The Poorest Countries in the World are Home to the Poorest Children

The world’s poorest countries are home to hundreds of millions of poor children in desperate need. The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than $1.90 per day, and according to UNICEF, 385 million of the world’s children live below this poverty line.1

The World Bank estimates that the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on economic growth will cause over 1.4% of the world's population (88 million to 115 million) to fall into extreme poverty.2 The first increase in the global poverty rate in more than 20 years,2 and a clear illustration for the connectivity and relationship between poverty and health.

Families and children living in extreme poverty in the world’s low- and middle-income countries lack access to clean water, healthcare, social services, educational opportunities and social capital. They are vulnerable, powerless and fear for their futures. An estimated 14,000 children under the age of five die every day, and more than half die from preventable or treatable causes.3 This translates into the unnecessary loss of more than 5 million young lives a year; half of which die in the first month of life.

The conditions that poor kids live in make a health condition that would be a nuisance to a child in the United States deadly to a child in poverty.

Providing Hope for Poor Children in Some of the World's Poorest Countries

The world's poorest countries are countries the International Monetary Fund ranks as having the weakest economic power. They are countries the United Nations categorizes as the poorest and weakest segment of the international community. Their low level of development is characterized by unequal income distribution, scarcity of financial resources and weak institutional support structures. Many experience political instability and internal and external military conflicts. The economies are largely agrarian, unproductive and not invested in. They rely heavily on exporting a few commodities which means they are highly vulnerable to trade shocks and economic crises.

Compassion works in eight of the world's poorest and least developed countries.* We bring hope to the children living in these countries through our holistic, long-term child development model, education and medical assistance programs, survival and youth development interventions and disaster relief efforts.
Make a donation to help address the spiritual, economic, social and physical needs of poor children in poor countries and provide them an opportunity to escape the generational cycle of poverty.
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Your donations are reserved into a general fund that can be used to provide for a variety of essential needs faced by children in poverty.

Donations to Compassion's Where Most Needed fund provide not only essentials and life-saving care, but resources necessary to accomplish our mission – including personnel, materials, buildings, and equipment. Your tax-deductible donation is stewarded by Compassion to provide for children around the world in immediate need.

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Clean water for drinking and showering, healthy food for those in poverty

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Provides medical visits, vaccinations, and counseling for children who have experienced trauma

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Supplies for schools and workshops, equipment and furniture for Child Development Centers

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How We Help to Educate

Compassion’s Educational Needs Fund helps children stay in school and learn valuable skills that enable them to be contributing adults in their communities one day. They may receive textbooks, uniforms and fees for labs. They may also receive tutoring with their homework, and spiritual and emotional support when things get tough.

Your donation helps to provide the essential resources for children to go beyond their primary education. Contribute today to keep children in school so they can grow academically and prepare for a successful future.

Desk iconClasses & Supplies

Textbooks, postsecondary courses, test and lab supplies

Soccer Ball iconRecreational Support

Playgrounds, libraries, and computer labs

Love iconNurturing Success

Literacy and financial training for caregivers and vocational training

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How We Meet Medical Needs

Despite progress over the past two decades, in 2018 alone, an estimated 6.2 million children and adolescents under age 15 died, mostly from preventable causes. Our top need for medical treatment continues to be respiratory care.

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Surgeries, transplants, casts, wheelchairs and canes, cancer treatment, hearing and eye care, and dental needs

Blue line icon of a heartEmotional Care

Counseling for children who’ve been injured in a traumatic accident, and funeral expenses in the worst-case scenarios

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We believe that the emotional, social, physical and spiritual development of young children have a direct effect on the adults they will become. From a mother's pregnancy through a baby's first year of life, Compassion Survival provides essential care that they need to survive and thrive. Moms may receive prenatal care and birth assistance. They also receive training and support to help their babies reach milestones that are critical in early development.

With the help of donors, Compassion supports more than 19,000 mothers and their babies each year at over 800 local church partners around the world. Each Survival center is staffed with warm, caring, knowledgeable individuals that serve mothers and babies extremely well. And when a baby reaches one year, it's a celebration! He or she is ready to be sponsored by a generous donor like you.

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Clean water, healthy food, vitamins, milk, diapers, and monthly growth monitoring

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Pre and post-natal care for mother and baby, critical medical resources, and immunizations

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Home visits, emotional & spiritual support, parenting workshops, one-on-one coaching, infant cognitive support

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World's Poorest Countries

Compassion International works with children living in several of the world's poorest countries, including Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Haiti, Rwanda, Togo, Tanzania and Uganda. These nations and others, including Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Central African Republic, have some of the worst conditions and the hardest circumstances for poor kids to survive. For the poor children living in these nations life is not easy or comfortable.

Poor kids registered in our child development program live in highly vulnerable circumstances. The thousands of local churches we partner with in low- and middle-income countries throughout the world help these vulnerable poor children by assisting with basic human needs for clothing, shelter, nutrition, water and sanitation. They address health care needs by providing medical visits, vaccinations, and critical care assistance, and they offer educational support to allow students to attend or stay in school.

In the world's poorest countries, opportunities to break the generational cycle of poverty are hard to come by. Your tax-deductible donation gives poor kids a chance and offers children hope, where before there was none. You donation will change how child poverty affects children living in extreme poverty.


1 "Child Poverty." UNICEF, Feb. 2020, www.unicef.org/social-policy/child-poverty.

2 COVID-19 to Add as Many as 150 Million Extreme Poor by 2021, The World Bank, 7 Oct. 2020, www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2020/10/07/covid-19-to-add-as-many-as-150-million-extreme-poor-by-2021.

3 "Child Mortality." UNICEF DATA, 11 Nov. 2020, data.unicef.org/topic/child-survival/under-five-mortality/.

* In 2015, the World Bank began phasing out the term "developing world" in its publications and databases. The use of the developed countries and developing countries categories was "becoming less relevant" with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and their focus on targets for the whole world.