Child Sponsorship Highlight: Mental Health Education

03/16/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – ICC’s Hope House program primarily seeks to provide education to Egypt’s poorest Christians in an effort to break the cycles of generational poverty and persecution. However, because persecution is pervasive, working its way into every facet of life, Hope House would not be an effective tool if it only sought to answer part of the problem. As persecution weaves its way into the lives of Egyptian Christians, it is especially easy for children to see their status as second-class citizens and internalize that mentality.

One such child is Ibram Gamil, a Hope House attendee and child sponsorship recipient who just celebrated his 9th birthday on Sunday. Ibram often falls into this mindset where he adopts behaviors of low self-esteem and self-confidence. It can be hard in these situations to express his emotions, whether to his teachers or his family, not wanting to further reduce the status of his Christian family or the community. Fear and persecution push him to think “Is this who I really am? Am I not worthy of these things?”.

Ibram also struggles uniquely as he has an older brother who is severely mentally disabled. His mother relayed to ICC the family about Fadil’s health saying, “he gets nervous and harms us and the people in the streets… he creates problems for us.” Stigmas around mental health, both mental illnesses that some are born with and harmful mentalities that could lead to long-term issues, often prevent such things from being discussed.

“Thanks God for caring about us. May God help you reach to the others and bless this child sponsorship service."

However, Hope House seeks to give children the terminology to address these effects of persecution and the avenues to communicate them to family, teachers and counselors. From a spiritual perspective, Hope House educates children on mental health. A staff member said, “We divided the kids into workshops. The aim of the day is to get awareness of the child’s psychology and help them express what he’s feeling. Ibram received the subject with enthusiasm and welcomed the comments of teachers and (other) children on what they had learned.” 

Hope House teaches Ibram how to communicate his emotions in a healthy manner and with honesty. It also provides spiritual encouragement alongside its other educational facets. Ibram said, “I have learned so many things there. I memorized the Psalms there. In the summer were playing and painting there.”

“Thanks God for caring about us. May God help you reach to the others and bless this child sponsorship service,” Ibram’s mother concluded.

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 Ibram, visit this page.

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

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