A MOBILE roadshow that allows children in the UK to step into the shoes of a child living in poverty in the developing world has been launched by an international children’s charity, Compassion UK, to help children understand the challenges faced by millions around the world.
The charity launched the “Compassion Experience” in Bedford last weekend. The 4D-film roadshow, said by the charity to offer an “immersive experience”, tells the stories of Sameson, a boy from Ethiopia, and Shamim, a girl from Uganda, using the sights, sounds, and smells of their communities, as well as video-footage of the children.
Both Sameson and Shamim are “graduates” of the Compassion child-sponsorship programme, on which children are sponsored from about the age of three to 21. Shamim became deaf after contracting malaria as a child.
The roadshow was opened by the Minister for International Development, Alistair Burt, who is a supporter of child sponsorship.
COMPASSION EXPERIENCECOMPASSION EXPERIENCE
He said: “I’ve sponsored a child for over 20 years in different places in the world; so we believe sponsorships works and we see a need for it. We see it as an effective way of delivering support and changing the lives of children.
“This Experience is all about children. . . From what I’ve seen, the Compassion Experience will be helpful in people understanding a part of that journey that children make. We can help move children along this journey, by making sure they are healthy in the first place, supporting children to get a good education and later, to get a decent job to support themselves.
“I want to say a big thank you to all the children who are here. These are your friends; these are your brothers and sisters all over the world. If you stick with them, they will be your friends when you’re older as you work more closely together.
“As a country, you can be extremely proud that you are part of a generation that’s committed to 0.7 per cent of our Gross National Income going into development. It works, it’s important. But governments can’t address poverty on their own; addressing problems in our world involves the private sector, NGOs and all of us as people.”
About 370 children tried the experience over the weekend, alongside more than 200 adults.
The Compassion Experience roadshow will now go on tour to churches and schools across the UK.