1,000s of ‘Free’ Dollars Support the Kids in Egypt When You Shop Online This Way!

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Find out how you can help the children in Egypt get access to quality education while doing your holiday shopping!

Dear Friend,

Did you know that last year, generous and conscientious online Christmas buyers and sellers raised over $3,400 for the children in Egypt?

That’s enough to extend the benefits of Coptic Orphans’ programs — quality education, better housing, medical care, mentoring — to 5 new children for a full year. Imagine changing the lives of 5 children just by shopping online!

If you’re anything like me, you’re doing most of your Christmas shopping online. It’s convenient, hassle-free, and it lets you do something that you can’t do in a store — send this ‘free’ money to support the children of Egypt.

Here’s how you can do it. Many online retailers, like Amazon, will donate to the nonprofit of your choice just for shopping on their site. Others, like eBay, give you the option to easily donate every time you buy or sell 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 have gift-giving programs, and each one is a little different. To make it easier, I’m going to tell you about the two biggest ones, eBay Giving Works and AmazonSmile.

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eBay Giving Works is an easy and convenient way of giving a little bit every time you buy or sell on eBay. The next time you’re about to check out on eBay, you’ll have the opportunity to choose and follow Coptic Orphans from a drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can follow Coptic Orphans on eBay by clicking here.  And once you follow us, eBay will save your preferences and you’ll find our name pre-selected for you every time you check out on their site.

Sellers on eBay will have the opportunity to give a percentage of their sales to their favorite nonprofit. eBay will prorate listing fees based off of percentage donated. To learn more about how eBay promotes selling for charities, visit the eBay for Charity page here.

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Amazon Smile is very 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!

Thank you for making it part of your family’s Christmas celebration to shop online in this simple, easy, free way that can bring so much joy to children in Egypt!

She’s Making Dignity a Family Tradition

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Ireney doesn’t seem to know the meaning of the words “take it easy,” which may explain how she’s built her business into a source of family pride and dignity.

You last heard about Ireney in 2014, when I visited her in Samalout. She overwhelmed me with hospitality then, and things hadn’t changed a bit around her livestock feedstore when I saw her this summer.

Except – that’s not strictly true. Since I last saw Ireney, she’s converted her hard work, intelligence, and B’edaya loans into more progress. She has expanded her line of animal feed, flour, and fertilizer.

There in the cool, cavernous “warehouse” that’s connected to her home, she meets customers and neighbors, closes her deals, and does one more extremely important thing: she passes on her values.

Ireney is very clear: She wants her kids grow up to be hard-working in their lives and occupations. To that end, she’s begin involving her young son in accounting and helping her with the business.

It’s important for her kids to have role models, because they’re already missing one. Ireney’s husband passed away many years ago, so her guidance is all the more crucial.

Together with a specially trained Coptic Orphans volunteer — a Church-based “Rep” who comes recommended by his bishop — she’s putting her children on the path to a quality education and solid values.

Ireney’s success demonstrates what widowed mothers can achieve with access to this type of microcredit initiative. Her goal is to grow the business because “the more I can buy, the more I can sell.”

B’edaya funds these women’s income-generating projects from the ground up until they become self-sufficient. Donations cover all aspects of the loan process from beginning to end, and the money is reinvested over and over to help multiple families.

But beyond this, there is the foundation that’s being laid for a new generation. B’edaya mothers model the behaviors that give their family dignity and their children the keys to success.

To those who’ve never been there, it’s hard to grasp what Ireney is overcoming. In Samalout, and in Upper Egypt in general, traditions severely limit widows. Many end up taking charity for life.

But Ireney is breaking this mold, with your help. Two years from when I last visited her, she’s going strong. Her kids can see it, and you can feel it — in her manner, in her frequent laughter, in the prosperity of her household.

And it’s not only her household. In March, Coptic Orphans held ceremonies around Egypt honoring 42 widowed mothers. They received a total of LE243,500 (US$27,400) in microloans for their income-generating projects.

All of us at Coptic Orphans see these mothers as heroes. By God’s grace, and through your generosity, we’re honored to provide them with both microloans and coaching in entrepreneurial skills to develop their inborn perseverance, ingenuity, and business-savvy.

This is a great blessing to be part of, and the Coptic Orphans family is grateful that you’ve chosen walk with families like Ireney’s.

* The name of the B’edaya participant has been changed in this instance to protect her privacy

Signed, Sealed, Delivered… Valuable Girl Power Wins a Post Office

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Never underestimate the girls of Egypt!

Your support for the Valuable Girl Project means a group of determined girls were able to send a big message about their power to make change – through the mail!

What’s more, in the process, they helped their fellow villagers avoid sexual harassment and the dangers of a perilous highway. Here’s how it unfolded:

After the young women in the Mahaba Coptic Orthodox Association for Development & Environment received civic education training through the Valuable Girl Project, they started to contribute to solving their community’s problems. These 20 youths, aged 15-26, believed that they could make one of their neighbors’ dreams come true, there in the village of Al Amodain.

The village, with a population of 30,000, lacked a post office. As it happens, the mail is a lifeline for the community members — it’s the means by which they can get their government pension, transfer money, and receive letters from loved ones.

Without a postal facility in their own village, they had to go to the post office in Atsa, 5km away. It cost the Al Amodain villagers too much to go back and forth, and on top of that, Atsa’s post office was often crowded. Things were apt to heat up inside, especially after a vendetta sparked tensions between the two villages. In fact, the Al Amodain villagers were forced to go to an even more distant post office just to avoid potential conflict.

The Valuable Girls took the initiative to raise people’s awareness about their rights. They also addressed the local government officials, advocating for a post office in Al Amodain. It took many discussions with the officials, but in the end, they approved the construction of a post office. The girls and the local authorities took on the cost of building the new facility, and they raised 100,000 EGP.

When, in the end, the new post office officially opened in February 2016, it was proof to the entire village that despite the obstacles society place in their path, girls can indeed make history as much as men can!

“My mom suffered 2-3 times per month when she went to the post office to get the money sent by my dad, who works in El Suez,” said Mary, adding, “My mom now tells me: ‘Finally, I don’t have to suffer from traveling and sexual harassment each month!’”

“The way to the nearest post office used to be called ‘The Way to Hell’ because of the many accidents that happened to people traveling on this highway,” said another Valuable Girl, Salma. “Now I’m proud of myself as well as the other girls that we were able to positively contribute to our community.”

Thank you for continuing to support for the Valuable Girl Project, and let’s keep educating Egypt’s brilliant children!