Noirine Khaitsa is the Senior Manager of Sponsorship Product Support at Compassion International. She was herself born into poverty and here shares her first-hand testimony of how one local church and one sponsor equipped her to become a university graduate bringing change to children in poverty on a global scale.


“Through my work with the international child development charity, Compassion, I have seen that it is possible to make a difference to an individual, and through that individual, we can positively impact a family, a community, and eventually a nation. One person can decide to sponsor one child, but when that multiplies out and more of us decide to act, not only do we see transformation in one life, but the potential transformation across millions of lives.

In my role, I ensure that children sponsored through Compassion’s programme receive the support they need. We partner with thousands of churches in 29 countries to provide local-led interventions and create a support group of people around each child that truly cares about them. I’ve worked with Compassion for ten years now, but after completing university, I knew that I wanted to encourage children and families living in poverty, to tell them that there is hope, and that change is possible.

And I could tell them this because I had been there.

My testimony

I grew up in poverty. My mother was alone looking after her family of six and then eventually eight children. She was a primary school mathematics teacher in a township in Uganda, and as such wasn’t paid well. We struggled to eat, we lived in a tiny house, and all children slept in the same room. I would wonder why we couldn’t be like other kids in my class, who had the food they wanted, who always had enough books, who had a new bag and shoes for every school term. We were barely surviving. My mum was never really there because she left home when we were still sleeping to get to school early, stayed late into the evening to tutor and taught on Saturdays to get extra income. We didn’t have enough, and we also had to raise ourselves. That was my life growing up.

My mother found out about the Compassion sponsorship programme through a church announcement. My immediate younger brother and I were both registered, and it changed our lives. I graduated from the programme, went to university and now help to lift other children, like me and my siblings, out of poverty. None of this would have been possible without support.

Witnessing transformation in others

There was one boy who was in the programme with me. As difficult as my family situation was, his was worse. His biological mother had passed on before he joined the programme so he and his brother were passed around to live with different relatives. He and his brother found food in the field and ate raw grasshoppers because they were never sure of eating at home. They made their own bedding and slept without coverings.

All this changed for the better when he was enrolled in the Compassion programme. He was able to go through school, he is now a Level Three Power Line Electrician, and he is able to take care of his family. I look at all these testimonies around me, personally and professionally, and I am motivated to know that we are contributing to the eradication of poverty.

Bringing change on a global scale

Because of the care of one local church and one sponsor, I’ve had an education. My siblings are I were able to make it through difficulty because of the support that my mum received from the community-led Compassion programme. Poverty has been cut out from our family tree and now I have the privilege of seeing this same transformation daily on a global scale as part of my job.

In my case, a child grew up to steer the programme that impacts millions of children across the world. I am evidence that helping an individual makes a difference.

How do you tackle a problem like poverty? Begin with a child >