One evening at our hotel we got to meet Jonathan and Alexandra — two students who are part of Compassion’s Leadership Development Program (LDP). Both had incredible stories of how Compassion had helped them overcome poverty (through the CDSP) and was now helping them pursue professions; but there was something about Alexandra that resonated with me at a deeper level.

Alexandra had been a part of the more well-known Child Sponsorship Program, but rarely heard from her sponsors throughout the years. She seemed slightly disappointed with that, but more disappointed that they had not acknowledged her efforts. After some prodding, she told us that if she could meet her sponsors, she would want them to know that they would be proud of her and what she had accomplished. Alexandra not only wanted her sponsors to know that they helped her but she longed to prove that their support had been well worth it. And it had.

Alexandra had recently received her degree in Child Psychology and was counseling children and working out of Compassion’s main office. Complete strangers in Australia had sponsored a child from across the globe; now that same child was impacting the lives of hundreds of children in Ecuador.

I asked her, "If you could tell potential sponsors something — anything — what would you tell them?" "That we exist ..." she said, becoming overcome with emotions. Alexandra went on to say she is dumbfounded that people would send money to complete strangers, noting such action as an incredible act of faith. But she emphasized that she was real. Her brother and sisters, the kids she counsels, and her friends are all real people who are incredibly grateful for Compassion and for sponsors who are willing to help complete strangers.

They do exist.

Compassion’s Leadership Development Program

Jonathan and Alexandra are just two of the 150+ Leadership Development Program(LDP) students in Ecuador. The Leadership Development Program gives 1,700+ students worldwide the opportunity to attend a university and be participants rather than bystanders. But before students can become tomorrow's leaders, they must be sponsored. To learn more, visit

Here are the entire series of articles from Ben's trip to Ecuador:

  • A Fork in My Path
  • "If you could tell potential sponsors something, what would you tell them?" "That we exist."
  • It's a Small World After All
  • "We Exist"
  • Compassionate People
  • From Surviving to Thriving