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ICC Note:
After 10 months of attempting to overturn India’s decision to ban their international funding, Compassion International is preparing to close down its operations in India. In a letter to donors, Compassion International explained all of the efforts made in an attempt to lift the ban, but none worked. India has decided to ban Compassion International because of pressure from Hindu nationalists who claim the organization is involved in religious conversions. The banning of Compassion International comes with the backdrop of rising religious intolerance in India. Open Doors USA has ranked India 15 on its World Watch List which is the highest rank India has ever held. 
01/18/2017 India (Christianity Today) – “We want to be honest with you, there is very little hope.”
So wrote Compassion International to its 130,000 sponsors of Indian children this past Friday.
One week after sharing the good news of four nations no longer needing child sponsors due to the passion of millennials, the ministry shared the bad news of another nation that will probably not need child sponsors due to government interference.
A little more than a year after the Indian government told Compassion that it could no longer receive funding from outside the subcontinent, the humanitarian organization will likely be closing its last operations there.
“Since we can no longer distribute funds to our field offices, we have just had to notify our India country staff that we must formally close our field offices in India by March 15,” Compassion told sponsors by email. “Should nothing change, that means an end to our sponsorship program in India in the next 60 days.”
Compassion, which has been working in India for more than 48 years, said it has tried everything in the last 10 months to stay afloat. The email listed its efforts, which include:

  • Seeking the advice of legal experts in both the US and India
  • Leveraging influential relationships, including US representatives and senators, the former US Secretary of State, the former and current ambassadors to India and the White House Office of Faith-based Affairs, as well as members of Parliament in the United Kingdom
  • Asking Compassion sponsors to pray and to write Congress (more than 35,000 letters were sent)
  • Testifying in front of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Leveraging personal relationships within the US and India

Compassion’s 580 Indian-staffed development centers care for more than 145,000 children. That’s only about 8 percent of the 1.9 million children assisted by Compassion worldwide, but also more than any other of the 25 countries where it works.
The Indian government objects to Compassion’s Christianity, according to the ministry’s testimony to US lawmakers. Hindu nationalists have put increasing pressure on Christians in India since the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014. The subcontinent has been steadily moving up Open Doors’ list of places where it’s hardest to be a Christian, from No. 28 in 2014 to No. 15 this year, the highest rank it has ever held.
“An average of 40 incidents were reported per month, including pastors beaten, churches burned and Christians harassed,” stated Open Doors. “Of the 64 million Christians in India, approximately 39 million experience direct persecution.”
There doesn’t appear to be a government plan to pick up Compassion’s care for Indian children. More than 1 in 3 of India’s 1.2 billion people are children, yet India spends less on health and education than comparable emerging economies.

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