Tag Archives: Australia

Leaping Over Australia’s Mountains & Deserts: A Short Tale That Amazed Us



Australia or Egypt? I love how faith everywhere seems to leap over mountains anywhere!
Australia or Egypt? Either way, no worries!

Dear Friends,
Today, I’d like to share the words of Nevine Iskander, who heads up our office in Australia. Exciting things you all are doing Down Under!
— Nermien Riad

I’m often amazed by the way God works here in Australia.

Here on this huge continent, we’re cut off from each other by deserts and mountains. Facing such obstacles, how can the Coptic Orphans Australia team reach everyone who loves the children of Egypt?

I’ve learned that the answer is: you. Just as we rely on the church servants to ensure the well-being of the orphans, so we rely on you here in Oz to tell your friends and neighbors about this important work for Egypt.

I love the stories I’ve heard of how news about Coptic Orphans travels, spreading by word-of-mouth among Aussies, leaping over deserts and mountains. Here’s one story I heard the other day:

Susan heard about Coptic Orphans through her local chemist, Peter, a Copt.  But it wasn’t through any normal conversation…

Susan told me that on World Prayer Day this year, she was at a meeting dedicated to Egypt. Peter, who couldn’t close his pharmacy to attend, wrote a prayer for Susan to read out in the meeting.

The prayer asked God to be with the orphans and to bless Coptic Orphans’ work in Egypt. That’s how Susan learned about us and, after learning more from Peter, decided to sponsor a child.

The most incredible thing about this story is that Susan and Peter live in a small town in the outskirts of a capital city far from us — an area we wouldn’t normally dream of reaching.

When I hear stories like this, I feel certain that is God working through you, our supporters and ambassadors here in Australia.

As you talk to both Copts and non-Copts, it’s you who explain how each of us can change a child’s life with better education, housing, medical care, and other necessities that break the cycle of poverty.

Your words have made a huge difference for the Australia office by helping us to grow. I think of this now more than ever, as we get closer to Coptic Orphans’ 25th Anniversary Gala in Lilyfield on Nov. 9.

I think of the number of Australians who’ve shown such long-running support for the kids since we founded the Sydney office in 2002. By the grace of God and through your devoted prayers, volunteering, and donations, Coptic Orphans Australia has played a huge role in educating and empowering 30,000 children in Egypt.

The Gala in Lilyfield on Nov. 9 promises to be a wonderful way to mark our years of working together. At the celebration, we’ll be gathering many old and new friends and honoring our many great memories. We’ll also be honoring our Leading by Example Award recipient Nick Kaldas, APM, Deputy Commissioner NSW Police Force, for all that he’s done for our community. I hope you will join us that night as we honor the promise we’ve made to the children of Egypt.

As we approach this anniversary, I know that we wouldn’t have made it this far without you, our beloved Coptic community here in Australia. Thank you, and please help us get the word out about the Gala! By God’s grace, you’re the messenger who allows us to leap over deserts and mountains…

By the grace of God, we are celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Coptic Orphans with Galas in Australia, Canada, and the United States — and with the honored presence of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II in Canada, where he will accept the Leading by Example Award. Tickets to the Nov. 9 Gala in Lilyfield may be purchased online (where you can also get more details) or by contacting me at niskander@copticorphans.org or 02-9787-9777

Coptic Values Link Oz Kids to Egypt at St. Mary and St. Mina’s Book Fair

Not our standard Coptic Orphans uniforms, but useful costumes for a play!
Not our standard Coptic Orphans uniforms, but useful costumes for a play!

Dear Friends,
Today, I’m glad to share a report by Mary Loka, one of our donor relations associates. We’re grateful for the boost from St. Mary and St. Mina’s Coptic Orthodox College in Sydney, and to all our supporters in Australia.
— Nermien Riad

Book fairs have always been part and parcel of the childhood of anyone raised in Australia. It is a week where school children dress up as their favourite book characters, and celebrate by reading lots of books – a privilege many of the children in Egypt do not have.

So even while our Australia office is bustling with preparations for the 25th Anniversary Gala on Nov. 9 in Lilyfield, we were delighted to hear that St. Mary and St. Mina’s Coptic Orthodox College in Sydney wanted to donate the funds they raised during their book fair to Coptic Orphans.

Naturally, our team wanted to visit the children to say thank you, but as you can see from our photograph, it was also a good excuse for us to dress up and reminisce about our childhood!

Three of us were invited to make a presentation at the end of the book fair – our Australia office director, Nevine Iskander, my colleague Amir Shehata, and me. We thought there was no better way to present to primary school children than to perform a short play.

The play was about two children at a school canteen helping out another child who was new to the school and didn’t know it was canteen day. Although one child was reluctant to help and share their food, the other portrayed how sharing can bring so much joy and unity.

We later explained to them that in the same way, it is our Christian duty to help others in need. Guided by that principle, Coptic Orphans will use the money they raised to help children their age in Egypt who are less fortunate.

It was so amazing seeing how engaged the children were. We even got some feedback from one of the parents, who told us her daughter couldn’t stop talking about what she learnt from the play when she got home.

We’re thankful that the school raised more than AUS$400 for Coptic Orphans, and we hope to have instilled the virtue of sharing among the children. More importantly, however, we managed to connect these children to their roots more strongly, by making them aware of their friends in Egypt!

PS Did you know that, by the grace of God, we’re celebrating our 25th Anniversary with Galas in Australia, Canada, and the United States — and with the honored presence of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II in Canada, where he will accept the Leading by Example Award! We’re also growing and hiring — please share our job postings with all the skilled, passionate professionals you know!