Category Archives: Issues That Impact Children in Egypt

Valuable Girl Project Kicks Off New Session in Assiut

Leaders from the government, civil society, religious and other sectors joined in welcoming the launch of the new project session in Assiut.

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.

Attendees:

  • 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


Media coverage

The event received a lot of media coverage.

Press 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.

www.elwatannews.com/news/details/2622024

www.alhuura.com/Akhbar-Al-Mhafzat/379309.html

elgornal.net/news/news.aspx?id=10929468

http://www.albawabhnews.com/2761480

http://www.vetogate.com/mobile/2915864

http://www.medanelakhbar.com/egypt/news558679.html#

Local TV and Radio

The Alnahar, CBC, and Upper Egypt TV channels interviewed one of the project field coordinators.

Local Radio

Minya Radio interviewed the same field coordinator about the Valuable Girl Project

What Does ‘Save the Copts’ Mean?

 

What will remain of our Coptic culture and community in Egypt in 100 years?

Can our brothers and sisters in Christ there possibly thrive if we don’t stand with them?

After the bombing of St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church, one of my colleagues told us — voice shaking with emotion — how a young woman he knows was killed that day.

She was a doctor. She was holding down a shift at the hospital for her Muslim colleagues, so they could celebrate their holiday with their families.

She went on break to pray at the church near the hospital, and never went home to her own family for Christmas.

As Copts, we know that atrocities like the one at St. Peter and St. Paul’s never take our brothers and sisters. On the contrary, we gain a martyr who is with us forever in the Body of Christ.

But what has Egypt lost? Another committed healer who was there for her fellow Egyptians and their families.

And our Coptic community has lost. Too often, these murders take our most wonderful, talented, loving members, leaving our brothers and sisters struggling to fill the gap.

Attacks like the one on St. Peter and St. Paul’s are therefore a way for the terrorists to send a chilling message: “There is no place for you Copts in Egypt.” They target not just innocent people, but our shared Coptic identity.

So if we care, the question we face is simple: “How can we, the Coptic Diaspora, use our success and God’s gifts to strengthen the Coptic identity and community in Egypt?”

Everywhere in Egypt, there is more that we in the diaspora can do. There are proud, capable people whose hands are extended — not for alms, but to join hands in solidarity, as One Body in Christ.

Furthermore, our responsibility doesn’t end with alleviating immediate suffering. We must take responsibility for how far the Copts have been marginalized and thus hatred was free to spread.

We must support groups that promote the Coptic identity and follow God’s command to serve all. We’re proud to be Copts and, as Martin Luther King said, “We will wear them down with our love.”

The best rebuke to Daesh is to show that, more than just paying lip service to the lives of Copts, we’re not going to stand by while children die of the effects of discrimination, of hate.

There are many organizations, many projects, through which to heal and protect the families of our Coptic brothers and sisters. To save the Copts.

So this Christmas, the next simple question is: What are you going to do?

‘Jesus Makes them Happy’ — Serve to Learn Volunteer Monika Toma from Vienna Austria on Serve to Learn Kids

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Dear Friends,

Applications for the Serve to Learn Jan 21 – Feb 11 trip are due Oct 15. So if you’re thinking about applying, do it soon, because time is running out fast! For those of you who don’t know what Serve to Learn is, allow me to explain it to you. It’s really quite simple. 
Serve to Learn is a three-week service trip for youth from all over the world to teach kids in Upper Egyptian villages through a variety of fun games and activities. See? It’s super simple, just apply, volunteer, and let the kids’ love and faith change you forever.

Speaking of simplicity, this “A picture is worth 1,000 words” blog post by 2016 Serve to Learn Monika Toma from Austria shows you exactly how beautiful the simplicity of the children can be. And how much we have to learn from their pure and simple love for Jesus.

— Nermien

Who’s in this photo?

Two elementary school boys from Mallawi, Egypt.

Where was it taken?

In my classroom.

What’s happening in the photo?

They were both drawing a picture of Jesus during playtime. Both were really focused and trying so hard to get it perfect.

How did you feel when it was taken?

I felt sooo proud and happy because those two used to always want to go out and play football [soccer] outside. Every time we asked what they wanted to do, most of them shouted “Nel3ab koora!” (“We want to play soccer!”). Then towards the end of the second week, these two boys came to me and asked if they could draw a picture of Jesus instead of going outside. My heart was just so full of joy at this sight.

Why do you want to remember this moment?

So that I remind myself of how much more those children teach us than we teach them. Their love for Jesus is just so pure and admirable.

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

You don’t need a lot to make those kids happy. Jesus makes them happy.


Interested in learning more about Serve to Learn? Check out our page and our 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 Pheobe Azer‘s and Ryan Wasson‘s. If that’s not enough, you can read Serve to Learn  interviews with Toni, JohnGabyMinaAndyVeronikaDavidBen, 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 us at 703-641-8910 or at info@copticorphans.org