All posts by Nermien Riad

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.

Did You Know? Your Employer May Double Your Gift to Coptic Orphans — Here’s How

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Dear Friend,

Did you know that your employer may make a “matching gift” that doubles or even triples the power of your donation to Coptic Orphans?

Many companies match their employees’ gifts for tax purposes, to create good public relations, or to boost employee morale. In some categories of businesses, over 65% of the firms have some kind of matching gifts program — so chances are, your employer may.

Matching gift programs are simply an agreement under which a business matches its employees’ charitable gifts up to a certain amount every year.

Curious about doubling or tripling your gift? Below is a list of some major companies that include Coptic Orphans in their matching gifts programs.

If you work for one of these firms, all you have to do is ask your human resources rep, or whomever at your workplace is responsible, for a matching gifts form to fill out for a gift that you’ve already given. If you can’t find your employer on this list, you can email info@copticorphans.org and someone here will find out if the company has a matching gifts program that Coptic Orphans qualifies for.

To make things easier, I’ve linked each company below with its matching gift form or webpage, so all you have to do is click, fill out the form for your recent donations, and submit it to your human resources rep! They should take care of the rest.

ADP (Automatic Data Processing)
American Express Company
American International Group (AIG)
Amgen
Apache Canada LTD
Assured Guaranty
Avon Products
Baker Hughes
Bristol-Myers Squibb
Cigna
Cisco Systems
Conoco Phillips Canada
Deutsche Bank
Ericsson Inc.
Expedia.com
Fitch Ratings
FrontStream
Fujitsu Network Communications
Gap Inc.
General Electric
Goldman Sachs
Google
HSBC
Juniper
Liberty Mutual Insurance
Medco Health
Merck
Microsoft
Oppenheimer Funds
Oracle Corporation
Prudential Financial, Inc.
Pfizer, Inc.
Pitney Bowes
Salesforce
Thomson Reuters
Tudor Investment Corporation
Union Savings Bank
Unilever USA
VMware
Xcel Energy

Thank you for considering this way of increasing the impact of your charitable giving, and for your love, prayers, and support for the children of Egypt! If you have any questions, please feel free to send them to us at info@copticorphans.org.

May this Christmas season be one of joy and peace for you and your family!

Did You Know? Simply by Shopping at Amazon This Christmas, You Can Help Egypt’s Children Break Free of Poverty!

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Dear Friend,

Will you be using Amazon or other online retailers this Christmas? If you are, there’s an easy way you can make every purchase into a life-changing gift for orphans in Egypt.

Here’s how you can do it. Many online retailers will donate to the nonprofit of your choice just for shopping on their site. It’s free. All you have to do is choose which nonprofit your donation will go to. This year, you can choose Coptic Orphans, so that your Christmas generosity is transformed into quality education, health care, and many other benefits that help children grow up stronger and break the cycle of poverty.

Many online retailers offer this gift-giving, and each one is a little different. To make it easier, I’m listing a couple of the larger ones, so that your Christmas cheer reaches all the way to Egypt!

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Amazon Smile is simple. Every time you buy an item using smile.amazon.com, .5% of your purchase goes to a pre-selected nonprofit organization . You don’t have to pay a single extra penny. On your first visit to AmazonSmile, you will be prompted to select a charitable organization from a list of eligible organizations, search for Coptic Orphans and you’re good to go. But remember, this only works if you use smile.amazon.com, so add it to your favorites list!

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Love coupons? Try GoodShop.  It has coupons for thousands of different online stores, so it saves you money. And not only that, every time you buy something through GoodShop, they make a donation to a charity of your choice ! Save money AND change the lives of children in Egypt, what could be better?

Here’s how to use GoodShop:

1. Visit goodsearch.com, and go to the “How It Works” tab on the upper right of the page.
2. Select “Support a Cause” in the drop down menu.
3. Type “Coptic Orphans” when asked “Who Do You Want to Help?”
4. Register and create a user profile that allows you to track how much you’ve raised for the kids.
5. Use the GoodShop tab at the top of the homepage or go to GoodShop to visit their online shopping mall and browse through thousands of partner stores, including top brands in clothing, office supplies, gifts and more.
6. Click through to the store and shop as you normally would. You pay nothing extra, but a portion of all qualifying purchases will go to your cause.
7. 100% of the donation amount displayed on merchant’s GoodShop page will go to Coptic Orphans for the children.

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I’m just adding this one in because it’s a favorite of ours at the Coptic Orphans office. GoodSearch.com isn’t quite like the rest of these give-as-you-buy websites… it’s even cooler. GoodSearch is a search engine that donates 1¢ every time you search for something online. All Coptic Orphans staff members have been using GoodSearch and we’ve already earned enough to enroll one more child into our program for an entire year! It’s great to see the pennies add up into life-changing opportunities for our kids! Here’s how to make GoodSearch your search engine, and generate money for the kids with every search:

1. Visit www.goodsearch.com and — again, under the “How It Works” tab, and the drop down menu’s “Support a Cause” item — enter “Coptic Orphans” when asked who you want to support.
2. Create a user profile that will allow you to keep track of how much you’ve raised for the kids.
3. Use the search box on our homepage or download a Good To-Go add-on to search the Internet just like you normally would, with the added bonus that you are earning a donation to the children for virtually every search.

Two Blankets in Wintertime (Are Not the Most Wondrous Thing)

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Keeping her children warm is not the only thing that Salma’s been able to change since starting her business.

Imagine the sense accomplishment you’d feel at being able to buy blankets for your children when before they’d shivered on chilly nights. Furthermore, imagine being able to buy your kids a new mattress to keep them off the cold tiled floor of your home.

That’s the sense of accomplishment that Salma has — and she’s a widow who’s never before experienced economic empowerment.

Salma, a mother of two young children, lost her husband eight years ago in a traffic accident. Her troubles were compounded by health problems.

I met Salma in the Upper Egyptian city of Sohag, where up until recently, she and her family endured the brief but chilly winter nights as best they could. Her sense of what she had to put up with in life, though, has changed since six years ago. That’s when she got involved with B’edaya.

Using a small loan provided by the project, she started a hairdressing business in her home. B’edaya allowed her to develop her enterprise by buying modern equipment. With that boost, she went from having to travel to her clients, to having them come to her house for appointments.

“The equipment is what attracts the ladies to come to me,” she told me, showing off the neat wooden shelves where she stacks her hair dryer, combs, and hair care supplies.

“Salma is very wise in how she manages the profits from her business,” said Susan, the Coptic Orphans staff member who oversees Salma’s loan. Indeed, the money from styling her neighbors’ hair has purchased the new mattress and blankets that keep Salma’s kids warm at night.

This is all part of the B’edaya strategy, which emphasizes empowerment over handouts. For all of the widows who take out loans, the capital and the income it helps generate are good things. But the loan is only a catalyst — a means for Salma to harness her inner drive and latent abilities, and in the process, be transformed.

It’s especially important to focus on transformation in the society where Salma is from, because traditions about widowhood in Upper Egypt are piled on top of other patriarchal constraints. The end result is that widows are often house-bound and kept helpless. To see a widow in this situation evolve into a businesswoman, therefore, is quite extraordinary. The blankets and mattress, in this context, are the smallest wonders I can see in Salma’s home.

As is proper, B’edaya can’t take credit for this transformation. That credit goes to Salma herself. And that’s how it should be.

*Name changed to protect the privacy of B’edaya participant.