Coptic Orphans launched a new session of its Valuable Girl Project in Assiut on October 17, 2017, with the presence of over 100 project beneficiaries, government dignitaries, religious leaders, representatives of key non-governmental organizations, and members of the press.
The chairpersons of seven community development associations (CDAs) signed contracts at the kick-off event, which was held in the hall of Assuit’s governorate, to mark their partnership with Coptic Orphans to implement the project.
The Valuable Girl Project aims at empowering vulnerable girls who are at risk of dropping out of school by overcoming obstacles to their efforts to learn, thrive, and become change-makers in their own communities. Coptic Orphans will carry out the Valuable Girl Project in various communities in Qena, Assiut, and Cairo in coordination with the local office of the Ministry of Social Solidarity (MOSS), and in partnership with local CDAs.
The event was held under the auspices of the governor of Assiut, who personally attended along top officials and key figures from the governorate. These included undersecretaries of MOSS, endowments (awkaf), of education and of sport and youth. Also in attendance were the governor’s adviser on CDAs and international organizations, Christian and Muslim religious figures, the rapporteur-general of the National Council of Women, the president of regional union of Assuit’s NGOs, and media representatives.
The Valuable Girl Project’s approach involves high school and university-level “Big Sisters” engaging elementary school “Little Sisters” in one-on-one mentoring and a variety of activities that facilitate the development of critical life skills and values, such as leadership, initiative-taking, critical thinking, and citizenship. Each Big Sister receives a stipend towards her educational expenses; each Little Sister receives help with homework as the pair meet two times a week in a quiet, peaceful environment conducive to personal and academic growth and development.
The October 17 event started with national anthem, which was followed by words of welcome from Coptic Orphans Executive Director Nermien Riad. She thanked the governor for his support, and expressed gratitude to the undersecretaries of MOSS for helping the relevant CDAs get official approval.
Next on the agenda was a presentation about the Valuable Girl Project, which included an introduction to Coptic Orphans, its goals, and the philosophy of the project.
A series of speeches by the honored guests displayed the depth of support the project enjoys in Assiut.
- Dr. Fatma Al Khiat, undersecretary of MOSS in Assiut, thanked Coptic Orphans and welcomed cooperation with the organization. She explained the role of MOSS in relation to civil society organizations and expressed support for the “honest work” which has a good impact on the community.
- His Eminence Sheikh Abd Al Nasser, undersecretary of endowments, praised women’s education, saying: “The girls are the future mothers.” He quoted verses from Bible and Qur’an which support his words, and he urged this in attendance to join hands in support of the Valuable Girl Project and its success.
- Father Thaofiles, the deputy of Bishop Younas, praised the role of Coptic Orphans and affirmed the importance of education, quoting verses of the Holy Bible.
- Father Marcos, the deputy of Bishop Kirollos, affirmed the importance of development in Egypt and the vital need to work together.
- The rapporteur-general of the National Council of Women expressed her happiness with implementing the project in the governorate, especially since the president of Egypt had designated 2017 the “Year of the Woman.”
- The governor of Assiut noted his unprecedented attendance at such an event, and insisted on addressing the assembled guests. He thanked Coptic Orphans and its board, and further expressed happiness at the goals and concept of the Valuable Girl Project. He spoke about the problem of students dropping out of school, and its negative consequences and causes. He praised the project for giving a monthly stipend to the “Big Sisters” to help empower her to continue her education.
Following the governor’s words, the chairpersons of the seven partner CDAs signed their contracts and received additional relevant documents.
- The Governor of Assiut
- The undersecretary of MOSS,
- The undersecretary endowments (awkaf)
- The undersecretary education
- The undersecretary sport and youth
- The Governor’s adviser of CDAs and international organizations
- The Rapporteur-General of national council or women
- The president of regional union of Assiut’s NGOs
- The deputy of Bishop Younas
- The deputy of Bishop Kirollos
- The officer of NGOs and two social workers
- 30 employees from the MOSS directorate, public relations, the Ministry of Sport, the Youth the Ministry of Education, and the Assiut National Council of Women.
- 22 representatives of the print and digital media
- 7 chairpersons of 7 partner CDAs
- 9 board members of 7 partner CDAs
- 33 CDAs staff of the Valuable Girl Project
Photos of the Event
The event received a lot of media coverage.
Below are the links to Egyptian press coverage of the event in Assiut. The first link is to Elwatan News, which is the most widely read here in Egypt.
Local TV and Radio
The Alnahar, CBC, and Upper Egypt TV channels interviewed one of the project field coordinators.
Minya Radio interviewed the same field coordinator about the Valuable Girl Project