Child Sponsorship Highlight: Becoming an Adult at Fourteen
By Mia Sparr
01/12/2021 Hope House (International Christian Concern) – At the young age of 14, child sponsor recipient Beshoy faces the daunting task of entering the workforce. Although higher education exists, his chances of pursuing a more specialized degree are slim. While speaking with ICC on why he feels compelled to enter the workforce over continued education, he says, “I always help my family. I arrange and prepare my house. I go to school for two days a week, the rest of the days I get out for work”. Before COVID-19 impacted their community, Beshoy worked nearly every day, often for a mere 94 cents a day.
Part of Beshoy’s struggle originates at home. Beshoy’s father is mentally disabled, often seemingly bipolar in his response to Hope House staff who visit offering aid. Throughout Beshoy’s time in the program, the father combatively denied the medical and food aid, then later requested assistance again when the family was struggling. The back and forth places Beshoy in an untenable situation with no clear communication of what his family or society expects of him. The need to provide for his family strips away his childhood and forces Beshoy into an adult’s role at a young age.
Beshoy follows in his older brother’s footsteps, working to pay off family loans while also trying to meet his family members’ needs. Speaking with Hope House staff, he says, “every morning, I buy the bread. I help my father at his work with pipes. If my Uncle Rafek asks for help, I help him quickly. I don’t say no to anyone.”
Beshoy’s situation, though troubling, does not immediately conjure images of persecution and religious freedom abuses. However, children of Christian families are susceptible to more nuanced forms of persecution. Whole generations suffer from persecution, with little to no voice to stop it. The abuse and neglect of Christian children in Egypt is a manifestation of the mindset that they have little to nothing to offer society and therefore not awarded the same benefits or even a normal childhood. Religious freedom violations cause trauma for many of these Christian children.
ICC’s Hope House and Child Sponsorship program does not merely aim to meet a struggling child’s physical and spiritual needs. Rather ICC’s prayer is that Hope House acts as a catalyst for lasting change in Egypt against religious freedom abuses by interceding into these Christian families’ lives and allowing opportunities that did not exist before. Beshoy received an education through Hope House and significantly improved his reading and writing abilities during his time. As a result of his sponsorship, he received a quality education that better prepares him for the workforce. Child sponsorship seeks to do the same for others like Beshoy before it is too late and adult-level burdens strip their childhood away.
ICC will be highlighting one child from our sponsorship program over the next several weeks, some of whom are still available to sponsor. To learn more about ICC’s Hope House or sponsor a child like Beshoy, visit this page.