Misa village

Poor family in Misa Village, Cairo

The Misa Village is within sight of the Pyramids, yet poverty is ubiquitous here.

We decide to support one family on the eve of an important religious celebration and by shoes for the children.

Name family in Misa village near Giza
Aim To allow a destitute muslim family to celebrate their festival in dignity
Since 2005
Staff individual
People reached grandmother living with her daughter and four grandchildren
Contact take a bus to the Misa village before or after visiting the pyramids
Donation 600 EP (USD)

A visitor from Alexandria who wears sunglasses and tells me today is a good day for charitable giving since the heaven is open (it is the eve of the Islamic sacrifice festival) takes me from the Pyramids of Giza to the village of Misa. He knows his way through the muddy narrow streets to the very modest dwelling of a family of only women. I follow him to this family and have a look around. The grandmother, head of the family, is sitting outside, her back leaning against the rough wall of the alleyway. She is wrapped in a black cloth, yet her wrinkled old face with the dark eyes is visible. Inside, I see her daughter who is living with her after the death of her husband, and her children running around barefoot.

So much wisdom…

I decide to support this family, and ask what they could use. Shoes, they answer in unison, shoes for the children would be nice, and meat for the festival. Okay. In spite of my habit not to just give alms I agree and supply them what they need to celebrate in dignity.

We walk to the shop and buy six pairs of kid’s shoes, documenting the purchase with my camera. The shop owner is a smiling big man who writes an impromptu receipt for the shoes on a page of my notebook. We head back and I discreetly hand over the rest of the money to the grandmother. I take some more photographs to give an impression of their living condition: a small, barely furnished dark room with an old stove in the back, a modest bedroom with some carpets on the floor
Grandmother, whose husband passed away a few years ago, dragged herself inside and started to prepare tea. She can’t stand up because of a “knee problem”. I take it she has arthritis and tell them that my donation is either for her medical treatment or for the preparations of the festival. That is their idea too.

They invite me to celebrate the festival with them and that touches me. I have to move on though, there is a lot more to do for Charity Travel.

Misa village was originally published on Meandering home

Caritas Egypt

Caritas Egypt, Cairo

November 28th, 2009

Caritas Egypt does community outreach in empoverished areas of Cairo. They provide cheap healthcare and vocational training for marginalized and mentally challenged children.

We visit one of their centers in Cairo and make a modest contribution for the education of mentally challenged children.

Name Caritas Egypt, Mataraya center
Aim To help the poorest in Mataraya and its suburbs with medical aid, education and social programs
Since 1976
Staff over 35 workers
People reached over 1000 people are reached each year
Contact Ebtissam Kamel
ebtissam.mina at gmail.com

Donation 100 USD
Caritas Egypt operates a number of centers in greater Cairo. In Mataraya there is a compound center that serves the neighbourhood and its surroundings. The activities of this center are divided into five sections.
Basic clinical services like general medical checkup, oculism, ENT, dental care, among others are provided here.
They have a professional workshop where artificial limbs are produced along with other assisting equipment for the disabled like pairs of shoes with different heights to compensate for legs of unequal length.
The checkup is free for the poor and costs seven EP for others.
Woman development. This section offers a literacy program and second level education for girl that dropped out of highschool. They learn a craft, often against the will of the family who wants them to work and earn immediately. There is also a library free to use for everyone in the community.
A section for the mentally handicapped. There are cases of Down syndrome and autism. A training program is put in place that teaches the mentally disabled a craft. For 2-3 hours a day they visit the center, accompanied by their mother who learns about dealing with her child from the experts so she is able to apply it at home. Caritas has a specialized center that trains professional workers and mothers to pass on experience. They give special attention to child rights, and connect families so that they can assist each other.
Nearly 25 children live in the center’s orphanage.
The Motherhood and Childhood program is the first station where they check everything and often find out about a mental handicap or issues like malnutrition. The center offers lectures for the mothers, and even distributes milk and food.
Susan Mubarak, Egypt’s first lady, organized a contest and the center is proud to announce that three of the winners were trained here. The Christian girl who won the drawing competition had drawn Cairo’s most prominent mosque.
I think Caritas Egypt does very good work by running these centers, and they could use every support they can get.

Caritas Egypt was originally published on Meandering home

Groups for Peace

Groups for Peace, Ramallah, Palestine

near Ramallah, Palestinian Territories. November 23th, 2009

The Groups for Peace is a grassroots organization promoting the culture of peace by educating the local children through regular sessions.

