Highlights from The Child’s Journey – December 2023
Without intervention, children of prisoners are susceptible to exploitation, poverty, dropping out of school and criminal activity. Together we can stand in the gap to keep them from falling through the cracks of society and giving them a chance for a brighter future beyond the cycle of crime.
Keep reading to see how together we are helping children of prisoners live safer, healthier lives!
CAMBODIA | Livelihood Support
A caregiver feeds her new chickens.
As part of their targeted support for families in The Child’s Journey, the Cambodia team takes a unique approach to helping them with nutrition and income. Through their livestock program, Prison Fellowship Cambodia provides families who are in need and want to develop their job skills with chickens and trains them on how to successfully maintain their flock. This provides families with an additional source of income, as they can sell the eggs at local markets, and it provides the children with more supplemental nutrition. These substantial livelihood interventions are a key part of assisting families with establishing financial and physical wellbeing.
COLOMBIA | Food Support
Staff in Colombia prepare food packets for delivery.
It’s no surprise that children of prisoners are at a higher risk of poverty and hunger. Having a parent in prison often means that the remaining parent is left to be the breadwinner of the family. The inflation of the past year has exacerbated this issue by causing the cost of food staples to rise across the world and Colombia has not been immune to these effects. One of the areas that TCJ caseworkers monitor is ensuring that children are well nourished. Currently 97% of the more than 900 children served by the Colombia team are well nourished, and they are working hard to make that number 100% by delivering supplemental food supplies to families in the program.
Malawi | Mentoring Sessions
A caregiver in Malawi smiles during a caseworker visit.
When a parent goes to prison, the remaining caregiver often struggles as the sole provider for the family. This can strain the ability of the caregiver to have time to spend with their child. All children need a community of care in order to thrive, which is why community mentoring is such a key part of The Child’s Journey. Each month, children are visited by a local volunteer mentor. These visits can serve many purposes, like assisting with schoolwork, leading a Bible study, or teaching health and safety lessons. The children anticipate these monthly meetings and, for many, their mentors become part of a family to help them through this vulnerable part of their journey.
RWANDA | Child Health Trainings
Children gather for a health and safety training lesson.
Health and safety are crucial for all children, but children of prisoners often find themselves struggling in these areas due to economic and environmental factors. This is why Prison Fellowship Rwanda developed a health and safety training program that is being delivered in the communities of children enrolled in The Child’s Journey. This provides caseworkers with the opportunity to provide the children and caregivers with information and supplies to help them take precautions against illness and harm.
TOGO | School Supply Distribution
With a primary provider absent, families face new challenges and daily hardship, leaving many children of prisoners in Togo financially unable to afford basic school supplies. Your support ensures that your sponsored child in Togo receives resources, tools and the support needed to thrive in school. Earlier this year, the field teams gathered school supplies to create school kits to be distributed to children at community events and individual home visits. This quarter, the team in Togo has has been hard at work distributing these school kits to the hundreds of school-aged children in their program. Receiving an education is one of the essential building blocks to helping children realize a future beyond the cycle of crime. Pictured left: A girl in Togo smiles as she holds her new school supplies.
ZAMBIA | Scripture Resources
When Mrs. Kunda’s husband was arrested, she was overwhelmed with disbelief. “My husband was a prayer warrior, our breadwinner, a father, a family man and a very humble man,” said Mrs. Kunda. “Never in my life did I ever think this could happen. It really was a nightmare.” Unable to go to the police station that night because she had to care for their new baby, she visited him in jail the following morning. He told her that he had been caught in the middle of an altercation and one of the other men involved had died. Hearing this, she felt like the world had crashed in around her.
In the blink of an eye, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison and she was left to care for their three small children. Destitute and hopeless, the Kunda family was chased from their home and forced to move from house to house because they were unable to pay rent. The children were kicked out of school and humiliated by people in the community because of their situation. Mrs. Kunda was emotionally and psychologically hurt, especially since her family and her church were unable to help her. When she felt like she was out of options, Mrs. Kunda’s help finally came when she received a call from a caseworker at Prison Fellowship Zambia.
“Because my children are now in PF Zambia’s program, my hope has been restored and my burden has been lightened,” said Mrs. Kunda. Since their enrollment in The Child’s Journey, the Kunda family has received school, food and health support, scripture and Bible resources, and monetary gifts to buy a refrigerator and start a home business. Mrs. Kunda is also now a member of a local village banking group which helps her boost her business. Despite all the hardships the Kunda family has endured, God came to their rescue through The Child’s Journey. “God bless you and the works you are doing, you have changed our lives,” said Mrs. Kunda. Pictured above: Mrs. Kunda (center) stands with her two oldest children.
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