Child Sponsorship Highlight: Farming Over Schooling

By Mia Sparr

01/26/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern)Mina is an energetic and eager young boy who loves to care for his family. With two younger brothers, all his uncles, and their families living in one home, he always has someone around to play with. When churches are open in Egypt, he loves to attend, sing worship songs, and learn the Bible’s stories.

He recently celebrated his 11th birthday at the end of October. However, despite Mina’s young age, his family has been forced to rely upon him as a source of income, particularly following the economic fallout from COVID-19 in their village. Mina’s father lost his income for approximately two months during lockdown, and it was during this time Mina’s family sent him to work. Mina told ICC how he felt about working on Fridays, “I am upset because Sunday School is on Friday and it’s the day of work. So I usually go to the farms.”

Mina still attends Hope House classes at the center, but his family completely pulled him out of the public schools. As a result of COVID-19, public schools moved to only two to three instruction days per week. Mina’s parents decided he should spend his time working on the pepper farms that his village is known for, rather than being in school. His mother commented saying, “the [public] school’s teachers are not serious, and Mina goes to school two days a week. He prefers to work for the rest of the days of the week. A teacher in the school told us not to let Mina go to school. There is no learning for kids, so Mina focus’ on working on farms.”

“The [public] school's teachers are not serious, and Mina goes to school two days a week. He prefers to work for the rest of the days of the week. A teacher in the school told us not to let Mina go to school. There is no learning for kids, so Mina focus’ on working on farms."

Mina echoed this sentiment saying, “the teachers don’t teach seriously. Many kids miss the classes. I get so much learning in the center classes, more than in my school classes. I love the Arabic subject, and I dream of being a police officer.”

Overall, Mina tries to have a good attitude about working instead of attending school. His family describes him as sweet, cute and calm. He works with a willing spirit and still makes time to play with his friends after working in the mornings.

While his demeanor and attitude are blessings to his family, it is the sad reality that Mina is forced to pursue hard physical labor on farms instead of spending time on his education. Even if Mina did continue attending public school, many children find it insufficient to teach them their lessons. This economic persecution that many Christians face in Egypt trickles down to the youngest generations and limits their own upward mobility for the future.

By working on Fridays, Mina also misses the opportunity to attend Church school, thereby inhibiting his spiritual growth as well. Hope House provides education to fill this gap, with caring teachers equipping him with the necessities. While they study the basics of language and math, teachers also provide spiritual lessons to the children.

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 Mina, visit this page.

For interviews, please contact Alison Garcia, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org. 

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