At only eight years old, Basma’s mother pulled her out of school and sent her to work at a local beauty salonfor only 20 cents a day. But Basma was a Little Sister in the Valuable Girl Project. As soon as Basma’s Big Sister from the Valuable Girl Project heard what happened, she rushed to Basma’s home. She negotiated with Basma’s mother to get Basma back in school, helping connect the family to other resources to help meet their living expenses.
Later, Basma faced another problem. When it came time to take the exam for the religious studies part of Egypt’s public school curriculum, Basma’s teacher handed her the test intended for Muslim students. When Basma protested, saying she should have received the test for Christian students, her teacher ignored her. Not surprisingly, Basma failed the test. This would hold Basma back for a year in school. But Basma’s Big Sister joined forces with their Valuable Girl Project site manager and went to the school administrator. With the error exposed, the school immediately overturned Basma’s exam scores.
The Valuable Girl Project continues to develop. In recent years, girls still enjoy one‐on‐oneacademic tutoring with other girls and an oasis of social and educational freedom at local programcenters. But volunteers and staff at sites now make advocacy visits to the homes and schools ofparticipants like Basma to help girls take this freedom with them into daily life.
Hanan BakyProgram SpecialistCoptic OrphansPO Box 2881Merrifield, VA 22116
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