Child Sponsorship Highlight: The Toll of the Pandemic

02/23/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) –2020 proved to be an immensely challenging year for Egypt’s Christians as 80% of Hope House families experienced an abrupt loss of income and saw a 20% increased reliance on child labor for family support. Yet even these numbers fail to communicate the emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, and especially the toll of losing a loved one. Such was the case for Kamel Eshak and his family.

Hope House attendee and child sponsorship recipient Kamel lost his dad in 2020 when he was only eight years old. A lot has changed for Kamel, his mother and five older siblings in the past year as a result. In light of his father’s passing, Kamel’s eldest brother stepped up for the family. His mother told ICC, “my husband is dead, so my 18-year-old son took over. He is able to afford our family expenses. Also, I work as a tailor… thanks God.” Fortunately for Kamel, he is able to continue his schooling and not enter the workforce at his young age. This is not the case for many other children in his village, including Mina who was also recently featured.

At the beginning of 2020, Kamel struggled with his grades but had notable growth in his Arabic classes. However, his family was unclear in their support of his education. Reputations of ineffective public schools, the need for more family income, or the view that education is not needed often cause these reactions. Due to COVID-19, Hope House and Egypt’s public schools shut their doors for several months to follow government protocols. Most children in Kamel’s village do not have the ability to do any remote learning, with a lack of internet and computer access. Kamel and others have lost nearly a year of schooling and though Hope House seeks to help them reach grade-level benchmarks, they are disadvantaged in access to the right tools.

His mother said of Hope House, “it's a better place for the kids. My son said that he learns all the subjects there and in the [public] school he doesn’t learn all the subjects. I'm upset because the center is closed... Thanks and I wish it run again soon.”

Now, one year later, despite the added challenges of the pandemic, the family is immensely supportive of Kamel’s education and his time spent at Hope House. His mother said of Hope House, “it’s a better place for the kids. My son said that he learns all the subjects there and in the [public] school he doesn’t learn all the subjects. I’m upset because the center is closed… Thanks and I wish it run again soon.” Not only is his mother supportive of her children’s education, but she is also pursuing her own education. Kamel’s mother attends the literacy classes provided by Hope House, aimed at helping mothers read and write and assist their children with homework, thus encouraging the whole family’s growth.

Hope House’s approach to persecution is holistic, addressing the whole Christian family. Built on faith-led principles and created for developing and growing the child, Hope House also meets the needs of families. Education at Hope House is one of the many ways that ICC seeks to bridge the gap for economically and socially persecuted Christian families. Would you consider partnering with us to sponsor a child like Kamel and invest in their future?

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 Kamel, visit this page.

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

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