By: Zoe Noakes   |   Posted: January 11, 2024

Unwrap the power of gift giving! Discover how you can send unique gifts that create lasting change in the lives of children in Compassion's programs.

5 Gifts You Might Not Know You Can Give

Unwrap the power of gift giving! Discover how you can send unique gifts that create lasting change in the lives of children in Compassion's programs.

Written by Zoe Noakes
Photos by Junieth Dinarte, Lina Marcela Alarcón Molina and Vera Aurima.
boy smiles while holding gift

Each year, my brother Sam sends a birthday gift to the teenager he sponsors in Haiti.

First, the young man's family used the gift money to purchase a goat. The next year, they bought another goat. Then the goat had kids. My brother’s gift had created a herd! More than that, the goats enabled the family to earn an income.

Sam didn’t know his gift would turn into a small-scale farm. By entrusting Compassion’s local staff and the young man’s family with the decision of what to buy with the gift money, the gift became more than a present — it created lasting change.

From birthday gifts to graduation gifts, there are several types of powerful gifts you can give to children in Compassion’s program.

Let’s unwrap their surprising impact together!

Birthday gift

woman gives gift to smiling little girl

Did you know that you can gift a birthday present each year to the child you sponsor? As well as providing essentials like clothing and food, birthday gifts are a source of joy and love for children in need.

"When we tell children, 'This is your birthday present,' it is incredible for them, as many children have never received a birthday present," says Pastor Enis, whose church partners with Compassion. "'I can’t believe this is for me,' they say."

For children living in poverty, gifts, parties or cakes are often unaffordable luxuries. Eldimar, living on the Colombian coast, knew this reality well and expected nothing for her birthday. But last year, a knock on her door revealed a beautifully wrapped package with a plump blue bow.

"This is a gift your sponsor sent you for your birthday," Pastor Enis told her. Eldimar couldn’t stop beaming. It was a birthday she will never forget, one where she felt remembered and loved.

"Sponsor, may God bless you for this gift," she says. "Thank you."

Family gift

Noel with mom and brother

If you’d like to bless the entire family, you can give a family gift. These gifts are often a lifeline, providing income-generating opportunities or meeting urgent needs. Throughout the year, you may give to the family of the child you sponsor.

A family gift changed everything for 9-year-old Noel in Nicaragua. He used to lie awake in the bed he shared with his parents and sister in his grandmother’s one-room home, imagining what it would be like to live in a place that didn’t let in rain and blowing dust. He pictured more space and a roof that didn’t constantly creak and groan. But all he could do was use his imagination.

"I prayed for the Lord to help me give my children a safe, loving environment to grow up in," says Petrona, Noel’s mother.

The family’s prayers were answered when Noel’s sponsor sent a family gift. Staff at Noel’s child development center worked with Noel’s parents to find out how the money could best be used, determining that a new home was needed. With the family gift, Noel’s father bought building materials and went to work building a house.

"I was so happy when my mom told me I would finally get my room," says Noel. "I used to sleep in a single bed with my parents and my sister, so when I saw the first blocks, I was so excited."

The day they received the gift marked a new beginning for Noel and his family. A year later, the house is finished, and Noel has a room of his own. Petrona found a job that helps her provide for her family, and a house where she now feels at home.

"I’m at peace now," Petrona says. "My children are living in a safe environment and a house where they’re protected from the rain and the wind. I feel comfortable and calm."

Center gift

Yorith sits on her new mattress

This lesser-known gift has the power to impact hundreds of children’s lives! When you send a gift to the Compassion center your sponsored child attends, local staff use those funds to meet their community’s crucial needs. It could be something children will use at the center, like a playground or computers, or something that supports the children’s families, like income generation training for caregivers.

For Yorith, the gift was an answer to her mother’s prayer. Each morning, the little girl would wake up covered in welts. Her mattress was infested with fleas and lice. Her mother, Bryannis, felt helpless. She couldn’t afford a new one. "Let us pray to God to provide us with a new mattress," she says. "He knows you need one."

When Bryannis visited Yorith’s child development center, a miracle occurred. "I saw many mattresses placed around," she says. "One of those was for Yorith! I cried with happiness. It was God's answer to our prayer."

A sponsor had sent the child development center a financial gift, which they used to purchase tablets, food baskets or mattresses (depending on needs) for each child who attends the center.

Yorith was overjoyed. "Since the center gave me my mattress, I sleep well," she says. "I do not want to wake up in the morning. I do not want to stop sleeping there. It is soft and comfortable."

Graduation gift

Toni pours chicken feed

During your sponsored child’s pivotal final year with Compassion, you can give a final gift to help launch them into a successful future. In Indonesia, Toni’s graduation gift helped make his dream of owning a chicken farm come true.

When he graduated from Compassion’s program, Toni had searched and prayed for a business opportunity. Sadly, the pandemic’s impact meant jobs were scarce. Then he received stunning news: His sponsor had sent a financial gift in honor of his graduation. "My mother was so quiet and crying when she heard my sponsor sent money to me," says Toni. "We were never expecting a big thing like this to happen in our life."

Unbeknownst to Toni, his parents had also saved money to purchase building materials for a chicken coop. His sponsor’s timely gift meant he could fill it with 500 baby chicks. Today, Toni is the only young man in his village with a chicken farm, and he’s helping support his family.

Gift Catalog

girl in dress stands by fountain

This is a gift catalog with a difference! Each gift purchased — whether it’s a cow, mosquito net, water well or Bible — is given to a child or family who desperately needs it. So, while you can’t give a catalog gift directly to the child you sponsor, you can be sure your gift is going to whomever needs it the most.

When you give a gift, staff and volunteers carefully steward your donation, locally sourcing, purchasing and delivering the gift to the family in need. After all, trying to overnight a cow yourself could be tricky — as this fun video shows!

Here are some of the surprising gifts you can give:

  • STEM Skills: Help a child or teen access high-quality education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math so they’re better prepared to obtain higher-paying work.
  • Protection from Parasites: You can prevent and treat parasites that rob children of nutrients, stunt their growth and result in their poor academic performance.
  • Birth Attendant: In low-income countries, less than 70% of new moms give birth in a hospital or with a certified birth attendant present. Your gift of a skilled birth attendant is one of the most strategic ways to protect the lives of a mother and her baby.

Thank you so much for investing in the lives of children living in poverty.

Gift a Goat

child smiles while holding goat

Provide a family with milk to drink or sell to earn money for other necessities.

child smiles while holding goat