Hope House Kids Dare to Dream
By Claire Evans
12/31/2019 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – A melody of voices floats through the hallways, followed by the rushed patter of children’s feet running into classrooms. Chairs scrape across the floor, while a teacher greets each child with a nod as she rapidly writes the day’s lesson onto the whiteboard. The gleam of pencils catches the hot Egyptian sun while the children finally settle into a rhythm of blurting out questions and scribbling notes. Another day in Hope House has begun.
These centers provide after-school educational programs for disadvantaged Egyptian Christian children suffering from discrimination in public schools. Their Muslim teachers in public school often abuse them, and spend less time teaching Christian children the subject matter. “He is hard and violent,” said one Christian student about his Muslim teacher. “He supports the other kids to fight the Christian kids. I don’t understand why he does this!”
Attending Hope House allows these children the opportunity to breathe—and by education, to dream. When one father was asked why he sends his child to Hope House, he responded, “I had to go [to work] at 10 years old… I want to see Hana educated and reach his dreams, and to have the chance I didn’t have.”
This year, nearly 300 Egyptian Christian children were enrolled in ICC’s Hope House program. Many of their parents share the same thoughts as Hana’s father. But for the children, Hope House provides more than opportunities for a better future. Hope House provides an opportunity for a better life—starting now.
“I love the Hope House Center because I love the teacher explaining the lessons to the students. I love the teacher who treats me well… She is so calm,” marveled one student, who is constantly verbally abused by his Muslim teacher in the public schools.
For Jessi, another Hope House student, her Muslim teachers marvel that a Christian student can be so well-educated. It is rare for Christians to be respected by their Muslim peers, but Hope House has given Jessi this opportunity. “Jessi has gone to Hope House for the last two years, and this helped her very much at school,” said her mother. “I remember one time the teachers asked Jessi the reason for making her very smart.”
This opportunity for a better life extends beyond the classroom. Teachers provide instruction on a number of topics: math, literacy, English, geography, history. They also provide wisdom and mentorship to students on basic life skills, all done in a way which seeks to encourage students in their Christian faith.
“I love when Hope House makes an activity day,” said Waleed, a 10-year old student. “[Me] and my friends learn a lot about many things, [like] how to paint and how we should treat other friends right. I love this place.”
Even the parents feel the positive impact of Hope House on their family life. The center’s staff care not only about education, but about the whole person. “I can’t believe there is someone who loves us this much,” said one mother.
“The kids can now express themselves, and they began to love studying,” added another. “This is because of the educational center.”
Hearing such positive praise from their parents encourages the children to chime in. One expressed, “I’ve learned how to make friendships and don’t be a bully with those who annoy us, and that we must have ambition! I want to be an engineer!”
Another added, “I’ve learned from playing to see my goals and achieve it. I want to be a teacher!”
Their voices melt together in one hopeful melody. With nearly 300 students attending classes year-round, Egypt’s Hope Houses are always full of life. The positive impact on their communities is felt by all. In the words of one center coordinator, “This year, Hope House did a great service for the children.”