Tuning in to a sense of compassion

Carolyn Aldis
Carolyn Aldis

THOUGHTS OF A FRUITCAKE: By Carolyn Aldis

So, on Friday I went to a coffee morning…no big deal, I know there are lots of charity coffee mornings, raising much needed funds. But there were a couple of circumstances that made this coffee morning a bit different for me.

For one thing, I am off eating wheat, sugar and dairy and so I quickly went past the wonderful spread of cakes and sat down. There were some toddlers bumbling around the room, playing with the toys and it made me smile, remembering the days of bringing changing bags, pushchairs, highchairs and all the rest of the stuff required for little ones.

Another thing is that the charity itself isn’t as well-known as some others and I wanted to find out a bit more.

Compassion UK provides money for children in developing countries, often by sponsorship. A donor gives a little money a month and that provides schooling, clothes and food for the child, who then writes and tells them all about their lives.

I know all this because my mother in law has done it for years, my friends have done it and I have had my own opportunity to sponsor a child.

A few years ago, I went to a concert where during the interval, the guy on stage started to hold up pictures of children that needed this type of sponsorship. As is often the way with these things, I was very keen to take a pack and excitedly told my children that this is what we were going to do. When I got home, I put the pack on a shelf, determined to look at it later that week, to get the process started.

Whether it was the fact it was near Christmas, or because every day was so busy with work and activities, or even just that it was something that would take time, effort and money, whatever the reason, that pack remained on the shelf until well into the New Year, by which time, the child had been sponsored by somebody else.

So I was keen to put some money in the pot, to support those on the ground to get the money to the people that need it; to do something straight away, fairly easily. I settled myself back onto the sofa, pleased to have done my bit. I noticed the TV was on and realised it was footage of the many children being sponsored, playing, laughing and eating their simple meal of rice and vegetables.

I watched as a woman came on the screen, with 3 children, one in a sling on her chest, one being carried and the other walking next to her. No pushchair, or buggy board and, astonishingly, she was using a crutch as the lower part of her left leg was missing, due to an accident as a little girl. Compassion UK has helped her learn to cook and provide for her children and I sat there, marvelling at how easy we have it by comparison.

It’s worth looking at this charity and seeing if there’s some way you can help…although I recommend doing it after Christmas…