Fatherless Children in Egypt Face a Dire Future
By Reda Khalil. Reda is on staff with Indigenous Ministries in the Colorado Springs home office. He is from Egypt and we asked him to share these issues from his cultural perspective.
What does look like to live as a fatherless child in Egypt?
Let’s look at what it’s like for children without a father to carry on daily life in Egypt (before they come into our Child Sponsorship Program). Living in Egypt with only a mother is a nightmare, because the children and mother are left to fend for themselves without the protection a father provides in a culture where this is a necessity. Often aggressive control tactics on the mother and her children are exerted by her husband’s family who will “allow” her to keep the children if she lives near the family and raises the kids on the family’s terms. This means the family decides everything for them (often not support, though) and the final word is from the grandfather or the uncle. As a widow, it isn’t easy to find a job to support a family. As a result, most of the orphan and half orphan children live in poverty, lacking sufficient food, medical care and education. A lack of food contributes to health challenges and as poverty encircles the families, some younger children must forfeit their education to work and help support the family. There’s more. Add to these burdens frequent physical and emotional abuse and religious persecution, and we are just beginning to understand the challenges widows and their children face.
How difficult is it to find a job or career in Egypt?
The right jobs and careers in the Middle East are not easy to find, and many are barely surviving. It is as if they are expected to open a path through a granite mountain. There are not many resources, chances or even the knowledge to find the right career. And if they find a job, it may not be enough to care for a family. We are taking this need very seriously as our young people age out of the IMI CSP in Egypt.
How is IM helping impoverished children?
One of the most effective ways to help these families is through monthly nutritious food supplies. Backpacks, school uniforms, school supplies and tutoring provided through the IMI CSP helps with a better education. The families are shepherded by a national IMI pastor – all of the children in this program have trusted Christ as their Savior – and each week meet with our IMI teams and the rest of the children in our program for fellowship and discipleship. This is a vital part of building belonging and identity in a society where they are largely “unseen.” Christmas parties and summer camps also bring much joy, relief and unity among the children.
What is happening to the kids who are aging out of IMI’s Program in Egypt?
Indigenous Ministries helps children who are aging out to find the right education, vocational training for jobs and careers. Some of our hard working children are now receiving college or university training in law, accounting and education. IMI provides scholarships for many of the children to attend English courses so they can get better jobs. Some are receiving vocational training in sewing, tailoring, cell phone repair, barbers, nail and makeup artists, tile installers…etc. We are thrilled to share that some have actually begun to tithe back into the ministry! In December 2021, one our boys who had just taken tailor training got a job in Cairo in a factory that is also providing housing. Many of these young people are serving the Lord in their churches and visiting and helping with the younger children in our program. God is doing great and wonderful things through your love, prayers and financial support and through our amazing teams. Keep praying for the education and vocational program in our ministry.