Since 1968, Compassion has worked with local partners in India to provide holistic child development for children in poverty. For 48 years, we have operated in India, helping more than a quarter of a million children break the cycle of poverty.
However, in 2011 the Indian government made significant changes to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which regulates nongovernmental charitable organizations’ reception of foreign funds into the country. These revisions allow the government to restrict Christian charitable organizations.
Because Compassion treats children’s spiritual health with as much passion and care as we do their physical and economic health, we work only through local church partners. In each of the countries where we work, we make needed adjustments to our programs to ensure we always comply with the local laws. However, a year ago, the Indian government issued an order against Compassion requiring prior clearance from the government before funds could be transferred to all our partners in India. We have never been offered an explanation for why this order was issued.
The difficult reality for people in India is also very sobering. The United Nations estimates that more than 30% of the world’s 400 million children living in extreme poverty are in India. Our deepest long-term desire is help these children, in India and around the world, who are living in such extreme poverty. We want to get back to serving the children of India.
In the past two years, the Indian government has contested a range of charities, both religious and nonreligious, which the government perceives as a threat. This list includes Greenpeace, the Ford Foundation, Amnesty International and a variety of others, large and small. We are not aware of a plan or provision to meet the unmet needs that India will now face on its own, especially for the very poor.
Simply put, India’s anti-Western and anti-Christian government is going to hurt India’s people. I understand national pride; I do not understand letting national pride hurt - and even starve - a nation’s people.