Good News! Coptic Orphans Is Growing and Hiring

Untitled design (56)
His Holiness Pope Tawadros II meets with Coptic Orphans employees and volunteers in Cairo.

Do you want a career where you can grow professionally and make a difference in the lives of orphans and widows in Egypt? Coptic Orphans has openings for dedicated professionals who want to join a team that has been working to improve the lives of Egypt’s most vulnerable children for over 25 years. 

Here is how His Holiness Pope Tawadros II assessed Coptic Orphans in 2013, when, in a great blessing, he held a special meeting with staff and volunteers in Cairo:

I’m glad to have joined you in this ministry… I regard it very highly… administratively it’s excellent. Ten out of ten. From the practicality angle, and perceiving people’s unique needs, ten out of ten… it’s a good example of management that I hope one day the Church structure can emulate.

By God’s grace, we’re growing and inviting applications from skilled, professional candidates for these positions:

United States (Fairfax, VA)
Donor Relations Director
Human Resources Manager
Human Resources Associate
Communications Associate

Canada (Montreal)
Donor Relations Associate 

Australia (Sidney)
Donor Relations Associate

Egypt (Cairo)
Human Resources Manager
Area Program Manager – Upper Egypt, Lower Egypt
Operations Director
Translator
Field Coordinator – Middle Egypt, Lower Egypt
IT Associate
Programs Director
Field Coordinator – Minya

United Kingdom (London)
UK Regional Manager 

For a full listing of our open positions, please see our jobs page.

If a friend, colleague, or family member has the right skills and passion for one of these positions, please forward them this blog post or share this link with them through Facebook. Thank you, and may you and your family find the blessings of Christ’s Resurrection during these Holy Fifty Days!

A Refuge in Egypt: Marking the Holy Family’s Flight on June 1st

160601_June 1Dear Friends,

Today is such an important day: The marking of the day our Savior found refuge in Egypt, and blessed our land and people. June 1, when we reflect on the Flight of the Holy Family, is an incredibly meaningful day for all Copts. So I’m excited to share, once again, the reflections of Dr. Joseph Faltas. Dr. Faltas holds a Ph.D in Philosophy from the Faculty of Theology, Athens University in Greece. He also has a postgraduate degree from the same university in Patristic Studies, and he has spent over 30 years conducting highly specialized research on the early Church fathers. Dr. Faltas has worked with the Orthodox Patristic Center; beyond this, he led the Ecumenical Studies Unit of the Coptic Center for Social Studies, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate. I’m very grateful for the Church history and wisdom that Dr. Faltas shares with us on an almost daily basis; it shapes our work for the children.

— Nermien Riad

Fleeing … Escaping

On the fast-approaching date of June 1, our Coptic Orthodox Church throughout the world celebrates one of its seven minor feasts of Christ: the Feast of His Entry into the Land of Egypt, escaping from Herod.

The minor feasts of Christ commemorate events of Our Lord Christ’s life. The Church always sets them before us to enhance our spiritual life and our salvation, so that we live as Jesus did.

The Holy Family sought refuge in Egypt to avoid the evil wrath of Herod, who killed the infants of Bethlehem. However, the advent of Our Lord Christ to the Land of Egypt granted it divine peace and reassurance. Everyone who believes in Him will always live in peace regardless of all circumstances; he’ll be a witness to the living faith of the Mighty God, the Pantocrator.

Christ’s Flight to Egypt

We wonder: If the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt was an escape, was it then an indication of Christ’s passive flight? Certainly not; it was a temporary escape from evil, an initiative of His salvation of humankind and an overwhelming blessing to the entire world. This escape resulted in having a faithful people and Church across the ages — a deep-rooted faith in Egyptians’ hearts, especially among ordinary people. His escape proved to the contemporary world their devotion to Him, who fled for them. Indeed, there is not a trace of doubt associated with His blessed flight.

An Alternative Escape

In stark contrast with Christ’s positive escape, there is a negative kind of escape manifested in rejecting responsibility, cooperation, or even feeling for others. This kind of escape has nothing in common with Christ’s flight to the Land of Egypt. Hence, this type of escape implies a rejection of the blessings of the flight to Egypt, a flight which empowers large numbers of present-day children to avoid the darkness of ignorance. This is the flight that, through faith and the Church, enables girls and young women to stand fast against pressures to drop out of school, lifts up high achievers to pursue success, and supports fatherless families in leading a secure life, instead of escaping into the unknown.

Let’s celebrate Christ’s entrance into the Land of Egypt; let’s flee to the Land of Egypt and share together the rejoicing in His escape — for our sake, and for us in the Land of Egypt.

— Dr. Joseph Faltas

Coptic Orphans Launches B’edaya Microfinance Initiative Round III

Bedaya ceremony
Widows celebrate receiving their B’edaya microfinance loan packages at a private ceremony in Luxor.

