Child Sponsorship Highlight: Socio-Economic Persecution

05/11/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern)One year ago, then 9-year-old Khalaf daily faced bullies at the local public school. Mean-hearted children taunted him, mocked him, and even beat him. Khalaf’s village has a volatile history as tensions between Muslims and Christians affect even the children as they interact at school.

Socially, Khalaf was never accepted in his public school. His Christian identity made him an outcast and the constant bullying chipped away at his self-worth, leading to poor grades. School was a daily struggle for him as his parents encouraged his education but could clearly see what the toxic environment was doing to him. Even in these dark moments, Khalaf relayed to ICC that he sought to love and forgive his peers. Around this time Khalaf attended a special session to teach him about his emotions and healthy ways to express them. His teachers also taught him how to share his feelings with family and friends.

Economically, Khalaf and his family felt a financial impact from their Christian identity. As second-class citizens, his family had limited options for jobs and many of them were low-paying, particularly for those who are uneducated. In the fall of last year, Khalaf’s parents received a hefty reconciliation law fine, a fine paid to the village because of an improperly built home. The penalty was five times that of the family’s monthly income, which has already suffered greatly because COVID-19 prevented day laborers such as Khalaf’s father from finding work. While this fine is applied to the whole community, not just Christians, it is Christians who suffer disproportionately as they already struggle to meet their financial needs. Khalaf’s family eventually was able to work with the village to reconcile their debts.

This persecution as second-class citizens continues to affect Khalaf and his family. With poor finances comes poor nutrition as the family does not receive enough income to healthily and adequately feed their children. Sicknesses such as anemia are common for Khalaf and his Christian peers as a result.

When finances are particularly difficult, male children often must find means of supporting the family as well. Khalaf shared with ICC, “every day, I wake up early, buy the bread, then go out to play with my friends in the streets. I go to my [public] school and if there is no schooling, I go to the tailor, he teaches me his craft. Then I go to the center private classes then I get back to my house.”

“Every day, I wake up early, buy the bread, then go out to play with my friends in the streets. I go to my [public] school and if there is no schooling, I go to the tailor, he teaches me his craft. Then I go to the center private classes then I get back to my house.”

All of this is what prompted ICC to begin Hope House in 2016. Education is a primary tool that can be utilized to combat all of these levels of education. Hope House serves the Christian population of Khalaf’s village, primarily because they often receive lower-quality education in the public schools. Khalaf now can enjoy community with his peers and not feel threatened by bullies every day. Hope House places him in a context where he is accepted and cared for by his teachers who teach Khalaf his value.

Hope House also encourages their future economically by providing avenues for opportunities. Khalaf’s mother said of the center, “he got a lot of advantages as a result of joining the Center private classes. Now he can read and write better than before.”

The Child Sponsorship Program with Hope House meets these additional needs of the persecuted Christian family in Egypt. As a result of his participation and sponsorship, Khalaf receives nutritional food packages to help fight common sicknesses as well as payment of school fees, school supplies, bi-annual clothing distribution, medical check-ups, and more.

Khalaf’s sponsor shared with ICC about what it means to help support Khalaf, “Jesus said this; ‘By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another’ (John 13:35). Christ often reminded His followers that persecution will come to those who call on His name. If we, the members of ‘the Church’, are not in a position of persecution then Christ has put you in a unique position of opportunity to help those who are. By doing so we show the world that we are followers of Christ’s way, The Way, by loving His bride like He loved us. For me personally, it’s an honor to partner with Hope House to remind families and their beloved children that God’s kingdom still reigns through the world’s worst darkness.”

To learn more about ICC’s Hope House or provide a financial gift, visit this page. To inquire about sponsoring a child, contact ICC at icc@persecution.org.

For interviews please contact Addison Parker: press@persecution.org

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