December 12, BLESS Egypt hosted a visit from Shekh Gabir Taie, Undersecretary of Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf and the Head of the Religious Sector and Shekh Mohamed Ezzat, from Religious Sector. The meeting aim to enrich the partnership between BLESS and Awkaf to promote peace and embrace interfaith dialogue through SALMO project. H.G Bishop Yolios highlighted that Minestry of Awkaf has a long and proud history of tolerance, he praised the effective role Awkaf plays in spreading the values of tolerance and promote justice, respect, peace and harmony. H.G. reaffirmed that BLESS is looking forward to cooperating with Al-Awkaf, and Religious leaders as part of continued efforts to foster a hope-filled dialogue between cultures and faiths.
As a part of the launching of SALMO project funded by Diakonia, BLESS Egypt organized a consultation meeting on Tuesday, November; 6th. The aim of that meeting was to streamline and advise the SALMO project workplan to identify the most efficient means to maximize the peace and tolerance among community groups in target communities. The meeting brought together academics and experts from governmental and non-governmental institutions who work on development sector, in order to strength coordination, collaboration and networking among the various partners and community influencers. The meeting started with a welcoming speech from HG Bishop Yolios, the Bishop of Public, Ecumenical and Social services to the participants. HG pointed out that the culture of peace building is derived from all religions and stressed the importance of establishing a culture of peace in society based on respect for human rights and tolerance.
On Monday, November 13, they met with H.G. Bishop Yolios, Bishop of Public, Social and Ecumenical Services. Ms. Suzanne stressed the importance of coming closer to the development work. This gives a clearer vision about what has been achieved when reading periodic reports. She also expressed her pleasure at the development work in Gharira village. One of H.O.P.E.’s strategies is to consolidate economic projects at the individual and community levels.
On Sunday 12 November 2018, the representatives visited the village of Gharira in Esna, one of the ICDP projects. During the visit they met with the committee members (local volunteers), and field workers (development practitioners), as well as Mr. Adel Sami, Sector Coordinator of Aswan.
BLESS always cares about the prosperity and well-being of Egyptian citizens.
This will not be only through improving the social and economic conditions of individuals, but also by developing the different aspects of their cultural life.
Accordingly, BLESS will begin to implement a new project to identify and monitor elements of the cultural heritage of Coptic communities, and the protection of this heritage as part of the overall community development work.
Therefore, the implementation of the new project “Preservation of cultural heritage for development” will be implemented on several stages.
Title of workshop: First meeting “peace building and accepting others”
Date of workshop : Saturday 29\9\2018
Participants: Forty-one priests and sheikhs in the communities served by ICDP
Participating communities were from Alexandria and Beheira
The Lecturers were priests and sheikhs members of The Egyptian family house
The concept of periodically checkups is not a common habit among most of the Egyptians because of three
reasons: first, the bureaucracy of the insurance system which gives the patient two choices worse than each
other whether to pay a lot of money or wait for a long time in order to be treated on the government’s
expenses. Second, the people’s lack of information about the latest provided services from the government as
the government has recently begun facilitating the medical services through the campaigns of Hepatitis C and
the early detection of breast and cervical cancer. Third, the people’s belief that detecting a disease may
destroy their lives and make them live unhappily, so most of them prefer ignoring their health condition rather
than the detection of a disease, following bureaucratic procedures and spending a lot of money.
BLESS’ fieldworkers focus on correcting these wrong beliefs through the seminars and the health awareness
El Yasmeen village is one of the poor villages in Beni-Suef. Its inhabitants suffered a lot from diseases and
pollution due to the wastes and rubbish that are thrown by people in the streets and in the unplanted lands,
which led the flies and insects to be spread in the area. That was not considered to be a safe or healthy
environment to live in. Also, the people were always fighting with each other because of the unclean streets
as there is a number of people whom are not aware of the importance of having a clean society.
BLESS fieldworkers began raising the people’s awareness through the sessions and home visits which
motivated the local cadres and volunteers to gather in a meeting in order to discuss all the environmental
problems and think about solutions for them. They decided to send some representatives of them to present
the problem in front of the local council. Both of the representatives and the local council decided to make a
cleaning campaign for the village as a reply for their request.
Mrs. M.A, a 41 years old illiterate women who lived in El-Der el Sharqi village in Sohag governorate in Upper
Egypt. M.A’s husband was suffering from brain stroke that hindered his ability to move and speak then he
passed away in early 2018. Their five children are raised in very tight circumstances and specially the three
younger ones who still in different educational stages. These conditions strengthened their personalities and
their family bonds as they were all supporting each other to fight for life.
Kafr lebs farmers dreamt about having their own agricultural association with a fertilizers-warehouse to achieve self-sufficiency and to benefit from what is provided by the government. But, the farmers were not having a piece of land to build the association on which was the only condition for establishing it, so they discussed their problem with the manager of the central agricultural association and the rural committee whom scanned the area until they found a piece of land suitable for the establishment of the association and the warehouse. This land belonged to the irrigation authority of El-Minia governorate, however, there was one of the farmers who took it over. The local community leaders make many negotiations with the irrigation authority until they agreed to allocate this land for the agricultural association but they told the farmers that they could give them this land only if they started to build on the same day of the offset property. That pushed the rural committee members and the leaders of the agricultural association to gather in an urgent meeting to put a plan for the upcoming period and how to motivate the rural society and the farmers to complete building the association.
With the blessings of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, and under the guidance of His Grace Bishop Yolios (the general bishop for old Cairo and BLESS) and His Grace Bishop Bavly (the general bishop for east Alexandria), The church celebrated the first graduating class of development field workers who will be serving in slum areas of Alexandria. The 35 graduates will begin development work in area of El Awayed, which includes Khorshed, Zawayed, El Bakatosh, and El Maraghy. The following individuals honored this event with their presence: Fr. Salib, on behalf of El Komos Reweis Marcos (the general priest of the patriarch of Alexandria) The priests of Awayed area; El KomosEbraam Abdelmessih, Fr. Samaan Assad, Fr. Rafael Helmy, Fr. Abanoub Iskandar,Fr. Fam Farouk, Fr. Makar William, Fr. Yohanna Youssef. From BLESS: El Komos Boulos El Meharaky(consultant of the training unit of BLESS), Dr. Hani Samir (the Executive Director of BLESS), Mr. Ayman Karam (the Director of Training Unit), Dr. Victor Fawzy (Director of Health Program), Mr. George Naguib(the Manager of BLESS office in Alexandria), and a group of program managers in BLESS who participated in the training.