02/16/2023 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Survivors of gruesome terrorist attacks have a long journey ahead of them after the dust settles from the bombs and loved ones are laid to rest. For the All-Saints Church bombing in Pakistan that claimed the lives of 127 and injured 250 churchgoers Sunday morning, September 23, 2013, many children were left to navigate the world as orphans.
The children lost parents, but ICC launched a school program to ensure that their futures weren’t stolen, too. ICC’s Generation Transformation program, borne out of trial and loss, gives long-term hope through education and job training.
Persecution, rooted in a prison of desperate poverty and political powerlessness, stems from generational educational deficits, job discrimination, and lack of access to capital. Education and vocational training can break cycles of persecution.
ICC takes the best and the brightest persecuted Christian children and gives them a top-notch education in private schools or provides vocational training to turn them into carpenters, plumbers, and electricians.
There are nearly 200 students in the Generation Transformation program – most are sponsored by donors. Almost ten years after the All-Saints Church bombing, our staff has walked with these children as they have grown up, discovered their passions, and developed big dreams.
“I lost my papa and mama when the [All Saints] Church was attacked in September 2013,” said Mariam. “I had no idea what had happened on that day as I was just about four years old. I have gone through very difficult times. Every moment I miss my parents. However, I am thankful to my guardians and ICC for supporting and taking care of me.”
ICC has been helping Mariam since the church attack.
“In the future, I want to be a doctor. A part of my professional career will be dedicated to the uplift of the needy and deserving people,” Mariam told ICC. “If ICC weren’t there to support me, I would have never gone to school because I lost my parents, and my relatives were financially not so good.”
ICC covers students’ tuition, books, uniforms, travel costs, and other educational expenses for the duration of their enrollment – funds go directly to the families, with heavy monitoring and reporting.
Churches, ICC staff in the country, representatives, and colleges and universities or peer organizations refer students to the program.
University students typically enter the program on a three-year degree path across a wide range of disciplines. Vocational students are either on a one-year or three-year degree path. The vocations include electrical, mechanical, welding, refrigeration/air conditioning, information technology, and carpentry. The funds for the academic year are released depending on when the students are accepted into the Generation Transformation program. ICC has partnered with other Christian organizations running educational programs and internships in Pakistan. These partners have expanded Generation Transformation to include vocations in media, broadcasting, writing, and more.
There are currently 115 university and vocational students receiving aid from Generation Transformation. The third intake of students is being planned for the second half of 2022, with more than 50 applications for university, vocational, and internship opportunities.
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