The Child’s Journey®

Highlights from The Child’s Journey – September 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 | Health Checks

A group of children gather for a health check event facilitated by Prison Fellowship Cambodia.

The Cambodian 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:

– Taking records of 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

COLOMBIA | Mentor Visits

A Prison Fellowship Colombia mentor meets with a group of her mentees.

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.

Malawi | Scripture Resources

Click above to hear a girl in Malawi read John 10:14-15 from her new Bible in the language of Chewa.

The team in Malawi 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 Malawi, Bibles in the language of Chewa can cost the equivalent of an average month’s salary, making them prohibitively expensive for many of the families that we serve. This is especially true as the Malawian economy is still recovering from the aftermath of Cyclone Freddy, which left many families struggling to find and afford basic necessities. In the video above, a girl in Malawi reads from her Reach4Life Bible, which includes special lessons relating to young adulthood. These lessons serve as a resource for helpful, Biblical discussions during monthly mentoring sessions. 

RWANDA | Sylvie’s Story

At 9 years old, Sylvie’s life was turned upside down after her mother was arrested. Her father and grandmother continued to do everything they could to ensure that she and her three siblings were provided for, but they still struggled to provide adequate school fees for all of them. Sylvie’s father agonized over the prospect that his children may not be able to go to school, despite his best efforts.

Fortunately, later that year they were visited by Prison Fellowship Rwanda and enrolled in The Child’s Journey. As part of the program, the children’s school fees and supplies were covered. They have also been visited regularly by caseworkers who provide training on subjects like health, safety and spiritual resilience. “Prison Fellowship Rwanda has been a great blessing to us,” said Sylvie. “It has changed our lives and helped our family develop.”

Through the support of their sponsors, Sylvie and her family have been able to purchase things like new clothes and shoes for all of the children. The team at PF Rwanda has also been hard at work making sure that the family lives in a safe, stable home. They replaced the roof, added rooms, purchased furniture and installed electricity. They also helped the family purchase cows, goats and pigs in order to help them create a small business that provides more financial stability in their daily life. Sylvie’s father has faced many difficulties raising his children on his own, but now knows that he is not alone.

“I have no words to express my feelings, only God knows how happy I am,” said Sylvie’s father. “It is amazing to see how you take care of my children. Thank you again.” Pictured above: Syvlie holding a new pair of shoes purchased through a gift from her sponsor

TOGO | Supplemental Food Deliveries

A family in Togo smiles as they receive a sack filled with food staples like cooking oil, rice and maize.

Children of prisoners are already at a higher risk of poverty and hunger. Having a parent in prison often means that the remaining parent struggles as the sole breadwinner of the family. Recent inflation has exacerbated this issue by increasing the cost of food staples above what many Togolese families can afford. The Prison Fellowship Togo team has distributed life-giving food support to hundreds of children enrolled in the program this year. They often use these distributions to provide additional items such as hygiene kits, school supplies and bicycles to students who live far from their school.

ZAMBIA | Home Harvest

Watch the video to see part of the sack garden training session in Zambia.

The Child’s Journey staff in Zambia recently completed training to bring Home Harvest to the families that they serve. Home Harvest is our new livelihood initiative that provides families with the materials and training to grow their own supplemental food gardens. The program has been welcomed by the field as a way to increase food security and provide caregivers with skills that can be translated into additional income for the families. Through such efforts, families can be empowered to make strides towards economic self-sufficiency and live healthier lives. Check out the video above to see part of the sack garden training session that took place in Zambia this summer.

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