I’m excited to share this news with the whole Coptic Orphans family: Round III of the B’edaya microfinance initiative for mothers has officially launched!

Coptic Orphans recently held ceremonies around Egypt honoring the 42 widowed mothers who will receive LE243,500 (US$27,400) in microloans for income-generating projects.

These mothers are heroes to all of us at Coptic Orphans, and by God’s grace, we’re honored to provide them with both microloans and coaching in entrepreneurial skills to develop their inborn perseverance, ingenuity, and business-savvy.

An Egyptian woman who wants to start a business faces barriers that would make Donald Trump cry. But Egypt’s widows face even huger challenges. How they dress, who they talk to, where they go — all of these are subject to scrutiny and control based on tradition. Frequently, they can’t even leave the house to work, even if their children are malnourished.

It’s exactly these hostile conditions that B’edaya is designed to handle — the everyday life of some of the most disadvantaged widows in Egypt, particularly those in remote villages. It tailors small loans to the needs of the mothers of orphans. The aim is to give them an opportunity to generate income, more ability to feed their children, and more control of their lives.

The 42 mothers were selected from among a pool of 143 widows whose children are enrolled in Coptic Orphans’ education-focused Not Alone program. Seven of the mothers are receiving B’edaya loans for the second time, after running and expanding their income-generating projects, and one is receiving a loan for the third time.

“When my husband died, I felt alone and helpless. I was about to sell his photography studio, because according to the traditions in my village, as a widow, I can’t run the business and deal with the public,” one B’edaya client from Kom El Dab’, Menoufeya said at the ceremony.

“After I enrolled my kids with Not Alone, Coptic Orphans representatives encouraged me not to sell the business, but instead to stand up for my right to work and raise my kids with pride and dignity,” she said. “So I re-opened the studio and ran the business to ensure a dignified life for my kids. With this new loan, I’m going to buy a digital camera so I can photograph weddings, which is very profitable in our area.”

Coptic Orphans launched B’edaya Round III in March, in order to honor International Women’s Day (March 8) and Egypt’s Mother’s Day (March 21), with the following three ceremonies:

• Ma3adi, March 4, to honor 12 mothers from Lower Egypt and Greater Cairo
• Bani Mazar, Minya, March 11, to honor 18 mothers from Middle Egypt
• Luxor, March 18, to honor 12 mothers from Upper Egypt

The ceremonies represent the culmination of nine months of preparatory work to ensure proper planning, training, and an effective selection process. At the events, loan recipients received their checks, took part in basic financial training, and were familiarized with additional details about B’edaya. The events also provided an opportunity for the mothers to network, share experiences, and trade contact information. Previous loan recipients appeared onstage to present their advice and experiences to the Round III participants.

“This is my second time taking out a B’edaya loan,” said a client from Ezbet El Nakhl, Cairo. “I started my first project two years ago with a B’edaya loan to sell bedding and bed sheets.”

“Back then, I was so shy and afraid to take the risk, but the Coptic Orphans representative encouraged me and I succeeded in overcoming my fears and establishing a strong network of clients,” she said. “From the income I generated, I was able to pay back my first loan, and renovate my kitchen, bathroom, and living room. This made me feel proud of myself for the first time. I’m taking out the second loan to expand my business by adding the sale of women’s accessories. I’m much better now at marketing and communicating with my customers, so they’ve ask me to sell them these things.”

B’edaya microloans are offered at 0 % interest for 26 months, with the first six months considered a grace period for loan repayment, followed by six equal installments spaced four months apart. The loans disbursed to each recipient vary in size according to the amount requested in the application process, up to a maximum of LE7,000. The amount is also subject to the assessment of the selection committee, which is made up of the Coptic Orphans program management team.

The LE7,000 ceiling is a significant increase compared to Round II, when the total amount of loans dispersed was LE91,000 disbursed to 29 mothers, with a maximum sum of LE4,000 and a 14-month repayment period.

B’edaya Round III encompasses 13 type of projects ranging from selling livestock feed (4), selling groceries (11), selling women’s accessories (2), selling fabrics, bedding, and sheets (1), selling cleaning products (1), raising and selling cattle (5), raising and selling poultry (3), selling machine-sewn products (8) running a photo studio (1), selling upholstery (1), selling shoes and accessories (2), running an ironing service (1), and styling hair (2).

B’edaya Round III activities in 2016 and beyond will include quarterly home visits to the entrepreneurial mother by Coptic Orphans staff and volunteers, who will monitor the progress of the projects and provide regular coaching.

B’edaya shows what we can do when we pull together, as a community, and set our minds on achieving dignity and self-sufficiency — not dependence on charity — for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Children who grow up in a household where B’edaya is working can see their mother in a whole new light, as a creative, hard-working businesswoman. This can make a huge difference for the whole family!

I’ll keep you posted as B’edaya unfolds further. All of us, as the Coptic Orphans family, are grateful to God for the blessing of working alongside these strong, determined mothers. They are role models for their kids!