Highlights from The Child’s Journey – April 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 | Education Support
When a parent goes to prison, their children are at a higher risk of dropping out of school due to poverty. By empowering a child to continue their education, you are enabling them to pursue a brighter future by keeping them safe from child labor and ensuring that they have a crucial source of stability, safety and nutrition. Your support is providing hundreds of children enrolled in The Child’s Journey in Cambodia with school fees, school kits, uniforms and a community mentor to set them on the path to success. Such efforts close the gap of disadvantages that children of prisoners often face in school and minimize stigma from their peers. Pictured: A caregiver in Cambodia watches as her child uses his new school supplies.
COLOMBIA | Hope for Claudia
Claudia’s heart was broken when her daughter and son-in-law were arrested and taken to prison. Once again thrown into the role of motherhood, as she became the caregiver for her four young grandchildren. She took on extra jobs to provide for them, but found herself falling behind on bills and struggling to make ends meet. She prayed for God to make a way, even when she couldn’t see a path forward. Amidst her despair, an unfamiliar person came to visit – a caseworker from Prison Fellowship Colombia. Claudia was thrilled to find out that the children would receive services such as education support, healthcare, a Christian caseworker and Scripture resources through The Child’s Journey. “The Child’s Journey has made my grandchildren curious to learn more about God’s Word,” she shared. She had felt alone for so long, but now she felt like someone cares for her, saying, “I am so grateful to Prison Fellowship Colombia for finding my family and giving us hope. I pray blessings on them and on the sponsors of my grandchildren.” Pictured: Claudia surrounded by her grandchildren
MALAWI | Sponsored Child Spotlight: Ruth
When Ruth’s father went to prison, she and her baby siblings were sent to live with her grandmother, Cecilia. Cecilia worked hard to provide for their needs, but sometimes it still wasn’t enough to fill their bellies and give Ruth the supplies she needed for school. Despite Cecilia’s efforts, Ruth had no uniform, shoes or school bag. She made the three-mile trek to school barefoot, holding scraps of mail for paper and broken pencils. But Ruth is determined to get her education because she dreams of becoming a nurse to help others. When The Child’s Journey contacted her family in 2021, they knew it was an answer to their prayers.
Moved by Ruth’s determination and dedication to succeed, they quickly enrolled her into the program where she was matched with a loving sponsor. The Child’s Journey provided her with educational support in the form of tuition assistance, school supplies, a pair of shoes and a new uniform. Her caseworker shared that upon receiving the uniform, Ruth’s face reflected a passionate child who would do anything to achieve her goals. Ruth and Cecilia express their profound gratitude to Ruth’s sponsor and the dedicated team from Prison Fellowship Malawi for making her dreams a reality. Pictured: Ruth smiling with joy
RWANDA | Home Repairs
As the global economy struggles with inflation, many families in Rwanda are finding it even tougher to afford necessities like food, much less additional expenses like home repairs. One of the primary challenges facing children of prisoners in Rwanda is a lack of safe housing. Many caregivers, left to provide on their own, do not have the means to perform necessary home maintenance like patching roofs or fixing cracked walls. The Prison Fellowship Rwanda team inspects the home of each child during their quarterly home visits and takes note of any repairs that need to be done. The team in Rwanda is actively working to ensure that all of the children enrolled in their program are living in safe homes. For some, this includes completing tasks like patching holes in roofs, installing locking doors and repairing walls. Pictured: A member of the Prison Fellowship Rwanda team assisting with patching the roof of a TCJ child’s home.
TOGO | Scripture Resource Distribution
A group of children in Togo receive the Reach for Life Bible
The team in Togo is hard at work distributing Bibles and scripture resources to children and caregivers in The Child’s Journey. These resources, provided through our partnership with Biblica, are translated into the heart languages of the recipients. In Togo, Bibles can be prohibitively expensive, especially as the Togolese economy is reeling from soaring food costs that have left many families struggling to even afford necessities. In the photo above, teens in Togo received Reach For Life Bibles that include special lessons relating to young adulthood to serve as a resource for helpful, Biblical discussions during their mentoring sessions.
ZAMBIA | Caregiver Training
A group of TCJ caregivers join together for a child health and safety training event
Prison Fellowship Zambia hosts caregiver support groups and workshops for the caregivers of children enrolled in The Child’s Journey. Having a support network to share struggles, successes, and everyday life is vital for caregivers, as they often walk through incarceration of a family member and caring for their family with limited resources and community support. While the children are the primary beneficiaries of The Child’s Journey services, the program also seeks to empower and support their caregivers by providing them with training and fellowship. This holistic caring of the family provides an even greater foundation for the families to overcome economic and social challenges. Their most recent workshop centering around child health and safety training was attending by more than 140 caregivers.
Interested in learning more or helping even more children? CLICK HERE.