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 we are helping children of prisoners live safer, healthier lives!
A moment of reunion during a prison visit facilitated by Prison Fellowship Cambodia
With COVID restrictions easing within prisons in Cambodia, the Prison Fellowship Cambodia team is once again facilitating visits for children in the program to visit their incarcerated parent(s). They recently took a group of TCJ children to a women’s correctional facility in Phnom Penh where they visited their incarcerated mothers — it was a time of overwhelming joy! For many of the children, this is their first time being able to communicate with their mothers in three years. Families are reunited and encouraged through efforts like these, making it more likely that parents will have a supportive community to return to upon their release. This is a key factor in helping prisoners rebuild their lives after incarceration and break the cycle of crime.
Click the image above to see children in Colombia with their new Scripture resources!
While safety, access to education, nutritious food and health care are all critical to ensuring that a child can reach their potential, spiritual engagement is the key area where the program makes an eternal impact. Through our partnership with Biblica, each child and caregiver in The Child’s Journey receives Bibles and age-appropriate Scripture resources in their heart language. The team in Colombia distributed more than 400 children’s Bibles last quarter, empowering those we serve to grow in the grace and knowledge of God’s word. Check out this precious video of TCJ children in Colombia expressing their gratitude for their new Bibles.
A caseworker from Prison Fellowship Malawi conducting a child home visit
Child home and community visits are key for program implementation and success for children in the program. These quarterly visits are an opportunity for the staff to meet with children and their caregivers, come to a full understanding of their specific needs and interact with other members of the child’s community. During these visits, program staff share their vision and work with the members of the community and promote healthy approaches to released prisoner re-integration. It is common for released inmates and their families to be rejected, stigmatized or even held in contempt within their communities. Interviews and meetings with community members help promote a change in perception about these families. Each quarter, the team in Malawi completes more than 700 child home visits.
Clenia’s world fell apart when her father went to prison. The oldest of five siblings, she did everything she could to help her mother, who was working tirelessly as the sole provider of the family. The Child’s Journey stepped in to ensure that Clenia and her siblings would receive essential care like education support, health checks, supplemental food and Scripture resources. But they didn’t stop there…
One evening, there was a raging storm. Clenia’s mother, Seraphine, rushed home as the rains pounded down harder. She began making dinner when she noticed rain dripping down the wall in front of her. As everyone sat down to eat, rainwater began to puddle on the floor and she rushed her children out of the house and into the violent rain. Just as they stepped outside, the walls of their house collapsed and their beloved home was gone. Clenia and her family had nowhere to go. The only posessions they had were the wet clothes on their backs.
The first person that Seraphine called was Clenia’s caseworker to let him know the situation. The caseworker escalated the matter so the family would be able to receive a quick intervention. Not only did Prison Fellowship Rwanda provide the family with a safe place to stay, but they assisted with repairing the family’s home, by fortifying the walls with brick and replacing their roof. Standing outside of their new home, Seraphine beamed, “My children are now safe and singing with joy. We can’t thank The Child’s Journey program enough. May all you have done be forever acknowledged by the Lord!”
Alphonse was enrolled in The Child’s Journey shortly after his father was sentenced to prison in 2016. He has always been active and friendly, frequently participating in community activities hosted by The Child’s Journey. However, his caseworker noticed that he was struggling academically. Program caseworkers are dedicated to assessing the unique needs of each child and creating a plan to ensure that they are receiving tailored support in their areas of greatest need.
She decided that Alphonse needed to receive one-on-one tutoring to assist with his studies to equip him to succeed in school. Since his mother could not afford to pay for any outside help, the caseworker scheduled a weekly appointment with the family to conduct the tutoring herself and worked to train his mother so that she could help him as well. After just a few sessions together, the difference was staggering. Once Alphonse began receiving tutoring at home, he began to excel in school. Because of this marked improvement, Prison Fellowship Togo added as a best practice for all of their caregivers to be trained to become involved in their child’s academic progress. Pictured: Alphonse and his caseworker working on his homework together
TCJ children attend an event where they are provided with de-worming medicine
Due to a variety of factors, including poverty and social stigma, children of prisoners often have difficulty accessing basic and necessary healthcare. This is why regular health checks are an essential service provided to children enrolled in The Child’s Journey. These health checks are comprised of giving an age-appropriate physical that includes recording the child’s height/weight, checking their eyesight, blood pressure and hearing, and making medical referrals for other observed medical needs. During these health checks, children may also receive targeted health interventions for medical issues that are common in their area. In Zambia, many children suffer the effects of having parasitic worms in their gastrointestinal system. This can lead to malnutrition while causing discomfort and illness. Because of the prevalence of this issue, children enrolled in The Child’s Journey in Zambia receive deworming treatments as part of their targeted health intervention.
Interested in learning more or helping even more children? CLICK HERE.
Those in prison are cast off from society, often vilified and forgotten. But when they are invited to participate in an eight-week course that invites them to learn about Jesus, why He came, and what it means to follow Him, they can regain a sense of self-worth and inherent dignity.
Amavi’s bad life decisions led to his arrest and serving a prison sentence in Togo. “I used to seal from others in my community regularly until the police finally arrested me,” he says.
When Amavi first came to prison, he noticed some of his peers inviting others to join a course. Then, they invited him. “I decided to accept and joined The Prisoner’s Journey course,” he says.
During the course, learned there was a better way to live life. “My eyes were opened to what my life was really like,” Amavi says, “so I gave my life to Jesus. Through accepting Him as my Savior, He forgave my sins and transformed me. I feel a deep peace in my heart.”
When Amavi is released from prison, he plans not to return to his old way of stealing from others. “I have learned that I must be patient and work to earn my pay. Jesus is, and always will be, my light.”
Because Amavi chose to accept the invitation to participate in The Prisoner’s Journey course, he will now be able to return to his community restored.