Child Sponsorship Highlight: Safe Space
04/20/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – According to Marina and her family, ultimate hope and comfort are found in Jesus. Nine-year-old Marina daily prays to Jesus and thanks Him for His provision in their lives. As a child sponsor recipient, Marina attends Hope House along with the other Christian children in her village. Last year at the beginning of the pandemic, Marina told ICC, “I love my family so much, and my neighbors. I pray to Jesus for saving us from coronavirus.” Her amazing, child-like faith is what motivates her and encourages so many around her.
Yet, at the same time, her faith makes Marina a potential target for persecution and harassment. Hope House provides a safe space for the village’s Christian children in a community with a history of intense division and potential for even violent flare-ups from tensions. Public schools are especially ineffective right now according to many Hope House parents because children only attend about two days out of the week. They visit Hope House the other days, where they receive quality education and care from their teachers. In public schools, children are exposed to microcosms of their larger society that places Christians at the bottom of the socio-economic totem pole. Marina told ICC about how she felt like an outcast sometimes, saying, “the others rejected me and told me not to play with them, but my friends accepted me and play with me and go with me to the Sunday school.”
“They didn’t learn reading and writing in the public school, but they learn it at the center. No one else provides the services that the center does. I trust them with my children’s education and transportation from the center and home."
At Hope House Marina finds she fits in and shields her from the persecution that may await her outside in the village. Marina’s mother also finds the center comforting saying, “they didn’t learn reading and writing in the public school, but they learn it at the center. No one else provides the services that the center does. I trust them with my children’s education and transportation from the center and home. They are the best!” With COVID-19 restrictions shortening the time children spend at public school, even the Egyptian government relies on programs like Hope House to further their youth’s education. Marina’s mother continued, “the best educational place for my daughter is the center, so she is in a safe place.”
With full support from her family, Marina attends the center as much as possible. She is encouraged to continue her education to prepare her for whatever her life may hold. She used to struggle with just memorizing answers without actually learning the content material. Now Marina continues to grow in knowledge and understanding. Marina expressed her desires to ICC, “I dream of being a painter. My mother saw the paints that I do and she liked them and encouraged me to paint more and more.”
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