Compass Children’s Charity started as Casa Alianza UK in February 1999, set up to raise funds and awareness for the Casa Alianza Latin American programmes in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The charity was founded in response to the senseless death of one child – 13-year-old Nahamán Carmona López – a street child kicked to death in Guatemala City by four police officers who found him sniffing glue on the streets to try and combat his wracking hunger pains. The inscription on Nahaman’s headstone reads ”I only wanted to be a child and they wouldn’t let me.”The brutal pain, torture and suffering inflicted on Nahamán because he was living on the streets shocked Latin American Rights advocates who came together, desperately wanting to end the senseless murder and suffering of children living on the streets. Since that time, we have worked to raise awareness of the plight of street children, supporting a number of programmes that have made a real difference in their lives, through street outreach programmes, education programmes, recreational programmes and advocacy programmes.
In 2016 our Trustees made the decision to apply for worldwide status to be able to campaign for the rights of street and at risk children worldwide. The name change to Compass Children’s Charity reflects this wider remit.
Latin America will continue to remain a priority region but we recognise that the issue for homeless and at-risk children and young people is changing and evolving. Homeless children living on the streets are thankfully declining; but the alternative situations they are finding themselves in are rising and are increasingly more harmful to their physical and emotional well-being.
We partnered with a Street Children’s Charity in Mombasa in 2017 and are currently helping to raise funds and awareness for street girls.
We have seen a steady rise of children and young people globally who are both victims and survivors of trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. We are also seeing increases in the number of migrant children and young people, refugee and displaced youth and those involved in gangs.
In order to provide the best response to children and young people, we need to work globally, learning from international best practice and fostering partnerships with reputable organisations.
We are very excited and motivated to bring our expertise and connections to bear for all street children everywhere – these children deserve the chance to” just be a child” – we hope that you are able to join with us to make that possibility come true.