Her life was about as difficult as one can imagine. Sixteen-year-old Hala lost her father in 2008. She was living with her mother and two siblings in Helwan, (near Cairo) on a mere 170 Egyptian pounds ($28) per month from her father’s pension. Her little sister was daily made fun of at school for being an orphan. Her brother ended up with the wrong crowd and became addicted to drugs.
When Coptic Orphans Rep Nadia came into Hala’s life, she found a shy withdrawn girl barely able to lift her eyes. Over the course of two years, Nadia worked steadily with Hala, showing her commitment by personally tutoring her.
But Nadia wanted to do something even more special for Hala. She wanted to fulfill a dream. And what was Hala’s dream? To visit the Library of Alexandria.
“Miss Nadia surprised me with this trip,” says Hala. “I think in any other program the servants would take us to places without asking us what we prefer, but in this program, they ask us what we want. The program helps us to fulfill our dreams.”
Hala will never forget that trip to the Library of Alexandria, or the wise and loving guidance of Nadia in her life. There are countless like Hala in Egypt, waiting for knowledge and the guidance to use it.
I find Hala’s story very poignant. Of all the things this young girl could have asked for, she asked to see the Library of Alexandria. This means that she was hungry for knowledge.
The Library of Alexandria was once the crown of a glorious Egypt. Today our motherland is struggling, but I believe we can regain Egypt’s glory if our children are educated and given the proper guidance so that they can use their education well.
I believe the Coptic community is the glory of Egypt, but that community is facing much turmoil. We must redouble our efforts to strengthen our children and to satisfy their thirst for knowledge. And then we will see the glory of Egypt.