Charity Travel supports the Peace Groups with a donation and the action “Peace of Fruit”, distributing fruits to school children who express their desire for peace.

Name Peace Groups in the West Bank
Aim To organize a grassroots peace movement and make sure the Palestinian children grow up with the culture of peace.
Since 2001
Staff The Center for Peace is run by two men. 20 people (mostly students) volunteer to organize the peace groups.
People reached Each year, 250 children from several villages on the West Bank can take part in the peacegroups.
The school we visit for the Peace of Fruit action has 345 children aged 6-12.
Contact anonymous to garantuee their safety. You can contact them via me.
A donation can be made to the following bank account:
Cairo-Aman Bank, account number 3351840562700, Sameer Saleh
Donation 500 USD

Since 2001, there is a Center for Peace in a small Palestinian village on the West Bank, operated by two amazing men who both have suffered from the humiliation and the war, but keep striving for peace. In a small school they have organized Peace Groups and once invited guests from Israel to sit down and talk about the peace. This has already proven effective. This village is very peaceful and is reaching out to the inhabitants of the settlements on the other hill. Unfortunately, the settlers would just shoot them when they enter “their” soil. We strongly support this grassroots peace initiative.

Supporting Students
Every year, 130 people from this village go to study in Nablus. Engineering and Finance are popular, but some students pick Political Science because they want to be part of the peace process. We support their transportation to and from the university in Nablus.
Early in the morning I hand over the donation to a student of Political Science, who will make share it with five other students.

Peace of Fruit
We buy fruit for 345 children in the village school for children age 6 to 12. Everybody is helping. There is a truck bringing many crates with fruits from another village, and quick hands put them into 345 little bags, a banana, an apple and an orange for every child. As we drive to the school, a photographer falls from the sky for the second time. It is Lazar, volunteering for the Palestine Monitor and by coincidence in the village to interview the family of a sick child. He offers me to take pictures of the action. So we are welcomed in the school and visit all ten classrooms, where we give every child the fruit. They all smile thankfully, it feels great. I can sense the culture of peace in these moments.

In two classes we ask every child to write “peace” on the blackboard in English or Arabic. They are very enthousiastic about it, and so are we. Thanks to Sami and his groups, these children are growing up in a culture of peace, despite the horrors that happen to many of their relatives. We take a lot of photos of the action.

I call for every visitor to the country of Israel to come to the West Bank, see it with his own eyes and get involved in a similar action. I believe we can make a change together.

Groups for Peace was originally published on Meandering home

Daughters of Charity

Bethlehem, Israel/Palestine. November 24th, 2009

Daughters of Charity is an orphan home providing shelter for children irrespective of their religion. They also support female victims of domestic violence.

We make a small donation.

Name Daughters of Charity Bethlehem
Aim To take care of maltreated, orphaned, undernourished, abused, or abandoned children from the Palestine territories
Since 1883
Staff 45 people work at the centre. There are 16 caregivers/nurses, 4 teachers, 2 supervisors.
People reached Currently 45 children aged 0-6 live in the crèche; 60 more children come for day care. Capacity is 120 children.
Also, there are more than 20 cases of pregnancies of unmarried women each year, who find refuge here.
Contact Daughters of Charity
Paul VI street, Bethlehem – French Hospital
POB: 11451
9114 Gilo-Jerusalem
Donation 50 USD

This is Charity Travel’s fastest cause so far. In only ten minutes I am guided around the church complex and take pictures of their good work. A good friend back home in the Netherlands has also vouched for this cause.

Daughters of Charity Bethlehem is a daycare center for the most underprivileged children from Palestine territories, regardless of their religion. It also shelters unwed mothers whose life is in danger as they come from a conservative islamic environment.
Since 1883, the sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul are taking care of the most underprivileged children in the holy land. In 1895 they established a hospital, now known as the Maternity of Bethlehem.
The Crèche itself has a capacity for 120 children, that are given much needed love, security, care and education in our times that are rather dark as a result of the inhumane separation wall and humiliations by the Israeli military (see this blog-post)

In the actual Socio-geopolitical context, the ‘Crèche of Bethlehem’ is more than ever necessary. It is an oasis for peace for the abandoned or entrusted children: children from poor background in every sense, undernourished, beaten, sometimes even raped, thrown out from their families by the mother in law, witnesses of the tragic death of their parents. Babies left on the road by desperate unwed mothers, and in many occasions it’s the only refuge for such Moms.” [source: Daughters of Charity brochure]

Daughters of Charity was originally published on Meandering home