Child Sponsorship Highlight: Forced Neglect as Persecution

By Mia Sparr

01/19/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Becoming a doctor is nine-year-old Fady’s dream. However, living in a remote Christian village of Minya Governorate, Fady’s exposure to healthcare is limited. Any medical care he receives originates with his sponsorship through ICC’s Hope House.

In February, Fady completed a routine health screening with Hope House and discovered that he needed glasses. Neither parent attended his visit to the doctor, but Hope House staff supported Fady and provided the healthcare he needed.

In August, a second-round health screening unearthed a more troubling issue. Fady desperately needs surgery. The family faces an overwhelming financial burden, knowing that compromising on quality healthcare would cost three times less than at a private hospital. However, currently, neither are financially feasible for the family.

“I’m diabetic, so I depend on taking insulin in the morning and at night every day. Fady has to have surgery on his urinary tract. The surgery cost is 4000 EGP in a governmental hospital and 13000 EGP in a private hospital. I work few times because of my illness. I can’t get out of my house since March, as the doctors say I’m one of the ones who [is at higher risk of getting] infected with COVID-19. I have to wait and say home.”

Fady’s father commented on their health and financial situation, saying, “I’m diabetic, so I depend on taking insulin in the morning and at night every day. Fady has to have surgery on his urinary tract. The surgery cost is 4000 EGP in a governmental hospital and 13000 EGP in a private hospital. I work few times because of my illness. I can’t get out of my house since March, as the doctors say I’m one of the ones who [is at higher risk of getting] infected with COVID-19. I have to wait and say home.”

As an education-based effort, Hope House seeks to help Christian students meet grade levels through after school programs. To achieve his goal of becoming a doctor, Fady must continue to work hard and study. Unfortunately for Fady, his parents, and many parents in his community, rely on child labor in order to put food on the table. ICC found that during COVID-19, around 20% of families saw an increased reliance on child labor as the pandemic struck the communities severely.

This is what persecution looks like. Society often sees Christians as second-class citizens, resulting in the majority being poorer, less access to healthcare, and overall lower quality of life. Due to the lower quality of life, Fady finds himself in a situation of forced neglect. While Fady’s parents are present and attempt to care for their oldest son, they cannot afford most of his medical needs. Or even if they could afford a version of his surgery, they would be forced to accept lower-quality care.

Fady is also often task him with caring for his two younger brothers in his free time. As a result of Christians’ general standing in Egypt, Fady experiences the struggles and burden of an adult.

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 Fady, visit this page.

For interviews please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org

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