Our Father’s Blessing for the Fatherless

Meeting with H.H. Pope Tawadros IISusanna stood with her head held high, telling her story to His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, hundreds of volunteer Reps, and Coptic Orphans staff at St. Mark’s Cathedral on March 31.

When she lost her father, extended family members took advantage of the family’s vulnerable situation. They grabbed the land and house left by her father, leaving Susanna homeless.

Then, a volunteer Rep from Coptic Orphans, who also serves at Susanna’s local church, started visiting the family. He not only helped them get their own home; he also helped Susanna stay in school. He connected her to tutors and provided the resources she needs to excel. The outcome? Nothing short of a miracle. Susanna is now pursuing postgraduate studies after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture.

Susanna gushes when she talks about her Rep. “I don’t just love him, I adore him,” she said. “He became like a second father.”

Susanna’s story is like that of thousands of fatherless children who participate in Not Alone, the flagship program of Coptic Orphans. They all face injustices after losing their father.

Everyone attending was moved by Susanna’s story. His Holiness commended Coptic Orphans. He began by saying, “When I started serving with Coptic Orphans,” reflecting on his experience integrating the services of Coptic Orphans to his diocese when he was overseeing the Diocese of Behaira.

“Coptic Orphans is a model that we hope all Church services can follow,” His Holiness continued. “Administratively, I give it 10 out of 10. [For] sustainability, I give it 10 out of 10.”

Pope Tawadros said at the beginning of his papacy that as a pope he will be “a father for all Egyptians.”

When he blessed Susanna and the work of our 400 volunteer Reps, he truly did show God’s heart of fatherhood to all, especially those who face injustices because they lost an earthly father.

What a magnificent day to meet with His Holiness and listen to his words of encouragement. Words that we will always cherish.

His commitment to the children and love for Egypt will drive us forward even more.

Thank you, your Holiness. Truly a Father for all Egyptians.

About Nermien Riad

Nermien Riad founded Coptic Orphans in 1988 after volunteering for an orphanage in Cairo. When she saw that most of the children had living widowed mothers who simply couldn’t afford to feed them, she gathered family and friends to sponsor children in Egypt. Today Coptic Orphans works through a network of 400+ church-based volunteers in Egypt, who visit fatherless families in their homes and make sure they get everything they need to unlock their full potential. That way, they don’t have to get married off as child brides, work as 10-year old family breadwinners, or go to live at an institutional orphanage.