"Apart from you, no one came to help us! "
On an early June evening, I get a voice message from one of our Egyptian colleagues: an orphanage contacted him after seeing our recent anti-Covid19 donations in Egypt. Indeed, since mid-March, the mission of SOS Chrétiens d’Orient in Egypt has been strongly mobilized to support the poorest Christian families and the most threatened by the Covid-19: donation of food, donation of hydro-alcoholic gel, masks, gloves or financial support... We have made dozens of donations, especially in the slums of Cairo, the country's huge capital where millions of Christian pickers piling up.
This orphanage for boys from 5 to 12 years old, located in the district of Misr El Gedida, on the edge of the square called “triumph”, unfortunately did not receive governmental or local help to protect their orphaned residents from the medical and social crisis that affects the whole country.
In Egypt, the Covid-19 will reach its top in two weeks, so we are in the middle of the crisis!
In the face of this cry of distress, we decide to contact them in order to plan a future donation; this one must take place six days after this call, with the program: hydro-alcoholic gel, a box of masks, a box of gloves, chocolates and board games to bring a little joy to this Christian orphanage. Special funds were freed up thanks to the generous donations collected in April and May.
When we arrive there, we are welcomed by Madame Salwa, the director with a big heart of the orphanage. Before entering the orphanage, she tells us a little about her arrival here, the different profiles of orphans she takes care of, the difficulty of finding funds in this very special time but also of occupying orphans deprived of school, leisure and outings...
The 12 orphans of the first floor come down to introduce themselves and meet each other. Everything is well prepared. One after another, they tell us their names from the youngest to the oldest who is 12 years old: two Mina, a Karas, a Shenouda etc... the names of the holy Egyptian martyrs.
If some still have an aunt or grandfather, all of them were welcomed by Madame Salwa to avoid the dangers of the street: misery, diseases, drugs and prostitution... Sad stories but all have been saved and now break into a broad smile in front of our amazed eyes.
After a brief presentation on the use of hydro-alcoholic gel and the proper setting up of the mask, we distribute the chocolates and the different games we bought to distract them a minimum during this long month of lockdown. Monopoly, cards, small horses and the tawla (traditional oriental game like backgammon) will soon be amortized given the greedy look of these ten kids!
After the distribution, a little surprise awaits us, not least: a Coptic prayer sung by this little improvised choir. A prayer dedicated to Jesus where His name in Arabic is sing at the end of every sentence! We can't resist singing to them as a thank you a "Hail Mary". And we were right!
Amazed by this French language that they don't know or so little via a few films and books talking about Napoleon in Egypt or of Egyptologists who passed through the southern desert and pyramids of Giza, they ask us if we can come once or twice a week teaching them the basics of our beautiful language. A new activity for the next volunteers who will certainly come back in Egypt in August with the appeasement of the epidemic in the country.
In any case, we have already started with our French-speaking Egyptian friends on site.
This aid and support operation for orphans of Misr El Gedida costs a total of €300 to the mission of SOS Chrétiens d’Orient in Egypt. This is in addition to more than € 15.000 worth of food packages and anti-Covid19 aid given monthly for Christian families in slums, poor neighborhoods and poor villages.
Support our emergency projects in slums.
Jérôme Cochet, head of mission in Egypt.