Learning Against All Odds

Aziz* is often the only person in his classroom. “The teachers normally don’t show up, and the other students never come regularly. I come because I want to learn and better myself.”

In other parts of Egypt students deal with overcrowded classrooms. Coptic Orphans has discovered that education is the key to pulling families out of poverty. But the Egyptian educational system is giving few of our children a chance to succeed.

Aziz, an outgoing 17 year old, has been a part of our Not Alone program since he was only 12. His father passed away leaving him and his ill mother behind. Aziz has thrived in Not Alone despite these obstacles. His volunteer Rep encouraged him to set high goals for his life and education. Aziz received more encouragement and learned life skills to help along through workshops. We realized early on that we can’t change Egypt’s educational system. But we can invest personal time and effort into each of our children so they can overcome the great obstacles they face in school.

Aziz’s Rep connected him to private tutoring, the most essential key to educational success in Egypt. A national exam score in a child’s 11th and 12th grade year’s determines their career for the rest of their lives. Aziz is excited to take his exam this year and is confident he will do well: “…I will get a top score and become a doctor.”

With absent and underperforming teachers, children in rural areas of Egypt rely on private tutoring in addition to their regular schooling just to keep them on track for their grade
level. Yet tutoring is expensive: about 20% of an average household income, according to the Economist.

For fatherless families already struggling to put food on the table, tutoring is not an option. Coptic Orphans changes that.

We still have work to do. 50% of our unsponsored children are between the ages of 11 and 17: the critical ages for success on national exams. Supporting a child through sponsorship and letters provides encouragement along with opportunity. Sponsorship helps provide better tutoring, critical supplies, and additional support. It seems like such a simple thing, but youth in Not Alone tell us that knowing a sponsor is praying for them and cheering them on is one of the things that makes the biggest difference.

What would Egypt look like if all of our children had encouragement and a fair chance at a good education?


			

About Jarvis Jackson

Jarvis Jackson joined Coptic Orphans in 2010 because he wanted to use his creativity to help others. He has a passion for International Development and the Middle East. Egypt holds a special place in his heart after he spent six months at the American University in Cairo learning Arabic and Egyptian culture.