Impacting countries one child at a time for the kingdom of God
The Child Care International team realizes that when you believe in a child’s potential, you don’t know what God can do with their future.
Jose Prem is the Executive Director of Child Care International (CCI), based in Surrey, British Columbia.
“This year we have expanded our presence in the countries in which we work,” says Prem. “We added a new school in the Dominican Republic and I just took a trip to Guatemala where we will more than double our presence there.”
These are two of the 10 countries in which CCI sponsors children.
“These are tough places, mostly on the outskirts of town where there’s a lot of violence, gangs, drug dealing and crime. We want to stop people going down this path. What better way to only do it when they are young and we begin to tell the gospel story to children.”
Last year, CCI focused on getting children back to school on a regular basis after the pandemic, as well as helping countries like the Philippians after their latest natural disaster, Typhoon Noru.
Partnership with ministries
CCI works with established ministries in Mexico, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Thailand.
“Most of these countries have evidence that shows there is a lot of poverty and in other places there is a need to share the gospel,” Prem says. “For example, take Thailand and less than two percent of the population has heard the gospel story.”
For a family to send their child to a Christian school in one of these 10 countries, they must pay school fees.
“Schools are functioning, are legal, and are operating in the best possible way. They are recognized in their community, so it’s not that we’re starting something new. We’re just joining hands and going with them. Local schools are the main protagonist in this story, so we just come to help them with training, finances and a boost in their ministry.”
What education does for a child
“It makes a huge difference to have a document or a certificate that says I have completed my studies. It opens an immense number of doors. If you don’t have that paper, then you are stuck in a very difficult reality .”
Children and adolescents who are out of school need to find ways to support themselves and their families. This could mean that they can only get low income jobs. Perhaps they are exploited or turn to crime for funding.
“Working with Christian schools is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you provide formal education, but on the other hand, you have the opportunity to share the gospel daily through devotions, camps and spiritual retreats. Usually a church is attached to the Christian school so the pastor is involved. In spiritual development, this gives the best results.
Prem says there is a ripple effect when people sponsor a child through CCI.
“The first effect would be on the school. Basically the sponsorship covers the child’s school fees. It also helps things like disaster relief, but the basic idea is to pay the school fees .Imagine there is a boy who is struggling to pay the school fees.Now we help the family because even if we pay for the school, the family is relieved because they have more money for school. ‘family unit’.
When several children in a school are sponsored, the teachers receive a regular salary and the school can improve its facilities and programs.
“In the future, imagine if a child reads a daily devotional and is given a Bible. At the same time, he receives all his instructions regarding mathematics, grammar and history. He stays in school for 10 years In the end, this child can become an important person in the community.”
Lives changed through sponsorship
Prem has seen and heard of the difference Christian education and sponsorship has made in the lives of children, as CCI has been involved in many countries for over 25 years.
“There was a graduate in Uganda, he works with the government to develop policies regarding health issues. He helps people to take care of their health. There is another person in Kenya who manages a national park with all these beautiful animals on safari. They ‘make a significant contribution to their society.’
Even kids who grow up and don’t have high-level jobs but graduate from the program experience a different kind of success.
“If they just become God-fearing men and women, they will affect their family unit. That’s when we’ll break the cycle of poverty.”
Prem explains that poverty often starts in the mind.
“It’s not just economic and financial. Poverty is also a state of mind. It’s accepting the message every day that you are not worthy and it will never be different. Bringing a message of hope break this cycle.”
For those interested, it costs $40/month to sponsor a child via ICC.
“Money is not the most important thing. The most impactful thing when you sponsor a child is sending a message to local partners on the ground that we believe in them, in their ministry and in their vision “This message is invaluable. The fact that we believe in you, that God bless you and strengthen you, is the strongest message and the most important thing that sponsorship brings to our partners on the ground.”