Compassion Equips a Leader to Fight the Injustice of Poverty

Compassion Equips a Leader to Fight the Injustice of Poverty

By: Brandy Campbell, with Henry Guarín in Colombia   |   Posted: November 15, 2007

A Colombian Youth Chooses Politics to Bring Justice for All
Oscar believes he will one day be the president of Colombia and through the support of his sponsor and his family, he is well on his way to achieving that goal.

Oscar, 12, lives in two worlds. There's his dream world, where he graduates from high school, goes on to law school, rises through the political ranks, and becomes the president of Colombia. Then there is Oscar's real world, where he never gets enough to eat, his older siblings drop out of school to work in factories and offices, and his single mother cleans homes for 12 hours a day to earn a few dollars.

At the C.D.I.Lucero Student Center(CO-331), Oscar's worlds collide. There, Compassion staff members help him deal with the poverty while encouraging his dream.

A Vision for the Future

Oscar has been enrolled in the Compassion-assisted student center since he was 5. While he knew nothing of the sobering education statistics about his community only 18 percent of children there will finish high school he did know that his own siblings had jobs instead of an education. Even as a child, he knew that education was a privilege.

And while Oscar didn't know what "injustice" meant, he knew he was sad that so many of his friends didn't go to school. He tried to teach them on his own, showing his neighbors how to count and spell. But as Oscar grew older, he knew that more must be done.

"I think that's when I decided I want to be a politician," he recalls. "When I saw the poverty all around me, I knew that I wanted to change it one day. I want to make Colombia a better place especially for children."

Oscar's Extended Family

Oscar's inspiration for helping children comes in part from his sponsor, Dwight, who began sponsoring Oscar just four months after he entered the Compassion-assisted program. For more than seven years, Dwight has offered Oscar prayers and support, encouraging him to follow his dreams, despite the odds.

Dwight has also served as a father figure for Oscar, whose own father abandoned his family when Oscar was a toddler. "I don't remember my father being here," says Oscar. "But Dwight and his wife and children are like my extended family. They tell me what is going on in the United States, and I tell them about my family and Colombia. I hope that one day I can meet them, and thank them for all of the help they have given me."

Fighting Injustice

Oscar still feels sad that so many of his friends have dropped out of school. But now he understands the meaning of injustice and he believes that God will give him the tools and knowledge to fight it.

"When I become a leader in Colombia, it will show everyone that through God, everything is possible," says Oscar. "People here think that because we live in this very poor neighborhood, we're never going to get ahead, we're never going to make it. And that's not true. We can make our dreams come true."

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