Child Sponsorship Highlight: Back to School

07/27/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Like most children across the globe, 9-year-old Amira was not allowed to attend school this past year due to COVID-19 shutdowns. Even in rural Egypt, where public education facilities are already limited, it was no different and ICC’s Hope House was not allowed to run for much of the school year. Yet this did not stifle little Amira’s love for learning and once restrictions began to ease and Hope House reopened, she jumped at the chance to take summer classes.

I wake up, wash my face, I say hello to Jesus, and eat my breakfast with my mother. My father is not here; he works in Cairo. Then I study for a time and play.”

Amira had not always been such an enthusiastic pupil. When she first started in 2019, school was a bear as she could not read at all. She also struggled with self-worth and doubting herself. By the beginning of 2020 however, she could both read and write well, scoring at the top of her class. She has grown to know her value and become more confident. Due to the poor quality of public education and the discriminatory treatment Christians face, transformations of low-performance students are quite common at Hope House.

Holidays like Easter are a welcome relief after so many months of lockdown. On such occasions, Hope House often distributes special clothing, in addition to the monthly food package for children who participate in the sponsorship program. For Amira new clothes are almost as exciting as the holiday itself; “I woke up, wore my clothes, and washed my hands and my legs. I visited my grandma and my aunt, then I bought sparklers and played with my friends. The clothes are nice, and I loved it so much. I wore them on Easter and on the next day, it was like a wedding. Everybody who saw my clothes liked it so much and gave good compliments to me. I will wear it on the next Sunday, you will see me!”

“I will go to learn. I wish I can be an optometrist to help my mother. Her eyes are weakening day by day."

Amira’s family is certainly supportive of her education, unfortunately, this is not the typical attitude, and it does come at a price. Most Christian girls in rural Egypt abandon their formal education early as money is short and learning how to be a good potential wife is the priority in the minds of many parents as that seems to be the surest safe future for their daughters. In order to provide for the family, Amira’s father works in distant Cairo in construction so he does not get to see his wife or four children much. The inability for Christians to find work is common, separating family units and adding strain on them.

The purpose of Hope House’s Child Sponsorship program is to help families like Amira’s to keep their kids in school by not having to worry about the financial burden as much. It provides incentives like medical and nutritional support in exchange for attendance at the center. “I will go to learn. I wish I can be an optometrist to help my mother. Her eyes are weakening day by day,” Amira shared of her dreams and experience with Hope House.

Amira is currently unsponsored and has three older siblings that needed to be provided for as well, so while her family may be able to afford school now, there is no guarantee that she will be able to continue her studies should things take a turn for the worse.

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

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