13 January 2012
A Sudanese girl walks with her Egyptian friend, left, at the private school, Yed el Hesshan, in Alexandria, Egypt. (photo: Sean Sprague)
In the September 2009 issue of ONE, Liam Stack wrote about life for Sudanese refugees in Alexandria, Egypt. While Alexandria provides a better life for many, these refugees still face some challenges:
Sudanese families must also meet the additional expense of enrolling their children in private schools. Under Egyptian law, non- Egyptian students do not have guaranteed access to public schools.
Fortunately, the vicariate goes to great lengths to fill the gap, locating and paying for suitable private school programs for Sudanese children in Alexandria. Last year, it put 113 Sudanese children through school, from kindergarten through the last year of high school, at a cost of $25,626.
Father Jal keeps a record of every student supported by the vicariate — as well as his or her school registration and receipts — in a crisp manila folder in his desk. It bulges with slips of paper.
“The public schools are cheap, but they are for Egyptian children,” explained the priest. “[The vicariate] has some places in those schools, but only a few.”
Among the private schools where children are placed is Yed el Hesshan, located near the seashore in downtown Alexandria. A high wall encloses an adjacent schoolyard where children play games, sing songs and talk about the popular American show “Hannah Montana.” It could be anywhere in the world.
To learn more, read Alexandria’s Struggling Sudanese.
30 December 2011
Tags: Egypt Refugees Africa Sudan
A woman prays in a church in Deir Azra, a Christian village in Upper Egypt. This is an unpublished photo from the September 2011 story Spotlight: Coptic Women. (photo: Holly Pickett)
2011 was a year of change throughout the world. Many countries in the Middle East underwent political upheavals — the repercussions of which will surely unfold for years to come. The people and churches we serve in the region — from Iraq to Egypt to Syria — were undoubtedly affected. Through it all, and with your generosity, CNEWA has assisted Christians throughout the Middle East.
This year has been one of change for our agency, too. In September, we welcomed a new president, Msgr. John E. Kozar.
With your continued support, CNEWA will remain a lifeline to those in need in the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe in 2012! May your New Year be a blessed and prosperous one!
28 December 2011
Tags: Egypt Africa Coptic Christians Coptic Church
Founded by the Good Shepherd Sisters in 1987, the Bethlehem Day Care Center serves the families of Cherkos, an impoverished neighborhood in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
(photo: Sean Sprague)
A Catholic school education opens the door to a new world and better life for many of the families CNEWA serves. Its value is priceless, as Sean Sprague reported in this story from the March 2006 issue of ONE.
Paul Wachter reported on the social implications of providing children with a Catholic school education in Ethiopia in the March 2007 issue of ONE:
While much progress is being made at relatively prosperous schools like Bisrate Gabriel (which CNEWA supported in the past), the greatest challenges lie with Ethiopia’s underserved poor.
“It helps if we reach the kids early,” said Genet Assefa, principal of the Bethlehem Day Care Center. The center, founded by the Good Shepherd Sisters in 1987, caters to the children of Cherkos, a slum in Addis Ababa that takes its name from the neighborhood church. (The sisters run a second day care facility in Addis Ababa, the Good Shepherd Sisters’ Center.)
On a recent visit to the Bethlehem center, more than 150 children, all under 7, were fully engaged in their classes. Some recited the English alphabet: “C! C is for cat.” Others practiced Amharic, their national language.
“The center serves two purposes,” said Mrs. Assefa. “It gives these children access to an early education that they wouldn’t ordinarily have, which will encourage them to go on to primary school and beyond. And it also frees up the parents, many of whom are single mothers, so that they can try to earn a living and improve their lives.”
For more see, Making the Grade in Ethiopia and Breaking Barriers. To learn how you can help educate a child in Ethiopia, visit our website.
13 December 2011
Tags: Ethiopia Children Africa Catholic Schools
Hermina Tharwat, 12, studies for winter exams at Santa Lucia, a home for the blind
in Abou Kir, Egypt. (photo: Holly Pickett)
Today is the feast day of Saint Lucy, the patron saint of the blind. In the May 2010 issue of ONE we profiled a home for the blind in Egypt named after the saint:
The Santa Lucia Home — named in honor of the patron saint of the blind — was built with funds from CNEWA’s donors and houses ten girls and eight boys from ages 8 to 18. The children do not attend school next door, which is not equipped to teach the blind. Rather, they are enrolled in public programs in other areas of the city. The boys attend El Nour School in Alexandria’s Muharram Bey neighborhood, while the girls attend a similar school in the Zizina area.
