Feb 22, 2019

"In the past, the girls were barely passing their exams. Now they are pursuing excellence"

Fr. Abanoub & the LS after a VGP activity
Fr. Abanoub & the LS after a VGP activity

“Education is the premise of progress, in every society, and every family” Kofi Annan. Transforming children’s attitude towards the importance of education is one of Coptic Orphans main goals for the children participating in its programs. The Valuable Girl Project works on encouraging girls to embrace education as essential to their personal prosperity and development. Girls in Egypt, especially in high poverty areas, encounter daily challenges that stand in the way of their academic advancement. The harsh economic conditions, social oppression to women and girls, and the general societal inclination to support boys more than girls in education are deep-rooted issues that VGP tries to remedy one day at a time. In this report, we bring to you some testimonies about VGP’s role in changing the girls’ performance at school and self-growth in one of the villages in Upper Egypt.

In one of our field visits, we met with Father Abanoub Ibrahim, the CEO of the Better Life Association for Community and Sustainable Development, in Assiut governorate. Fr. Abanoub told us about the huge transformation that VGP made in the village where it is implemented. “The project achieved positive results and surpassed all my expectations,” said Fr. Abanoub. The story he told was of a little girl in primary school called Magda who used to hate going to school. Magda’s mother used to have a very hard time encouraging her to study, and the best she could hope for was for her daughter to pass her exams with no ‘F’ grades.  After being a participant in VGP, Magda was able to pass her exams and came in first place among her classmates. This is very impressive. Can you believe it?! From a girl who didn’t want to go to school to a passionate student pursuing the highest grades!

Not only was the impact of VGP evident in the academic advancement of girls, but it also showed in their general demeanor and outlook on life and towards themselves. Fr. Abanoub said that the families are impressed by the positive change they see in their daughters who look happy, clean, proactive, and creative in implementing the project activities. “Girls became expressive, optimistic and passionate about their future and themselves. I’ve never seen their potential before, but now I can testify to their talents and capabilities” said Fr. Abanoub.

Witnessing such significant impact is what drives us to keep working on and pushing for girls empowerment in Egypt. We believe that education is a fundamental tool to equip our children with the skills and characteristics to become proactive and successful in their communities and society at large.

Thank you for your partnership with us, donations to our cause, and trust in the impact we can make in the lives of those precious girls and young women.

Fr. Abanoub with some of the BS in a VGP activity
Fr. Abanoub with some of the BS in a VGP activity
Jan 11, 2019

Building a Resilient Psychological Capital with VG

VGP Big & Little Sisters in a mentoring session
VGP Big & Little Sisters in a mentoring session

Valuable Girl Program aims to empower girls on multiple levels: intrapersonal, interactional, and behavioral. VGP aims to capacitate girls psychologically, increase their social active participation in order for them to become the base of positive and safe future generation in Egypt. The program targets girls between 10 years (Little sisters) to 21 years (Big Sisters) who live in disadvantaged areas such as Upper Egypt (UE) and urban and unplanned areas in Cairo. One of VGP’s active tools to achieve its objectives is the mentorship sessions. The sessions allow the Big and Little Sisters to bond, share and learn values, and sometimes solve problems. Today’s success story is about the role of mentoring sessions in building a solid psychological capital of the Little Sister and raising the awareness about her personal rights.

UE is broadly known as a deprived area where people lack many basic services, financial resources, awareness of basic rights, and low education. The absence of rights-based enlightenment leads to inevitable retrogression on the individual/personal and collective/social levels. Marian (a Christian Big Sister in college) met Omaima (a Muslim Little Sister in 4th grade) at one of the CDAs in their area. Omaima lives in a village where her family has a low income, her parents are divorced, and she is the oldest of four children. Due to her life circumstances, Omaima was introvert, hardly participate in a group activity, had weak academic performance and she couldn’t get private tutoring. Marian was so compassionate to help Omaima to improve at school. The mentoring session deepened the relation and trust between them and encouraged Omaima to share some of her family and personal problems. Omaima was physically abused by her school teacher who wanted to force her to get private tutoring with him. Marian encouraged Omaima to complain about her school teacher to the principal. Despite the principal ignored her complaint at first, Omaima put her foot down and defended her rights and defended herself from the teacher’s abuse by continuously raising her complaints to the principal. Finally, the principal responded to Omaima’s pleads and officially warned the teacher regarding his attitude.  Gradually, Omaima improved at school and developed an unwavering trust in Marian, her Big Sister. This encouraged Omaima’s mother to share more of their family issues with Marina because of her wisdom and maturity. Marian helped Omaima’s mother to get more child support from her ex-husband because he was taking advantage of the mother’s ignorance and lack of awareness of her rights. Omaima concluded her experience by saying “I had no self-confidence, distrusted people, felt afraid of Christians, but you (talking to her Big Sister) made me love all Christians and myself. I aspire to be of value to my family and help support them financially in the future. Thank you Ms. Marian”.

VGP’s mission was accomplished in Omaima and Marian’s lives by teaching them the peaceful co-existence and service to others. Through your steady support and generous donations, we will help more like Marian and Omaima to live better and become aware of their rights.

Jan 2, 2019

From a Vulnerable Widow to a Self-Confident Business Owner

One of B'edaya mothers in her working room
One of B'edaya mothers in her working room

By the grace of God, and the generosity of our donors, B’edaya micro-lending initiative is transforming widowed mothers from helpless, house-bound widows into self-sufficient businesswomen, role models for their children, and assets to their communities. Be’daya is funding 37 micro-businesses of different types and across all of Egypt—from raising livestock to offering services and selling goods.

 All of the 37 mothers are showing a high level of efficacy and commitment in running their projects and overcoming both market and personal challenges. Fouada*--one of the diligent mothers who stood strong for her project—had become a widow in her late 30s and lived with her little family in her parents-in-law’s house. Fouada made bed sheets and sold them in churches and public exhibitions, but wasn’t able to produce more beyond the capacity of her existing equipment. After qualifying for a B’edaya micro-loan, she took the business to another level; she did not stop at making bedsheets but extended the business to making curtains and backpacks from recycled fabrics. Fouada achieved huge success, and retail stores allocated special shelf space in their shops for her products. “I spend most of my time in my working room. The feeling of owning my business inspires me to dream of one day having a workshop or a factory of my own.” Fouada said. She added that her relationship with her children improved; instead of perceiving her as an illiterate mother, they started to think of her as a successful business owner and a strong woman. 

B’edaya doesn’t only transform the widowed mothers’ financial conditions but also helps change the way they are perceived within their families and within their communities.

We are grateful to God for His abundant grace and provision for the mothers and their businesses. We also thank our donors who are passionate about our work, and through their donations, Be’daya is able to reach more mothers to support.

 *Names are changed to maintain the privacy of our mothers. 

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