Valuable Girl: Empower 100,000 Girls in Egypt

by Coptic Orphans
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Valuable Girl: Empower 100,000 Girls in Egypt
Valuable Girl: Empower 100,000 Girls in Egypt
Valuable Girl: Empower 100,000 Girls in Egypt
Valuable Girl: Empower 100,000 Girls in Egypt
Valuable Girl: Empower 100,000 Girls in Egypt
Valuable Girl: Empower 100,000 Girls in Egypt
Valuable Girl: Empower 100,000 Girls in Egypt
Valuable Girl: Empower 100,000 Girls in Egypt
Valuable Girl: Empower 100,000 Girls in Egypt
Valuable Girl: Empower 100,000 Girls in Egypt
Valuable Girl: Empower 100,000 Girls in Egypt
Valuable Girl: Empower 100,000 Girls in Egypt
Valuable Girl: Empower 100,000 Girls in Egypt
Valuable Girl: Empower 100,000 Girls in Egypt
Valuable Girl: Empower 100,000 Girls in Egypt
Local Coordinators in Training
Local Coordinators in Training

Sherry served as a local coordinator for a Valuable Girl Project site. The experience of helping girls succeed in school and lfie who found themselves marginalized in their villages just for being girls--and some of whom had experienced the further marginalization of being fatherless, a serious circumstance in Egyptian culture--transformed Sherry's life. She decided to dedicate her life to work with paternal orphans as part of Coptic Orphans.

Late this September, was sitting at the back of an old microbus after spending a long day going from home to home, checking on the progress of orphaned children in Samalout, and delivering free health insurance cards to children.

The cards gave each child rare coverage for high quality medical care in a country where woefully inadequate government health systems often leaves children from poor families with debilitating chronic and terminal conditions.

She had cards for 250 more children in the bag she held tightly on her lap against the bustle of passengers stacked together—unbuckled—throughout the bus.

Just before they crossed a bridge to Mallawi, the bus’s breaks screeched. It hit the car ahead with a crunch and a jerk. Passengers slammed backwards and piled into Sherry as she felt the bus swing around. Their weight became crushing as the front of the bus tilted wildly. She knew they were falling in the Nile.

They hit the Nile with a smack. Glass shattered and poured into the bus with cascades of water.

She prayed and immediately thought: "The God who brought Jonah up from beneath the waters is my God, too." With that, she closed her eyes.

Men pulled Sherry out the window of the bus, and she emerged without broken bones or major injuries. Only the tenderness of minor bruises remained days later.

But the story doesn’t end here.

Two weeks later, the police called. They found a plastic envelope that had her name on it floating down the Nile. The envelope had the precious health insurance cards for the 250 children in her area who were still waiting for access to medical care.

Sherry draws on her faith when she reflects about what happened: “Because I am serving God’s children, He rescued me from drowning.  And because Coptic Orphans’ children are His own, He returned their health insurance cards safely – 15 days later, and from the bottom of the Nile.”

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Big Sister Teaches Little Sisters in El Barsha
Big Sister Teaches Little Sisters in El Barsha

Mona became a local coordinator for the Valuable Girl Project site in El Barsha, Minia several years ago. She received training on dealing with different personality types and identifying the unique needs of every girl, on setting individualized goals for each girl and then following-up. 

When the Project ended at Mona’s site, she decided to take all the training she received to others.  

So Mona applied to volunteer with another program of Coptic Orphans, Not Alone, among paternal orphans in her area of El Barsha. For a year and a half, she visited the homes of 25 children under her care. 

She used her training and experience in the Valuable Girl Project to look around their homes during visits and ask just the right questions to reveal a family's most pressing needs, then set the right goals to move the family forward. 

Coptic Orphans’ Area Program Manager, who oversaw Mona’s volunteer work in both the Valuable Girl Project and Not Alone, says,

"The basis of the Valuable Girl Project is the relationship between the Big Sister and the Little Sister. Mona showed through her work that she got exactly what it was all about, relationships, and that made a deep impact on not only all her girls, but also the fatherless children she has been visiting for the last year and a half."

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Girls show off hands-on crafts on training topic
Girls show off hands-on crafts on training topic

Since 2010, Coptic Orphans has been handing its sites that have continued for an initial 4-year seed period over to the hands of local partners.

Local Egyptian schools, churches, NGO's, and community development associations - the unique public village volunteer associations that look after education, healthcare, economic and social needs of each community - have carried four Valuable Girl Project sites into permanent local supervision.

Among those most recently was our site in Luxor. The indigenous Egyptian Association for Development and Vocational Training carried the site forth.

This has been proof for us that when we plant these sites around Egypt, they do have the strength to grow on their own. Villages say that the sites change their way of thinking about girls. One girl said, "before the project, I was not allowed to even cross the street and buy a coke. But now my family asks my opinion on important decisions." Every contribution helps us transform another village and community.


In the Valuable Girl Project, Coptic Orphans builds self-esteem in girls at risk of dropping out of school in order to promote academic retention and access to civil and social rights through mentoring between “little sisters” in primary school and “big sisters” in secondary school and university.

Girls enjoy an oasis of social and educational freedom at local program centers. Advocacy visits to the homes and
schools of participants help girls take this freedom with them into daily life.

Hands-on training at same Luxor site in 2012
Hands-on training at same Luxor site in 2012


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Dear Supporters,

Watani Magazine just interviewed Teresa Samir, a former Big Sister in Coptic Orphans’ Valuable Girl Project.Teresa is a remarkably young woman.

In high school she volunteered at the Valuable Girl Project center in her home town, El Barsha, meeting with girls in primary school to give them help with schoolwork and mentoring in life. Then, she became one of the site’s local coordinators, a group of volunteers responsible for administering and leading each Valuable Girl Project site in exchange for a small stipend.

She later moved to Cairo to work as a journalist, but came back to El Barsha. Teresa believes that the duty of everyone is to their local community. So she started the Masr Association for Development and Democratic Progress, a local community-building organization based in El Barsha, and started working to build up her town.

TAMKEEN, a recent partnership between Coptic Orphans and USAID that supports the efforts of local Community Development Associations in Egyptian villages and teaches them how to become more effective and

 You can read the full Watani interview in Arabic here, but do keep in mind that this does not represent the views of Coptic Orphans, which remains dedicated to our work with children who--like Teresa--have the potential to transform generations in their local communities, and not to politics.

efficient, now supports Teresa’s local development work in El Barsha.

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Dear Supporters,

I want to share with you the story of one of the girls in the Valuable Girl Project. Death is something that we all deal with but it has a different effect on all of us. Sometimes it makes us appreciate life and brings us closer to our family. Other times it makespeople go into a depression. Sherry* is now a very confident 13 year old girl who speaks clearly and looks you in the eye. But she wasn’t always this way.

Her father died unexpectantly leaving Sherry and her mother alone. Sherry was very close to her father and his death caused her to go into shock. She said despite having her mother around, she still felt helpless and alone. Her speech became slurred and very difficult to understand.

Sherry’s mother was forced to move back in with her parent’s family because they could not support themselves.

Sherry’s other aunts lived in the family home and made jokes about Sherry’s speech daily. They would tell her, “you, who can’t speak properly, be quiet.”

Read the rest of the story to find out how Sherry's life changed through VGP!


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Organization Information

Coptic Orphans

Location: Merrifield, Virginia - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @copticorphans
Project Leader:
Nermien Riad
Merrifield , Virginia United States
$196,092 raised of $300,000 goal
361 donations
$103,908 to go
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