Sister Souad and her colleague, Sister Hoda Chaker Assal, rouse the children every morning for breakfast, baths and a 7:45 date with the school bus.
“Here we wake them and prepare them for school, we feed them and do their laundry and we tuck them in at night and make sure they get a good rest,” says Sister Souad. “It is just like at home.”
For more from this story see, Blind to LImitations.
23 November 2011
Tags: Egypt Children Africa Disabilities
An Ethiopian monk enjoys a lunch of injera and shiro in Tullo Gudo Island, Ethiopia.
(photo: Sean Sprague)
Tomorrow, many Americans will spend the day enjoying a feast with loved ones. So today, as everyone prepares for the big holiday, we’d like to share some of a feast from CNEWA’s world. It’s the national dish of Ethiopia — injera, which is a spongy, crepe-like bread made from the extremely fine grain known as tef. It is typically eaten with stews and veggies of all sorts. No utensils necessary for this delicacy!
Interested in learning how to prepare injera? Check out this recipe on Food.com!
Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!
21 November 2011
Tags: Ethiopia Africa Cuisine Monasticism
Ethiopians attend early morning prayer led by monks of Meskaye Hizunan Medhane Alem Monastery in Addis Ababa. (photo: Peter Lemieux)
In the November 2010 issue of ONE, Peter Lemieux explored how Ethiopian Orthodox monasticism now functions in a more modern or urban setting:
Sunrise at the Meskaye Hizunan Medhane Alem Monastery in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital and largest city, feels anything but contemplative. A cacophony of roaring bus and car engines interrupts the early morning calm. A blur of red brake lights eclipses the rising sun’s soft rays. The compound, which includes a church and an elementary and high school, sits at the heart of the bustling Sidist Kilo neighborhood, home to Addis Ababa University’s main campus. The neighborhood’s urban energy is palpable, even when the city has barely awakened.
Inside the church, worshipers and monks have filled the pews to celebrate the day’s first liturgy. Chants drown out the noise of the street. Incense meanders through the candlelit nave.
As the service concludes, Abbot Melake Girmai leads the monks to the monastery’s refectory. A small army of kitchen staff serves a hearty breakfast — fluffy white injera (spongy bread made from teff), wat (a traditional vegetable and meat stew), fruit, coffee and tea.
Though hardly the lap of luxury, the monks at this urban religious house enjoy comforts unthinkable in the far more ascetic rural monasteries for which Ethiopian Orthodoxy has long been known.
For more from this story see, Relevant or Relic?.
7 November 2011
Tags: Ethiopia Africa Monastery
A mother and child in Ethiopia wait for food tickets. (photo: Christian Molidor)
Women throughout Ethiopia have struggled for equality for quite some time. Thanks to groups like the Good Shepherd Sisters, there have been some victories in this battle:
One of the sisters’ most successful programs, Delta trains women in community organizing and civic leadership. Hundreds of women have benefited, learning how to be active agents of change in their communities. “People were sitting on their tails,” explained Sister Myriam in a pronounced Irish brogue.
“We told them, ‘You have major problems here, but nothing that can’t be solved. God is here. But God can’t do everything. He’s waiting for you to get off your backside and do something about it.’ ”
For more from this story see, An Uphill Battle by Peter Lemieux.
Meanwhile, at least one young woman from Ethiopia is outrunning her country’s history — and making some history of her own. Firehiwot Dado won the New York City Marathon yesterday. Her finishing time was seconds from the course record set in 2003.
27 October 2011
Tags: Ethiopia Africa
Young girls celebrate one of Ethiopia’s holiest days, Mariam Zion or
Mary of Zion in Askum, Ethiopia. (photo: Sean Sprague)
Today, according to the Latin calendar, is the feast day for Saint Frumentius, who is considered one of the apostles of Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church venerates Saint Frumentius, however, on August 1.
