Coptic Orphans Helping Children of Egypt.
From the web site of George Mason University's Student Newspaper.
Doris Abdel Messieh, director of public relations for an organization called Coptic Orphans, came Thursday and addressed a group of students at George Mason University. Coptic Orphans exists to provide food, clothing, medicine and educational assistance to orphans in poverty stricken parts of Egypt. The word orphan has a special and specific meaning to the organization. “Kids who have lost their fathers,” Abdel Messieh said. “That is how we define orphans.”
Abdel Messieh said this group is in particular need. “We estimate approximately 100,000 children who are in dire need of help,” she said. “We have only been able to touch the lives of about 7,000.”
To show why students should help these individuals, Abdel Messieh presented the video entitled, “We are the Youth of Our Nation.” American students smiled from photograph to photograph as the song, "We are the Youth of Our Nation,” by the band P.O.D., played in the background. The atmosphere, however, changed drastically from smiles to sorrow. Americans watched Egyptian underage workers, and saw hurt children and homes filled with raw sewage as REM’s song “Everybody Hurts” filled the silent room. “[The video] was very touching," said Hiba Aziz, 18, a sophomore at Mason and president of the Orthodox Christian Students, an on-campus organization that was host to the event. Abdel Messieh agreed. “I think that presentation pretty much speaks for itself,” she said, wiping tears from her cheeks, shed for a recent return from Egypt where a boy, with no front door or furniture, still found a way to fight the poverty.
“He has managed to be at the top of his class every year,” she said. In spite of his living conditions and a misdiagnosis that left him addicted to cortisone, he persevered. “He has hope. He has been given hope.”
But the presentation was not just about the orphans. It was about American youth, and what they can do to help these children. “That is what this presentation is about," said Mark Nakhla, 20, a senior and vice president of the OCS. “It’s about hope. To put a smile on someone’s face.”
“That is what Coptic Orphans wants to do,” said Abdel Messieh. “Give them hope.”
How can students help out? “There are many programs there in Egypt,” said Abdel Messieh. However, the one students can get most involved in is “Serve to Learn.” Individuals spend three to six weeks in Egypt teaching English. “They are there to provide a classroom environment and show that it [learning] is enjoyable,” said Abdel Messieh.
“It was a lot of fun, especially if you care about these kids,” said Tony Soliman, a senior at Mason’s Prince William Campus, who returned from Egypt this past August. “I would do it every year if I could.”
For more information on Coptic Orphans, visit their Web site, www.copticorphans.org