"We felt like our lives were over when our father died. But Coptic Orphans showed us there is more to life."
— Michael, speaking for himself and his younger brothers
Not Alone, Coptic Orphans' flagship program for over 10,000 fatherless children in Egypt, gives a child back the protection, provision, and confidence that he or she lost after a father’s death or abandonment.
Over the last 28 years, the Not Alone program has provided tens of thousands of children with the resources to break the cycle of poverty and become change-makers in their own communities. The program uses education to nurture each child's God-given talents and put them on the road to success in their adult life.
How It Works
The backbone of the Not Alone program is a network of over 400 church-based volunteer representatives (“Reps”). Each is nominated by their local bishop. They serve as mentors to the more than 10,000 children currently enrolled in the Not Alone program, which works in some of Egypt's most impoverished communities.
These specially-trained Reps visit each child regularly, addressing their immediate and long-term needs so that they develop academically, socially, and emotionally. The children are trained in literacy and other education-focused skills that help them study well, achieve good grades, and develop a well-rounded character.
Education for Success
2015 was a record-breaking year for the Coptic Orphans family: A total of 69 of our hard-working young men and women in Not Alone were awarded important scholarships!
Most striking are the achievements of particular eight youths in Not Alone. With the encouragement of their sponsors, the nurturing of their mothers, and the mentoring of Church-based volunteer Reps, these young people beat incredible odds to win highly sought-after LOTUS scholarships. These scholarships enable them to attend some of Egypt’s best private universities, including the British University and the American University in Cairo.
By God’s grace, their success marks the third consecutive year that Coptic Orphans participants — a tiny drop in Egypt’s ocean of students — have been awarded 10% or more of the entire year’s worth of LOTUS scholarships granted nationwide. But in 2015, the success of our young people wasn’t limited to scholarships. Nearly 33% of our youths who took the thanawiyyah amma final exam scored 85% and up, and almost 20% scored 90% or higher!
What lies behind these achievements, which are all the more meaningful given that Coptic Orphans serves children from some of Egypt’s poorest communities? Indisputably, the scholarship winners’ own intelligence, courage, and determination are the decisive factors. But along with those, another key factor in determining their success is the unique approach taken by the Not Alone program.
What Makes This Program Different
Thanks to our generous donors’ support, Not Alone is able to champion each child’s dignity and success in school. Furthermore, the access to quality education that we provide is just one part of a holistic approach to transforming the fatherless child’s life. Because housing, health care, and life skills are essential to academic success, Not Alone also tackles these issues. At the end of the day, staff, sponsors, and Reps unite to ensure that no obstacle stands between a child and their studies, so that they’re in the best position possible to succeed in school and later in life.
This is what makes Coptic Orphans and Not Alone different. Our goal is not to perpetuate the cycle of poverty by fostering dependence on handouts, but rather to equip kids with the education they need to take advantage of every opportunity. Here’s how it works: On the front line of Not Alone are the Reps. Each day, they tackle illiteracy, truancy, trauma, poverty, and early marriage, spending their limited time and resources ministering to orphans.
Every Rep comes recommended by their bishop. Through basic training, staff guidance, and quarterly workshops in vital skills, they develop loving mentoring relationships with their diocese’s Not Alone children. There are over 450 Reps, each with an average of 20 such relationships.
These relationships blossom during regular face-to-face home visits with the child. Through them, the Rep learns the challenges facing the child, as well as their God-given talents. Based on each child’s unique situation, the Rep creates a plan, with measurable goals, for the child’s development. The plan prioritizes building a well-rounded character, including a vibrant spirit of volunteerism.
For example, if a lack of basic necessities such as food is hindering the child’s academic progress, the Rep makes sure those reach the family. If, on the other hand, illiteracy is the obstacle, the Rep connects the child with tutoring to learn to read. The Rep includes the family in deciding how money is spent to meet their needs, and transfers skills to the mothers through coaching and special workshops.
Above all, Coptic Orphans works toward the independence of the child and family. While it is a privilege and a blessing to stand with them as they overcome their challenges, the absolute best thing for the Coptic Orphans family is the day when, through God’s grace, they no longer need us. With you, as One Body in Christ, the children continue making progress and reaching higher levels of academic excellence!
2015 Highlights of Not Alone's Impact:
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