SOURCE: Compassion International

Compassion International

March 25, 2010 19:50 ET

Compassion International Opens Sri Lanka

Compassion Sri Lanka Ready to Serve the Youngest of Children in Some of the World's Poorest Communities

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO--(Marketwire - March 25, 2010) -  Compassion International, the world's largest Christian child development and sponsorship organization, announced today the opening of its Sri Lanka office as it continues to focus on helping young mothers and their babies through the first critical years of life.

Sri Lanka, the 26th country in which Compassion International serves, has long been plagued by civil war, ethnic tensions and poverty -- with pregnant women, young mothers and babies being the greatest victims. Because of this, Compassion Sri Lanka will begin operations by supporting 14 Child Survival Programs in some of the poorest communities in and outside the capital city of Colombo.

According to UNICEF, in 2008 alone, 8.8 million children born in mostly developing countries died from primarily preventable causes including diseases that could have been easily treated or simple malnutrition. The Child Survival Program, which gets its funding from donors who pledge $20 per month, helps these youngest of children and their mothers to get a healthy start on life by providing proper nutrition and medicine where needed.

With the opening of Compassion Sri Lanka comes a new approach for the children's ministry as other Compassion-assisted countries had in the past first started with Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program, which works to permanently break the cycle of poverty for children through their teenage years. By first beginning with the Child Survival Program, it will be possible for many of these young children to later transition into the sponsorship program.

"Children should not die from something as preventable as malaria, influenza, or the common cold," said Mark Hanlon, senior vice president of Compassion International, USA. "By opening in Sri Lanka with our Child Survival Program, it will help the littlest amongst us get off to a healthy start, enabling them to grow up and become everything God intended them to be."

Compassion International (www.compassion.com) is the world's largest Christian child development organization that works through local churches to permanently release children from poverty. Founded in 1952, Compassion successfully tackles global poverty one child at a time, serving more than 1 million children -- pre-natal through higher education -- in 26 of the world's poorest countries. Recognizing that poverty is more than a lack of money, Compassion works through local churches to holistically address the individual physical, economic, educational and spiritual needs of children -- enabling them to thrive, not just survive. Compassion has been awarded eight consecutive, four-star ratings by Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.

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