"Dan Johanson, Welcome Home!" read the huge sign being held by a staff from Compassion International. After a long red-eye flight to Kenya, it was a comfort to have someone waiting for me. And to be welcomed as some kind of long-lost family member was a great feeling, though a bit strange too as I don't believe I have any African heritage. Nonetheless, the people of Kenya are wonderfully warm and hospitable despite the widespread poverty that most continue to endure. Working "on-loan" to Compassion was really a wonderful experience on so many levels. First, they are an organization that simply does no better job at demonstrating mercy and love to those born into poverty. With over a million children sponsored, Compassion is one of the bigger groups that provides weekly bible programs as well as meal programs, medical and educational resources. And if a sponsored child achieves certain academic scores, they even have a chance for a full university scholarship. My assignment in Kenya was to document a few of their scholarship recipients (see some profiles below) as well as their Child Survival Program in Tanzania - will post that later. Their stories are truly inspiring and a credit to the hard work of Compassion's staff and the sponsors that enable the ministry.
Once a sponsored child graduates from high school, they have the opportunity to apply for the Leadership Development Program, which provides a full four-year scholarship to any university. These are some of the LDP students I spent time with at the University of Nairobi.