Tag Archives: Egypt

How the Girls’ Love and Tolerance Awakened a Community

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The Valuable Girl Project honors young women’s voices.

I’m writing today with sadness, because Leila, one of the participants in the Valuable Girl Project, recently passed away. Like all of the Little Sisters in the project, Leila is someone we cherished. Her loss is felt deeply by staff, family, and her friends.

Yet, I also want to share the remarkable way the girls united after Leila’s passing, and how that also brought together their Christian and Muslim parents.

Leila (not her real name) was struck by heart problems while traveling out of Upper Egypt. By the time she could be treated, it was too late to save her life. In the wake of this tragedy, her fellow Little and Big Sisters were sad, but consoled each other. And, amazingly, they decided that they should be part of the public mourning.

“All of the girls wanted to be present at their sister’s funeral,” said Susan, coordinator of the project site.

I can’t tell you how unusual that is, not just in a town in Upper Egypt, but in all of the country. Cemeteries are, as a rule, just about as segregated as it gets. For the girls to unite around the memory of their friend, and persuade their parents to permit their show of collective grief and solidarity, was an extremely rare event.

Leila’s family was really overwhelmed by the girls’ decision to come together, and as a group including both Christians and Muslims. And, somehow, this brought the community together in a way that hadn’t happened before. It seemed to make them value the project even more, and increase their determination to sustain it.

“We really want to see this project continue,” Rana, the mother one of the Valuable Girl Project participants, told Susan. “Even if it means we have to keep it going without funding, somehow.”

Thanks to generous donors whose specially dedicated contributions provide all the support for the Valuable Girl Project, there’s no danger of the project shutting down. In fact, we’re just as committed to it as the parents, and we’re identifying participants and sites for 2016.  We’re spreading the messages that girls and young women are a benefit to themselves and society when they have access to education, that Christians and Muslims can overcome the obstacles facing them. And we count on everyone who shares these values to stand with us.

This work makes a difference. We can see it in the way the girls came together when Leila passed away, surprising their community with their love and unity. We can see it in their parents’ desire to continue the project, no matter what stands in the way. Together, we’ll keep spreading tolerance and access to quality education for these valuable girls!

Welcoming the New Year, with Thanks to God & Our Supporters for 2015 Achievements

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His Holiness Pope Tawadros II meets with Serve to Learn volunteers, July 25, 2015.

Dear Friends,

Looking back at 2015, which had the children’s many academic successes, our meeting with His Holiness, the anniversary gala in Cairo, and a conference of nearly 500 Church-based volunteers, I can only express deep gratitude to God for making everything possible.

As together we step into 2016, I’m reminded of these words I love: “Let us give thanks to the beneficent and merciful God, the Father of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ, for He has covered us, helped us, guarded us, accepted us unto Him, spared us, supported us, and brought us to this hour.” 

We also owe so much to our supporters worldwide for enabling these remarkable steps forward, especially by ensuring access to quality education for thousands of children. We’re deeply grateful to everyone who’s made a commitment to the academic success of these brilliant, heroic kids.

As we close out 2015, Coptic Orphan has reached over 40,000 children in Egypt since 1988. Here are some of the ways your love, prayers, and support made an impact this year:

• Almost 25% of Coptic Orphans youth, who come from some of Egypt’s most poverty-stricken communities, earned senawiyyah 3amma (high school final exam) grades of 85% or higher.

• Children enrolled in Coptic Orphans programs were more than three times more likely to complete their secondary education than their average Egyptian peers.

• For the second year running, 10 Coptic Orphans children beat tremendous odds to win prestigious LOTUS and AMIDEAST scholarships to Egypt’s best universities such as the AUC and the British University.

These academic achievements of Coptic Orphans children would not be possible without the Church. We’re incredibly grateful to the Church for partnering with us in 55 dioceses across Egypt.

We felt especially blessed in 2015, because His Holiness Pope Tawadros II met with the volunteers in our Serve to Learn program on July 25, telling them of the value of their service for the children and for Egypt. We’re thankful beyond words for His Holiness’ inspiration and leadership.

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A pair of the hundreds of kids the 2015 Serve to Learn volunteers were blessed to form bonds with and teach.

