Child Sponsorship Highlight: Mental Health Persecution
02/02/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Amira Reda, a child sponsorship recipient and attendee of ICC’s Hope House, is a smart, sweet 8-year-old who loves attending church and singing worship songs. When government COVID-19 restrictions allow Hope House to open, she always attends and then returns home to share what she learns with her family. Her parents enjoy learning along with her. Her father told ICC, “it’s very useful for us, Amira writes her lessons on the wall. We [were disappointed] of the center closure because of the coronavirus.”
However, beneath these exterior traits of Amira lies some rolling emotions, some too big for someone her age. Yet at the same time, she scored high on her routine testing for Arabic, English, and Math. About a year ago, Amira struggled immensely with understanding her self-worth and found herself swearing often. Thoughts of not being sufficient weaved through her mind and rooted deep.
International Christian Concern found that among child sponsorship kids, around 38% of them experienced depression or anxiety symptoms following the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Worldwide, many have felt similarly as their old lives vanish.
"[Hope House] is very useful for us, Amira writes her lessons on the wall. We [were disappointed] of the center closure because of the coronavirus.”
While some of these depressive and anxious symptoms are a result of lockdowns, some have a more complex history. Children of Christian families are susceptible to more nuanced forms of persecution, particularly under the view as second-class citizens. 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, going much deeper than any physical markings of persecution.
ICC’s Hope House attempts to intervene and meet not just the educational needs of the children, but also the spiritual, emotional, and mental needs as well. Just a few months prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hope House completed a training on how to express emotions in a healthy manner and how to process challenging situations. It is ICC’s prayer that Hope House acts as a catalyst for lasting change in Egypt against religious freedom abuses by interceding into these Christian families’ lives and starting to combat persecution at the individual level.
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 Amira, visit this page.
For interviews, please contact Alison Garcia: firstname.lastname@example.org