The Child’s Journey®

Highlights from The Child’s Journey – February 2024

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 | Annual Progress Reports

Children in Cambodia complete their Annual Progress Reports during a caseworker visit.

Cambodia’s Annual Progress Report campaign is underway! The team has been visiting each child to help them complete their report packet and take new photos. An Annual Progress Report is an update about children that includes a new photo and information about their growth and development over the past year. Children look forward to creating their new reports every year and sharing their recent achievements and future dreams.

COLOMBIA | Group-Based Mentoring

A group of children in Colombia gather for a mentoring session.

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 engage in mentoring sessions led 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.

Malawi | Health Checks

Children in Malawi complete registration to receive their health checks.

The Malawi team has been hard at work coordinating events with local health professionals to provide health checks. Helping children maintain their health and wellbeing is a key aid area for the program. In addition to providing nutritious food, necessary interventions such as parasite treatments, routine illness prevention and emergency medical care, the team regularly provides standard health checks for each child.

Regular health checks include:
– Recording the child’s height and weight
– Checking the child’s blood pressure, vision and hearing
– Giving the opportunity for the caregiver to ask the health provider any questions that they may have regarding the child’s health
– Providing illness prevention measures, such as deworming treatments
– Performing an age-appropriate physical exam
– Making referrals for any observed medical issues

RWANDA | Restoring Arianne’s Smile

Arianne’s upbringing was uniquely challenging. One of seven siblings, she also had an incarcerated father. Because of her family situation, she often felt shame and guilt. During her father’s incarceration, providing for the family’s basic needs felt insurmountable. “Depression seemed to engulf us,” Arianne said.

Amid this darkness, Arianne found light in The Child’s Journey program. Her program enrollment marked a turning point in her family’s life. The program covered her school fees, conducted home visits, connected her with peers facing similar challenges and provided food assistance. Arianne was also introduced to a spiritual mentor who helped her shed the shame and guilt she has long carried. “This assistance not only helped our immediate trouble, but also helped me begin to heal,” Arianne shared. Participating in the program has transformed Arianne’s life in ways she never thought possible. “I have evolved into a person who embodies values, respects others and has unwavering faith,” she said. “Today, I am filled with joy and happiness.”

TOGO | School Visits

Yawo and Kokou smile during a school visit from their caseworker.

Ensuring that a child is able to attend school is integral to opening the doors for them to have future opportunities. With children returning to the classroom after the holidays, caseworkers are once again conducting school visits. These check-ins are a way for the caseworker to confirm that the child is attending school, able to safely travel to school and that they are equipped with the supplies that they need in order to thrive in their classes. It also allows for fruitful conversations with their teachers, who become part of a child’s ‘community of care’.

ZAMBIA | Food Support

Caregivers in Zambia receive food supplies including maize, cooking oil and rice.

It’s no surprise that children of prisoners are at a high risk of poverty and hunger. Having a parent in prison often means that the remaining parent struggles as the sole breadwinner of the family. The volatility of Zambian currency in recent months has exacerbated this issue and caused the cost of food staples and fuel to rise above what many families in Zambia can afford. The Prison Fellowship Zambia team has distributed life-giving food support to 870 children enrolled in the program this year.

Interested in learning more or helping even more children? CLICK HERE.