Compassion program has helped me a lot.”

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“The program has taught me how to set goals and plan for my future.  – Compassion sits down with each child at around age twelve and helps them set goals for their future and put in place a plan of action to reach those goals.

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“My physical health has improved.  My health bills and school fees are being borne by the project.”  – Compassion makes sure each child in the program is able to go to school by assisting with or providing tuition, uniforms, school supplies, etc . . .  They also provide regular physical checkups for the children and assist with health care costs as needed.

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“I can now play the keyboard, do some graphic design work and write you a letter.”  – Compassion provides lessons, activities and vocational training that the children would not otherwise be able to receive.  And those letters she writes me?  They are written in excellent English, her second language!

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“My appearance to church and other social gatherings have also improved due to gifts and other support I received from you and the project.  Now I go to church because I have a lot of dresses which was not so formerly.”  – In her culture, it is very important to dress appropriately for the occasion.  It makes me so happy that she can attend church and other events and feel proud of her appearance.

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Compassion International | Naomi Harrison Photography 2(Margaret with a church dress that she received three Christmases ago on the left; Margaret with dress fabric she received for her twelfth birthday on the right)

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“My mother is also in a business with the gift you sent her.”  – I sent a $75 financial gift to the family two years ago and it was spent on inventory for her mother to start a small market business, one which is continuing to grow and helps to provide for some of the family’s needs.

Compassion International | Naomi Harrison Photography 3(Margaret, her little brother and her mother with the gari (processed cassava) that was purchased for her mother’s business.)

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“Compassion has made me to know places like Cape Coast and Elmina Castles, Kokum National Park and International Stingless Bees Centre.”  – Compassion often takes the children on field trips to expand their horizons and teach them more about their own country.

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“Compassion curriculum has also taught me a lot about how to socialize, live a healthy life and show courteousness to everyone.”  – Compassion has culturally appropriate curriculum to teach the children about hygiene, simple ways to stay healthy (teeth brushing and hand washing after using the toilet as a couple examples), appropriate social behavior, etc . . .  lessons they may not be receiving at home due to the family’s lack of education or difficult and often desperate situations.  Compassion also often tutors the children in their school work.

Compassion International | Naomi Harrison Photography 4(Margaret and her friend Gloria, who is sponsored by a friend of mine.)

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“Today, Compassion is a household name in my community and it’s environs.”  – Because of the help and hand’s up that Compassion gives to the children and their families, Compassion is respected by the communities and sometimes even protected in dangerous areas.  In San Pedro Sula, perhaps the most dangerous city in the world, I have been told that the gangs there will not touch Compassion because they see the good they are doing with the children.

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“My teachers and workers are lovely people to live with and learn.  They visit us both at home and school.”  – Compassion workers visit the children’s homes to check on the family situation, see how the family is doing and how Compassion can pray for and better assist each individual child and family.

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“I can now lead devotion, preach, praises and worship and share the word of God with others.”  – The Compassion program is always run through the local church, by local people.  Children of all faiths or no faith at all are accepted into the program and while they are taught Biblical values and beliefs, they are not forced or pressured to convert.

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“I want to thank you Naomi and all sponsors and donors who have brought great joy and hope to the needy children/orphans in my country.  There are few project children who have not been sponsored and we are praying for them also to have sponsors.”  – Nine year old Enoch is one such child at Margaret’s project who is currently waiting for a sponsor:  http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/child-video-biography.htm?needKey=GH2320044

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This is a video that was filmed by Compassion at Margaret’s project about two years ago (in fact you can see Margaret laughing and sticking her tongue out for the camera at 1:23, she’s in the green patterned dress).

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If you would like to hear more about Compassion, you can learn about their sponsorship program here, or if you would like to help Compassion while receiving beautiful portraits, you can contact me here.

All photos courtesy of Compassion International.

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3 COMMENTS | ADD YOUR COMMENT
Yvonne Reynolds Naomi, wow!! What a wonderful letter, and I love your explanations with each of Margaret's points!
Naomi Harrison Hi Margaret, Margaret attends 232 and I have two other children in Ghana who attend GH801 and GH411. How fantastic that you are going to visit your children in Ghana! I'd love if you'd come back and tell me about it! I'm glad you enjoyed Margaret's words and thank you for taking the time to comment! Naomi
Margaret Lutley I am visiting Ghana in two weeks and I was wondering in which Center Margaret is a part of? Mine are in 204 and 304. Thank you for this great info to share with my friends and sponsors. Currently I sponsor 28 kids plus 7 others that I have had previously! I was featured in one of the Compassion magazines about my visit to the newest country for Compassion. Sri Lanka.