Coptic Orphans

Coptic Orphans is an award-winning international Christian development organization that unlocks the God-given potential of disadvantaged children in Egypt, and so equips them to break the cycle of poverty and become change-makers in their communities. Coptic Orphans works through grassroots partner and volunteer networks to strengthen local communities for sustainable impact. Since 1988, Coptic Orphans has equipped over 30,000 children throughout Egypt.
Mar 19, 2013

Success Stories from Widowed Businesswomen

Our B'edaya* projects help fatherless households gain self-suffiency they lost with the death of their provider, in a country with little support for female-headed households. 

Here is a story from one mother we have helped take charge of her family's livelihood. 

Om Youssef

In 2001 Om Youssef’s** husband died of Meningitis leaving an illiterate wife with 2 helpless children. Om Youssef vowed that her children will get an education no matter the cost. She was willing to do whatever it takes, but did not know where or how to start. B’edaya helped Om Youssef start raising livestock, and to date she has made 450 Egyptian Pounds in income all while paying back her loan in full. That's about 6 times the government widow pension that Om Youssef and her family had to live on before. 

 

*"B'edaya" is Arabic for "with my own hands."

**"Om" is Arabic for "mother of." In Egypt, it is common to refer to women by the name of their oldest sons. 

Mar 4, 2013

Building Bridges Across Egypt's Religious Divide

http://bit.ly/IoAewe
http://bit.ly/IoAewe

People sometimes ask why we place importance on building Christian and Muslim relationships through the Valuable Girl Project.  After the revolution sectarian violence has escalated significantly. We see it as our responsibility to continue to build a bridge of understanding to keep our children safe.

In Egypt, many children and adults never interact with each other simply because of their religious differences. Separate cultural and religious practices often eliminate the opportunity to communicate for a basic understanding. As people get older their fear of the unknown can sometimes develop into a full blown hatred.

Aalia* happens to be Muslim and is a Big Sister mentor participating in our Valuable Girl Project.  She shares her thoughts about interacting with other Christian girls through Coptic Orphans.

"Before participation in the program, I used to carry negative attitudes and feeling towards Christians in general. I never used to have any Christian friends or as much as talked to my fellow Christian classmates or neighbors, if I knew they were Christian. The reason I joined the project was exclusively driven by the motive to find a job…nothing else! However, upon the start of the project, I was personally touched by the love and respect my fellow Christian girls showed me. After participating in the Valuable Girl Project I started to feel a mutual love and respect for them as well. I felt that something changed in me and in how I lead my life just by observing how they treated me. Consequently, my family also changed their attitudes towards Christians in general. A few months after joining the project, our local VGP coordinators advertised an overnight trip to Assuit which included a visit to Saint Mary’s Monastery and I wanted to go. I wanted to spend time with my new friends and understand more about their life. When I asked my dad if he would let me participate in the trip he said I could go because he knew I would be safe and that I have nothing to fear with my new Christian friends. VGP helped change me and my family’s attitude towards Christians for the better."

 

*Names changed to protect the privacy of the families

Links:

Dec 28, 2012

New Cycle Begins in Egypt's Changing Marketplace

Widows
Widows' businesses often focus on local staples

Inflation and insecurity have driven Egypt's markets to become more local, and more focused on the basics. The result has been hard-hitting for Egypt's widowed households, who already struggle for life's necessities. But the new, more informal local economies has also opened up new market opportunities for household businesses who could not compete with larger, more regional retailers before the current crises.   

 

The Problem: Inflation, Insecurity Drive Market Changes in Egypt

The government has already begun easing Egypt's heavy food and fuel subsidies. While so far only fuel has been first, the cost of food has also already gone up. Egyptians are beginning to hoard rice and other staples as a hedge against the future. The Egyptian pound has fallen to its lowest value in eight years, and imports on grains and other necessities are increasing.  

The soaring cost of transportation is putting local economies at an advantage by making it more difficult to ship goods across larger areas. Meanwhile, the lack of police presence in many Egypt neighborhoods and villages, and rising crime rates, are also shifting the economic advantage to neighborhood-based businesses. Local residents throughout the country have responded by blockading roads and forming neighborhood watches, making it even more difficult to bring goods to market from outside local areas.

 

The 2013 Opportunity: Widowed Mothers Strategically Positioned in New Neighborhood Economies

Inflation in the cost of food staples and fuel always hit the poor hardest, including widowed households. Yet as these changes unfold in Egypt, there is also an opportunity for widows.

Last year, B'edaya offered widows the opportunity to open small mini-marts from their homes or other places in their local neighborhoods. But it was difficult to compete with larger, more regionally connected merchants.

Widows in Egypt tend to travel much less than other groups, because of poverty and because of the social stigma of widowhood. Recent market changes in Egypt have turned this to an advantage for widowed mothers who start small grocery shops from their homes or sell livestock that they raise. These female-owned village shops are now poised to become neighborhood mainstays for daily goods in increasingly closed and self-contained villages.

 

Timeline for B'edaya 2013

January starts a new business cycle for B'edaya, (Arabic for "with my own hands") Coptic Orphans' microcredit program for widowed mothers in Egypt. 

We are accepting applications this month from widowed mothers who will benefit from Egypt's new, more local market space in order to break the cycle of poverty and finally reach the dream of self-sufficiency for their families. 

On March 25, 2013, we will choose finalist projects that will begin thereafter.

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $25
  • $200
  • $300
  • $350
  • $550
  • $600
  • $1,200
  • $1,400
  • $25
    each month
  • $200
    each month
  • $300
    each month
  • $350
    each month
  • $550
    each month
  • $600
    each month
  • $1,200
    each month
  • $1,400
    each month
  • $
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Coptic Orphans

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Coptic Orphans on GreatNonProfits.org.