Pastor's answered prayer as simple piece of technology opens up online learning for children in poverty

Pastor Luis and his wife Delicia standing outside their church with the internet antenna in the background.(Photo: Compassion International)

Children in the UK are experiencing huge disruption to their education but most have wifi in the home.  In impoverished countries, children who are already disadvantaged by extreme poverty face the additional challenge of having little to no technology at home. 

When Compassion International's church partner in Peru surveyed the local children and their families, they identified internet access for educational purposes as their most significant need. 

"We surveyed all the families to see how we can best serve our children during this time of crisis. We had already been following up with them, distributing food and hygiene kits. The results of the survey surprised us. Education and remote learning had become the biggest problem in our community," says Pastor Luis, whose church runs the local Compassion centre.

Purchasing internet plans for all the families was not financially viable for the church, so after some prayer and discussion with the team, Pastor Luis decided the best solution would be installing their own internet antenna. 

With even the antenna being a significant cost for the church, they weren't sure how they would make it happen.

"We didn't know what the outcome of our proposal was going to be. We knew it was expensive, but we never lost hope and trusted God to provide through Compassion, who always look out for the wellbeing of our children and our community," says Pastor Luis.

Compassion helped the centre to buy a simple internet antenna for the local community and it has proved a gamechanger, allowing the children to continue their education at home through virtual classes.

Pastor Luis explains, "Having internet these days is essential for the development of children and youth in all their activities.

Romina, 7, can keep up with her homework more easily thanks to the wifi.(Photo: Compassion International)

"We're very grateful for the opportunity to see this happening in our town. It's a dream come true.

"We believe in sharing the gospel through both words and actions, and now all of the 426 children registered at the Compassion centre will receive the internet service for free."

Before the antenna was installed, Romina, 7, and her five-year-old brother Santiago had to share their mum Ana's phone to do their school lessons. 

Ana was forced to spend precious money originally intended for food on expensive data that was often unreliable and would run out after five days.

"My daughter used to get upset and cry many times, saying she couldn't do it. I did my best to help, but it's not the same as having face-to-face classes with her teaches. It was frustrating," said Ana.

"As a parent, it's heartbreaking to see your kids struggle. Now with the antenna installed, my daughter had a video call recently for a test with her teacher and she passed. She was very happy."

Now Pastor Luis and the local authorities are working together to offer affordable internet plans to everyone in the village.

The money they make from the plans will go towards covering the cost of maintaining and operating the antenna.

Pastor Luis is excited because the expansion of wifi in the village hasn't just helped the children. It also means more people can access the church's online services. 

"Thanks to this partnership, we know our children will be more be prepared to make the most of every opportunity in the future," said Pastor Luis.

"We're also excited about families getting online to hear God's word from now on. Many of them missed our church meetings and devotionals because they didn't have Wifi."