The Child’s Journey®

Highlights from The Child’s Journey – May 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 | Education Support

Boys in Cambodia smile after receiving their new school uniforms from their TCJ caseworker.

Recent record-high temperatures have scorched crops and caused school closures across Cambodia, as overcrowded classrooms are deemed dangerous in the current conditions. Without support and supplies, children in impoverished circumstances face falling behind in their studies or being exploited by child labor. Because of you, vulnerable children of prisoners in Cambodia are receiving the support that they need to thrive. The team in Cambodia recently reported that 99% of children enrolled in the program received school assistance of some form this quarter. For the vast majority, this was school supply assistance, with more than 400 children receiving school kits that included essentials like notebooks, pens and pencils. Other children received new school uniforms and school fee assistance.

We can see these interventions making a tangible difference as 97% of school-aged children served by Prison Fellowship Cambodia advanced to the next grade this year.

COLOMBIA | Health Support

A child in Colombia receives a routine dental exam provided by The Child’s Journey.

As part of their ongoing effort to ensure that children remain healthy, the team in Colombia 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 necessary interventions such as parasite treatments and emergency medical care, the team regularly provides standard health checks for each child. Additionally, the Colombia team reported that 100% of children enrolled in the program received supplemental food packs this past quarter. Interventions such as these can be lifesaving for children whose families would otherwise be unable to afford a doctor’s visit or adequate nutrition.

Malawi | School Visits

Christina (center) and Frank (right) smile with their caseworker during a school visit.

Ensuring that a child is able to attend school is integral to opening the doors for them to have future opportunities. With the school year in full swing in Malawi, 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 equipped with the supplies that they need to thrive in their classes. It also allows for fruitful conversations with their teachers, who become part of a child’s ‘community of care.’ Over the past few months, the team in Malawi conducted 212 school visits and provided school fees for the 46% of enrolled children who needed them. 

RWANDA | Scripture Distribution

Caregivers in the countries that we serve are often unable to afford a Bible, as much as they may want one. Recent reports from our team in Rwanda shared that Bibles in the language of Kinyarwanda currently cost around $10, which may not seem prohibitively expensive until you consider that the average monthly salary in Rwanda is only $77. Prison Fellowship Rwanda recently delivered Bibles to families as they were completing the children’s Annual Progress Reports and shared this moving firsthand account of one caregiver’s reaction:

After sharing food packs and school kits, we told the caregivers that we had one more thing left to deliver, Bibles. They jumped, and others knelt and raised their hands. After distributing Bibles to them one elderly man kept his new Bible against his chest. I was curious why. He told me, ‘Son you have no idea what is like to raise children whose parents are incarcerated. This is one of the poorest areas in the country and we live here. Affording a Bible is a luxury and you can’t begin to understand. In a moment you are leaving and we will go back to our lives, to our struggles, but His Word stays here, with us.‘ 

Pictured: The caregiver holds his new Bible to his chest.

TOGO | Food Support

A family in Togo holds their food delivery.

With a poverty rate of more than 55%, Togo ranks as the 14th poorest country in the world. For families with an incarcerated loved one, the prevalence of poverty and malnutrition is even higher and children hoping for an education are often forced to drop out of school and either get married or go to work to help their families survive. The inflation of recent years has exacerbated this issue by causing the cost of food staples to rise across the world and Togo has been hard-hit by these effects. One of the areas that TCJ caseworkers monitor is ensuring that children are well nourished. Over the past quarter, Togo has provided supplemental food assistance to 94% of families enrolled in the program. These deliveries, consisting of staples such as rice, oil, maize and beans, are crucial to ensuring that families get the basics they need to support themselves.

ZAMBIA | School Support

Children in Zambia hold up their new school uniforms.

While Zambia has made significant improvements to school enrollment in recent years, nearly a third of children still drop out by the age of 14 due to an inability to pay school fees or purchase required uniforms. This has created a significant learning disparity between socioeconomic classes, which has been further widened this year as a cholera outbreak forced school closures. Schools in poorer areas were unable to afford government-mandated sanitation supplies and remained closed until more students were able to pay fees. Your support ensures that children in Zambian receive the resources, tools and support needed to thrive in school. Thanks to these efforts, 99% of children enrolled in The Child’s Journey in Zambia are currently attending school. Earlier this year, the field teams gathered supplies to create school kits and took measurements for uniforms to be distributed to children at community events and individual home visits. This quarter, the team in Zambia has been hard at work distributing these school supplies to children in their program. 

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