An Egyptian Girl’s Perspective: Hope for A Brighter Future
08/01/2021 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Life for Christians is not easy in Egypt. Despite being home to one of the largest Christian populations in the Middle East, a system of societal persecution prevails as they are often treated as third-class citizens in nearly all aspects of life, whether it be in work, education, and most infamously, in the Egyptian justice system especially in instances of sectarian violence. Even children and their education are not left unscathed.
In a rural community like where Hope House exists, quality public education is scarce already, but the attitude of many traditional parents regarding their daughters’ education can also be an obstacle. When poverty is the rule, work at home for the women and work outside the home for the men is the standard, no matter the age. Girls are under scrutiny from their parents not to appear improper, gain the minimal amount of education necessary, focusing rather on developing homemaking skills to make suitable brides.
Karen Magdy, one of the Hope House attendees, told ICC, “I have to help my mother to prepare bread dough then bake the bread.” Oftentimes, the older girls in a family bear the burden of responsibilities, and the youngest in the family is required to do little. Another girl named Weza, who participates in the child sponsorship program, said, “I do the housework because my mom has a herniated disc and my sister is married. I’m the only girl in the house so I’m making lunch and dinner.”
“I do the housework because my mom has a herniated disc and my sister is married. I'm the only girl in the house so I'm making lunch and dinner.”
Young Manar explains, “my father objects my going to church at night and objected to my clothes too. I love to wear T-shirt and trousers.” While this certainly may be out of love and concern for their children in an environment where it is a struggle even to survive, one of the impacts is that dreams are crushed, and possible opportunities are missed. This often serves to merely continue the cycle of poverty many Egyptian Christians find themselves trapped in.
ICC’s work through our Hope House program provides classes for Christian children located in Egypt’s rural communities, making education possible for these girls. This enables them to lay a foundation from which to pursue opportunities many of their parents never could. Manar, who is in 6th grade, has some serious ambitions, “I dream of being a doctor so I will heal my grandma. She is sick of a disease that makes her faint.”
Karen desires to further develop and utilize her communication abilities, “I want to be a translator. That’s the job I would love most.” None of these objectives are impossible, many Egyptian Christian men and women have succeeded despite the challenges of persecution faced throughout society, but support is critical, and it starts in the home at this young age.
Through Hope House’s system of child sponsorship, the cost is alleviated for families that often would not even have considered placing their daughter in school. It also provides incentives for parents to keep their young daughters in school through things like food packages. The results speak for themselves in that when given the chance, girls like Manar and Karen have taken to their subjects enthusiastically, meeting with great success, and sparking hope for a brighter future.
For interviews please contact Addison Parker: firstname.lastname@example.org