Compassion International booted from India

Due to tension with the government, Compassion withdraws from India.

Lucas Weaver, Writer

As of March 15, the largest source of foreign aid to India will no longer exists within the country. India lost Christian humanitarian organization Compassion International after an astonishing 48 years of service. As Biola celebrates Missions Conference and students rededicate themselves to the Great Commission, the fight for India should be on the minds of all who attend.

a government-mandated crackdown

The closing of Compassion’s doors comes with a government-mandated crackdown on non-governmental organizations which receive foreign funding. More than 11,000 organizations have lost their licenses to receive foreign funds. Yet, none is as hard felt as Compassion International’s. Compassion is India’s largest single foreign donor with about $45 million a year in funds. It is a huge hit to an organization that has done so much for so many children in India. The closing of the doors will shut down 589 staffed development centers and eliminate aid to 145,000 children. This is more than any of the other 25 countries Compassion works in.

Compassion has made a huge impact with its $38 a month “sponsor a child” program. This program has fed and educated thousands of children and offered them opportunities they never could have otherwise had. There have already been 15,000 children cut out of regularly receiving funds of the 145,000. While these children are losing aid, Compassion is contacting their donors individually and asking them to transfer their donations to children in other countries. Hopefully the majority of this money will not go to waste.

“We have to figure it out”

The attack on Compassion has come from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has pushed hard against nongovernmental organizations who receive foreign funds. This move to end foreign aid began in 2011 when India changed its Foreign Contribution Regulation Act so that it could regulate NGOs it disagrees with philosophically. As this move was made it was an obvious shift toward a Hindu nationalism. Compassion’s executives have been fighting hard against the government but have had little success in even communicating with public officials. They instead have been negotiating with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a right-wing Hindu group that has no official governing power. Christianity is being forced out of India and in doing so, leaving millions impoverished. In an interview with Christianity Today, the CEO of Compassion Santiago Mellado emphasized this point: “India alone has just under 30 percent of the 400 million children who live in extreme poverty… We have to figure it out.” It is sad to see a government deny organizations tackling the issue of poverty within its own country.

As Missions Conference is upon Biola, the need for the spread of Christianity across the globe will be on full display. It will highlight the great work accomplished and the work that still must be done. India is a huge battleground for Christians and this setback for Compassion must not diminish the flame within India. It is a sad time indeed for an organization which has done so much good in a country full of need.

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