Overall, in 2015, 37 Serve to Learn volunteers from around the world traveled to Egypt for three weeks of serving, teaching, and forming close bonds with children in communities such as Armant, Luxor, and El Barsha, Mallawi.

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Nearly 500 Church-based volunteer ‘Reps’ meet in August 2015 to discuss serving the children and receive intensive training.

Another key step forward in 2015 was the conference of nearly 500 Church-based volunteer “Reps,” the backbone of Coptic Orphans’ work with the children. The highlight of the August event in Hurghada was intensive training in how to build rapport with the children served by Coptic Orphans.

Coptic Orphans capped the year on Oct. 11 with a silver anniversary gala celebrating 25 years of serving God and the children. Among the speakers and honored guests at the Cairo event were Deputy Minister of the Cairo Governorate Gihan Abdel Rahman Ahmed, former Minister of Urban Development Dr. Laila Iskander, and Dr. Raouf Ghabbour.

At the event, which was attended by over 150 guests, Coptic Orphans presented its Leading by Example Award to Eng. Hossam El Kabbany, chairman of the Al Orman Association, to honor his tireless work to improve the lives of Egypt’s most vulnerable citizens. The award honors people whose character and achievements make them role models in Egypt and around the world. Past recipients include Dr. Farouk El Baz, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, and Ola Ghabbour, founder of the Children’s Cancer Hospital.

With God’s grace, we’re looking forward to a fantastic 2016 that builds on these achievements and brings better lives to even more children. And as we finish a wonderful 2015, I want to say to everyone in the Coptic Orphans family: “Thank you, and may you have a blessed and Happy New Year!”

Did You Know? Simply by Shopping at Amazon This Christmas, You Can Help Egypt’s Children Break Free of Poverty!

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Dear Friend,

Will you be using Amazon or other online retailers this Christmas? If you are, there’s an easy way you can make every purchase into a life-changing gift for orphans in Egypt.

Here’s how you can do it. Many online retailers will donate to the nonprofit of your choice just for shopping 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 offer this gift-giving, and each one is a little different. To make it easier, I’m listing a couple of the larger ones, so that your Christmas cheer reaches all the way to Egypt!

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Amazon Smile is 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!

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Love coupons? Try GoodShop.  It has coupons for thousands of different online stores, so it saves you money. And not only that, every time you buy something through GoodShop, they make a donation to a charity of your choice ! Save money AND change the lives of children in Egypt, what could be better?

Here’s how to use GoodShop:

1. Visit goodsearch.com, and go to the “How It Works” tab on the upper right of the page.
2. Select “Support a Cause” in the drop down menu.
3. Type “Coptic Orphans” when asked “Who Do You Want to Help?”
4. Register and create a user profile that allows you to track how much you’ve raised for the kids.
5. Use the GoodShop tab at the top of the homepage or go to GoodShop to visit their online shopping mall and browse through thousands of partner stores, including top brands in clothing, office supplies, gifts and more.
6. Click through to the store and shop as you normally would. You pay nothing extra, but a portion of all qualifying purchases will go to your cause.
7. 100% of the donation amount displayed on merchant’s GoodShop page will go to Coptic Orphans for the children.

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I’m just adding this one in because it’s a favorite of ours at the Coptic Orphans office. GoodSearch.com isn’t quite like the rest of these give-as-you-buy websites… it’s even cooler. GoodSearch is a search engine that donates 1¢ every time you search for something online. All Coptic Orphans staff members have been using GoodSearch and we’ve already earned enough to enroll one more child into our program for an entire year! It’s great to see the pennies add up into life-changing opportunities for our kids! Here’s how to make GoodSearch your search engine, and generate money for the kids with every search:

1. Visit www.goodsearch.com and — again, under the “How It Works” tab, and the drop down menu’s “Support a Cause” item — enter “Coptic Orphans” when asked who you want to support.
2. Create a user profile that will allow you to keep track of how much you’ve raised for the kids.
3. Use the search box on our homepage or download a Good To-Go add-on to search the Internet just like you normally would, with the added bonus that you are earning a donation to the children for virtually every search.