Tag Archives: Coptic

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

‘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

‘Never Underestimate the Genuine Power of Love and Kindness’ — Gina Masoud Reflects on Serve to Learn Experience

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Dear Friends,

As this summer comes to an end, I’m moved to share with you a story from Serve to Learn 2016 volunteer Gina Masoud. This story is part of the “A picture is worth 1000 words” series where we ask volunteers to pick an image from their trip that represents a powerful moment, and to share why it’s important. Gina chose to tell a story about the power of love and kindness, and that’s a story to get us through the winter. 

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. The next Serve to Learn trip will be Jan. 21-Feb. 11, 2017. Applications for this trip are due October 15.

— Nermien

Who’s in this photo?

Myself, Julie, Mina, Lydia, Miryam and Merna,  and a child’s sister, Ereny.

Where was it taken?

In Ereny’s home during a home visit.

What’s happening in the photo?

We were originally going to visit another girl, Youstina, who was in my high school class. When we walked in, we saw that she had a sister who had suffered from bad burns to her face. She didn’t want to come sit in the same room as us, even though she wanted to. She stood by the doorway to the living room. The group quickly realized we were there for her. We gave her the most attention. We showed her love and said words to her I’m sure she hadn’t heard since the accident. By the end of the visit, which was only 45 minutes, she had changed from the girl who wouldn’t sit with us, to the one who waved to our bus as we were driving away. She spent the rest of the visit with the group and enjoyed herself.

How did you feel when it was taken?

So happy. In a few minutes, with a few kids, a few words, and a lot of hugs, we changed how a person felt about themselves.

Why do you want to remember this moment?

To remind myself that even though it may seem like the effects of our actions are a single drop in the ocean, that drop was an entire ocean for one person.

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

Never underestimate the genuine power of love and kindness.


*Names of our children are changed in order to maintain their privacy.

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