Oct 16, 2018

"Above All I Was Amazed By Her Love For Me."

Some of the activities bringing the girls together
Some of the activities bringing the girls together

The Valuable Girl Project’s (VGP) model of empowering girls, creating a space for peacebuilding and interfaith-dialogue lends a model of sustainable development to the local community, where the model can be sustained even after the program’s 2-year cycle ends. One of the greatest achievements of the VGP is fostering religious tolerance between Christian and Muslim girls. It is corroborated by hundreds of stories from the field and testimonies on increased tolerance of the other, positive behavioral adjustments, and improvements in perceptions of self-worth. This is a quote from one of the Big Sister participants in Assuit- a governorate in Upper Egypt known for sectarian strife:

“Before I joined the Valuable Girl project, I used to dislike interacting with our Christian brothers and sisters and I was initially upset when I learned that the project involves dealing with Christians. When I was assigned to my Christian Little sister, I was amazed by her intelligence, focused attention, and above all, her love for me. Experiencing this positive relationship from her side made me start questioning my attitude towards her in particular, and Christians in general. Participating in the Valuable Girl Program has made a huge positive difference in my life.”

The VGP seizes the opportunity to foster pluralism and religious tolerance by helping Muslim and Christian girls realize the similar challenges they equally face at different stages in their lives, as well as the potential opportunities they have by recognizing their self-value, discovering their talents, continuing their education and pursuing different future paths than their peers in the past.

The design of VGP also takes into consideration the intersectionality of women and countering violent extremisms. It focuses on the importance of tackling the root causes of intolerance and sectarian strife, making it essential to integrate the component of interaction between Muslim and Christian girls and young women. This aspect of program design and implementation is not to be found in any other development interventions in Egypt.

We believe that education, self-empowerment, and peacebuilding are the core dynamics that change communities, starting from the grass-root levels. By God’s blessings and your continuous support and encouragement, we – Coptic Orphans, through the VGP- will keep our commitment of helping the girls to prosper and become change-makers of their communities.

Aug 2, 2018

37 Widowed Mothers Honored for their Successful Business Projects

By God’s grace and your generous support, we have been blessed to be an instrument in the transformational journey of many widowed mothers through our B’edaya microfinance program. Through your generosity, we have witnessed remarkable changes in many mothers lives—turning from desperation to optimism and frustration to faithfulness. This year, the B’edaya program enabled 37 widowed mothers turn their dream projects into realities.

On July 7, 2018, Coptic Orphans celebrated the conclusion of our third round of the B’edaya microfinance initiative, by honoring the mothers who were awarded loans and received their final project disbursements. The ceremony took place in Upper Egypt, and we were honored with the presence of a number of dignitaries and high officials from the government and other development organizations who joined us to celebrate the mothers and their achievements. The mothers shared their success stories, including how they were able to overcome obstacles faced during the implementation of their projects, and spoke of their future dreams and hopes to see their businesses continue to thrive.

At the ceremony, many of the mothers shared how their B’edaya loans helped change their circumstances and lives. I’d like to share with you a story about Nabila, one of our strong B’edaya mothers.

Nabila is a diligent woman; she was ardent to provide her five children with a decent life after their father’s passing seven years earlier. Two years after her husband’s death, Nabila began selling livestock feed to recover from their financial hardship without her husband’s main support. Nabila used to sell livestock and split the profit with the merchant who supplied her with the goods. She gained a lot of experience in this field and wanted to continue independently in this business by making her own profits.

B’edaya empowered Nabila to purchase the necessary quantity of livestock goods in order to launch her own independent business. After starting her business, through the net profit she received from her project, Nabila was able to pay off all of her family’s debt! She was also able to save money for her children’s future. Nabila described her success by saying “I now feel like I am smart and have learned to be a successful manager. I know when to buy new goods, and when it’s time to sell them. My children are so proud of me and even help me during their free time.”

We are so proud of the mothers and their successes! Thank you for your generous support, prayers, and for believing in our work and mission. Your support has encouraged these mothers and made them feel valued, respected, and enabled them to be confident women in their communities, and supportive mothers to their children!

Jul 18, 2018

Changing Egypt One Valuable Girl At A Time

By God’s grace and your support for our work, we would like to share with you some joyful news and stories about the Valuable Girl Project (VGP) in Egypt. In June 2018, the Muslim and Christian Big Sisters and Little sisters came together to celebrate Ramadan by organizing an Iftar dinner in the Governorate of Minya. The girls came together to share laughter, fun stories, and warm feelings with their mentors and with the other guests. In a show of inter-communal solidarity, and in honor of Ramadan, the Muslim Holy Month, the girls in the program designed a frame which read: “Ramadan is better with the Valuable Girl Project”. They took many pictures with each other, with their supervisors, and with local religious and community leaders who were in attendance inside the frame.

Besides its communal role in building bridges between Muslims and Christians, the Valuable Girl Project works on a personal level with the girls in the program. We want to share with you some of the remarkable successes of the students. In Manlawy, a town in the governorate of Minya, one of the Little Sisters, Mary*, experienced an amazing change in her attitude towards school, her grades, and even appearance. Before joining VGP, she lived in a poor neighborhood where very few people are educated and her chances of attending college were very low. After joining VGP, and getting the support of her Big Sister, Mary showed noticeable change in her educational performance. She began performing better and became one of the best students in her school during the fifth grade. The teachers and the schoolmasters wondered where this big shift came from, and asked Mary about the reasons for her improvement. Mary told her teachers and the schoolmaster about the mentoring she receives from her VGP Big Sister.

Because the schoolmaster was so amazed by Mary’s change, he wrote a letter of appreciation to VGP staff to acknowledge Mary’s improvement in school. He highlighted the project’s impact on her by saying “she has changed in her looks, manners, and now has outstanding educational performance. Also, she is unique and different from her peers”. The schoolmaster thanked the project for its role and wished the team all the best of luck.

Big and Little sisters in the program often express how their lives change after they join the Valuable Girl Project. One of the Big Sisters said “my self-esteem improved after I took the responsibility of mentoring my Little Sister”. Because of your constant support for VGP, we have reached over 700 girls in disadvantaged areas all around Egypt, and with your support we look forward to reaching many more.



*Names and locations changed to maintain the privacy of our participants.

 
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