Coptic Values Link Oz Kids to Egypt at St. Mary and St. Mina’s Book Fair

Not our standard Coptic Orphans uniforms, but useful costumes for a play!
Not our standard Coptic Orphans uniforms, but useful costumes for a play!

Dear Friends,
Today, I’m glad to share a report by Mary Loka, one of our donor relations associates. We’re grateful for the boost from St. Mary and St. Mina’s Coptic Orthodox College in Sydney, and to all our supporters in Australia.
— Nermien Riad

Book fairs have always been part and parcel of the childhood of anyone raised in Australia. It is a week where school children dress up as their favourite book characters, and celebrate by reading lots of books – a privilege many of the children in Egypt do not have.

So even while our Australia office is bustling with preparations for the 25th Anniversary Gala on Nov. 9 in Lilyfield, we were delighted to hear that St. Mary and St. Mina’s Coptic Orthodox College in Sydney wanted to donate the funds they raised during their book fair to Coptic Orphans.

Naturally, our team wanted to visit the children to say thank you, but as you can see from our photograph, it was also a good excuse for us to dress up and reminisce about our childhood!

Three of us were invited to make a presentation at the end of the book fair – our Australia office director, Nevine Iskander, my colleague Amir Shehata, and me. We thought there was no better way to present to primary school children than to perform a short play.

The play was about two children at a school canteen helping out another child who was new to the school and didn’t know it was canteen day. Although one child was reluctant to help and share their food, the other portrayed how sharing can bring so much joy and unity.

We later explained to them that in the same way, it is our Christian duty to help others in need. Guided by that principle, Coptic Orphans will use the money they raised to help children their age in Egypt who are less fortunate.

It was so amazing seeing how engaged the children were. We even got some feedback from one of the parents, who told us her daughter couldn’t stop talking about what she learnt from the play when she got home.

We’re thankful that the school raised more than AUS$400 for Coptic Orphans, and we hope to have instilled the virtue of sharing among the children. More importantly, however, we managed to connect these children to their roots more strongly, by making them aware of their friends in Egypt!

PS Did you know that, by the grace of God, we’re celebrating our 25th Anniversary with Galas in Australia, Canada, and the United States — and with the honored presence of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II in Canada, where he will accept the Leading by Example Award! We’re also growing and hiring — please share our job postings with all the skilled, passionate professionals you know! 

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.