Child Sponsorship Highlight: Levels of Persecution

07/20/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Daily tasks that many Westerners take for granted, like hygiene maintenance, take conscious effort for people like 11-year-old Waled Atef Gamil and his family in rural Egypt. Just before COVID shut down his village and the rest of the world, Waled and his family received hygiene training as part of his sponsorship with Hope House, teaching the importance of washing hands frequently and how else to care for their bodies.

Now several months later, Waled and his parents are still learning how to best manage their hygiene. When asked, he told ICC, “I take a shower every day, change my clothes, wear a face mask at the center, try to sit at home and eat more”. And yet all of these tasks require intentional effort and were often uncommon pre-pandemic. Especially as Waled tries to grow up healthy and strong, eating sufficiently and nutritiously can be a challenge. Waled’s participation in the child sponsorship program and in Hope House for summer school, means that when he is at the center, he can count on being provided a nutritious and filling meal or snack.

Poorer Christians in rural Egypt regularly struggle to provide sufficient meals to their children, resulting in common, preventable illnesses such as anemia and worms. Persecution for families like Waled’s means that society has relegated them to the lower rungs, leaving them unable to find enough work to sustain themselves.

“The center is the only way to teach the kids in time of bad schooling. You care for the kids and for their educational level.”

Waled’s father is a tanner. His mother commented saying, “our expenses are so much, and our income is less than before.” Regarding how he helps at home, Waled said, “I prepare all the orders for them, and I try to learn to shave in the day, to sew at night so that I know I want to. I love tailoring, and my parents have always encouraged me.” 

Waled also faces the challenge of being pulled in several directions, despite his young age. His parents need his assistance and benefit from his help with their small business. But the more time spent on the business, the less time Waled is able to spend on his education. He is a bright young man, scoring well above his peers on his exams. His mother commented to ICC that, “[the center[ is very useful. I noticed that my Waled teaches his older brother. Thanks for caring for Waled”. She continued on saying, “The center is the only way to teach the kids in time of bad schooling. You care for the kids and for their educational level.”

Child sponsorship seeks to provide incentives for families to keep their children in school so that education can help break the cyclical bonds of persecution in Egypt. Because participation at Hope House is required for the sponsorship program, families receive benefits like monthly food packages, medical care and special gifts throughout the year. Particularly this summer when public schools are closed, Hope House is providing critical support to help Christian children reach their target grade levels after falling behind as a result of COVID and limited educational resources.

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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