HAZARD — Compassion International, which is an organization devoted to releasing children from poverty globally, is bringing “The Compassion Experience” to the Hazard area Aug. 5 to Aug. 8. This event educates visitors about the realities of life in poverty, while also providing an international experience to people who may not ever have the opportunity to travel abroad to a developing country.
The event is hosted by Summit Church in the parking lot of The Forum at 101 Bulldog Lane in Hazard. Visitors will be led on a self-guided journey through the lives and stories of two children living in Uganda or Bolivia. Each child’s story starts in hardship but ends in hope.
The experience includes over 2,000 square feet of exhibit space, featuring replicas of the homes and environments of these two Compassion beneficiaries. The event is free and family-friendly.
“We built ‘The Compassion Experience’ in order to really bring the developing world to America,” said Mark Hanlon, Compassion International’s senior vice president of global marketing and engagement. “When people think of poverty, they often think of the lack of things, the lack of stuff, the lack of money. Those are all symptoms of poverty. The real issue of poverty is the lack of hope. Through our holistic child development program, Compassion stirs hope in children. And you’ll see that hope come to life at this event.”
The Compassion Experience is highly interactive, utilizing iPods and headsets so visitors gain a broader sense of what life is like in extremely poverty-stricken areas around the world where the World Bank estimates that 700 million (9.6 percent of the global population) live on less than $1.90 a day. In the areas Compassion serves, nearly one in five children die before the age of five, mostly from preventable causes, and 124 million children worldwide do not attend school, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).
With the Compassion Experience, visitors will have the opportunity to “change the story” of children living in poverty by learning more about the issue, as well as Compassion’s child sponsorship program, which tackles global poverty one child at a time. Compassion currently serves more than 1.8 million children in 26 of the world’s most impoverished countries.
Information for this article was provided by Chris Hoffman of Compassion International; CHoffman@us.ci.org
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.