‘We Need to Do Our Bit to Give Them the Opportunities They Lack’ — Jessica Hanna Talks About Serve to Learn’s Children

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Dear Friends,
This summer I traveled around Egypt asking our kids “What would you like to be when you grow up?” “Doctor! Engineer! Pharmacist!”  were their answers everywhere I went. Our kids are smart, and they work hard to do well at school — in fact, this “a picture is worth 1,000 words” blog post from Jessica Hanna, one of our Serve to Learn participants, shows just how far some kids are willing to go to learn. Come to Egypt in January 2016 for the next Serve to Learn and spend three weeks playing with, serving, and teaching some of the world’s greatest kids!
— Nermien

Who’s in this photo?

This photo shows two of the Serve to Learn students sitting in the empty classroom in Tema during the July 2015 Serve to Learn session.

Where was it taken?

My classroom in Tema.

What’s happening in the photo?

These two children arrived after the class had finished. I asked them where they were and they told me they had missed the bus and took mewaslat (public transportation) 1-3 hours to the monastery just for class.

How did you feel when it was taken?

I was in awe of the efforts of these children to just come to a class that runs for less than an hour. And I was determined to make their efforts worthwhile—to make the most of the their time.

Why do you want to remember this moment?

It makes me appreciate all the opportunities for education that I’ve been blessed with.

If you could help people understand one thing with this photo, what would it be?

These children have the ability, aptitude, and willingness to learn. They are doing so much to do their part. We need to do our bit to give them the opportunities they lack.

Interested in learning more about Serve to Learn? Check out our page and video, which gives a snapshot of the program! 

If this “a picture is worth a 1,000 words” blog makes you want to read other Serve to Learn stories, here are Jessica Ayob’sPheobe Azer‘s and Ryan Wasson‘s. If that’s not enough, you can read Serve to Learn  interviews with ToniJohnGabyMinaAndyVeronikaDavidBen, Kirollos, MariamAlex, and Mirelle. You may also enjoy these video interviews with Nadine RoffaellPeter Wassef and Mary Loka.  Any questions you’d like to ask a real human being? Call or email Mira Fouad, who runs Serve to Learn, at 703-641-8910 or at mfouad@copticorphans.org

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.