St. Frumentius is the first Abune — a title given to the head of the Ethiopian Church— and credited with the founding of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
In the May 2010 issue of ONE we profiled the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and its origins:
The character of Aksum changed in the early fourth century when the emperor, Ezana, declared Christianity the official state religion. Influenced by his tutor, Frumentius, Ezana had embraced the Christian faith and later installed his former tutor as Aksum’s first bishop. Ordained to the episcopacy by Athanasius, the sainted patriarch of the Egyptian city of Alexandria, Frumentius established filial bonds with the Egyptian church that remained for centuries. Until the middle of the 20th century, a Coptic (derived from the Greek for “Egyptian”) metropolitan archbishop governed the Ethiopian church.
Ezana is also credited with obtaining the most important symbol of Ethiopian Christianity, the Ark of the Covenant. According to an ancient Ethiopian tradition, the Jews of Aksum guarded the Ark on an island refuge. It had been carried from Jerusalem to Aksum by Menelik, the son of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, a figure Ethiopians and Eritreans claim as their own.
To learn more about The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, read our profile in the May 2010 issue of our magazine.
19 October 2011
Tags: Africa Ethiopian Orthodox Church
Lunchtime at the Bethlehem Day Care Center, Addis Ababa. (photo: Sean Sprague)
In the March 2006 issue of ONE Sean Sprague reported on the impact of Catholic Schools in Ethiopia. With the support of organizations such as CNEWA, Catholic schools in Ethiopia provide a quality education to children throughout the nation:
For more than 40 years, CNEWA has provided tens of thousands of children with food, shelter, clothes and schooling. Until recently, this support was earmarked for each individual child, whether enrolled in a Catholic school or living in an orphanage administered by a religious community, said CNEWA’s Regional Director for Ethiopia, De La Salle Christian Brother Vincent Pelletier. Now, in addition to providing these essentials, the agency has begun to support the needs of the institutions as well.
“This includes salaries, administrative costs and the repair and improvement of school facilities,” said Brother Vincent. “We have also learned that the schools’ administrators and teachers were not sufficiently trained,” he added, “so we are developing teacher training workshops.” To that end, CNEWA has recruited Felleke Shibikom, a veteran administrator of Ethiopia’s Catholic schools with more than 35 years of experience.
“Over time,” Brother Vincent said, “we expect this program will raise the level of administration and teaching in the 38 schools supported by CNEWA.” This includes Merhawi Kahsay’s school in Adaga.
For more from this story, see Making the Grade in Ethiopia by Sean Sprague.
11 October 2011
Tags: Ethiopia Africa Catholic education Catholic Schools
A woman prays in a church in Deir Azra, a Christian village in Upper Egypt. (photo: Holly Pickett)
Sunday night in Cairo a demonstration turned deadly when military officials opened fire on a group of Christian demonstrators, killing some two dozen of them, the New York Times reported:
Coptic leaders issued an unusually pointed statement charging that the demonstrators were set up to take the blame for a crackdown. “Strangers got in the middle of our sons and committed mistakes to be blamed on our sons,” the statement said, claiming that acts of discrimination or aggression against Copts repeatedly “go unpunished.”
In a measure of their growing distrust of the military-led government, the families of the Copts killed in the violence decided they did not trust government-run facilities to perform autopsies, fearing the results might hide evidence of the violence by security forces. After hours of deliberation with priests, activists and human rights groups, they arranged to bring forensic teams to a Coptic hospital, causing the funeral to be called off.
Inside the hospital, Mariam Telmiz, 40, sat at the bedside of a brother-in-law who had been wounded by a bullet at the demonstration. Another brother-in-law had been killed by a bullet.
The military was ready to protect Egyptian Muslims who carried a Saudi flag or even pulled the Israeli flag off its embassy, she said, “but the one who holds his cross high gets humiliated.”
For more on this story read Copts Denounce Egyptian Government Over Killings in today’s New York Times or Copts Mourn Victims in Cairo Protest from the Catholic News Service.
In the current issue of ONE, Cairo-based journalist Sarah Topol reported on some of the difficulties faced by Christian women in Egypt in the story Spotlight: Coptic Women. In the video below, Sarah talks about what it’s like to be a woman journalist in Egypt during such a challenging time.
Tags: Egypt Africa Coptic Christians