Food packages

Corona Food Bags

In March, when the Corona Crisis hit Egypt, we started handing bags with food. As you can understand, the poor people in Egypt are suffering more than usual, as many have seen their income decrease sharply. Income from tourism is nil, many construction projects and other work is stopped, so the people on the bottom of the ladder suffer most, with often no income at all.

We assist churches in Egypte to help their church members and to help Sudanese refugees in Cairo. The Corona-crisis is especially troublesome for Sudanese refugees because many of their women work in Egyptian households and are now told to not come; for most this means a complete loss of income.  The men often have menial jobs on a day-by-day basis.

So overall, the situation for most families is very desperate at the moment. We do what we are able to. By July 2020, we had been able to help 1387 families.

One woman told us the following:
“My husband works as a cleaner but he is sick. So I have to sit outside schools to sell small things like tissues and hairpins for girls, to help my husband. But after corona, the schools closed so I lost all income. The last months have been awful. We suffer. And mind you I have three small children myself. They were so happy to see you come with the food. One of my girls cried.”

Another woman told us:
“My children were so happy when they saw the food. Even chicken and meat! We have not had this for a long time, and after corona began it was even hard for me to buy just rice and tea. I am a widow. My husband died long ago, and we have always been able to survive on my small income. But due to corona, even my job as a cleaner is gone. I now depend on friends and family who help a bit. Your bag with food was a gift from God.”

Medical help for Sudanese people in Cairo

I was tempted to write: ‘for Sudanese refugees in Cairo’. But why define human beings as refugees? The Sudanese people I meet in Cairo are human beings in the first place, Christians, Muslims, men, women, fathers, mothers, husband, wives, children. People with dreams and aspirations.

And yes, they have escaped from Sudan. Often from the Nuba Mountains, in the southern province of South Kordofan in (North) Sudan.

These people often have petty jobs, as day laborors, or cleaners. Or they are teachers in their own refugee-community. Whule I live in Egypt, I have set up a primary school for their kids, and a social center.

And presently, I am involved in giving medical assistance to these Sudanese people. When disasters strike, and the families do not have enough money, I think peoiple are entitled to being treated in a worthy manner. They are humans, God’s creation, and worthhy of all support when they need it. As I hope for support when I need it.

So… Each year we help about 150 people – sometimes just by buying the medicine they cannot afford. Or by finding the right doctor for doing an operation. Or we pay for a serious operation. We do follow-up after operatons as well, like paying for chemo-therapy in case of cancer.

I pride myself in working with very able and commmitted people in Cairo. They make sure people get the best possible treatment, and they negotiate the lowest prices with doctors and hospitals.

Sadly, we sometimes have to slow down the help we givem simply because we work with very small resources. But we do what we can. Maybe you can also do something in the pecuniary realm? Feel free to contact me for more info, if you are interested to support this project financially.

I have resisted for a few years to set up an organisation in The Netherlands. There are already so many charitable organisations. But I have come to the conclusion that I have to – and I will, before the end of 2019. It is needed for accountability in the first place. To ensure that there is absolutely strong oversight over how money is handled.

And for your info, I do not get one cent from this ministry.

Early Church Studies with the Coptic Orthodox Church

One of the project I am working on, is the development of a BA and MA study in ‘Early Church’ for the Coptic Orthodox Church. I feel honored that I was asked to do this.  

We began this project in August 2018 and hopefully I will be able to deliver the BA-stage ‘on a latter’ to the Church around August 2020.  

The BA-stage entails the development of about 55 courses of 12 lessons each.  This whole project will be delivered online. For each lesson we create reading materials for the students, an introductory video, questions to be answered, and each course ends with the student having to write a paper.

It is quite a challenge to find the right teachers! ideally, they are Coptic Orthodox, experts in the area of the course, Arabic speakers, and good teachers at the same time.  We have some very good experts for whom we can tick all boxes, but we also have to be creative here and there.

Thus far we have videod about 20 courses.  Language courses, like Coptic, Greek, Syriac, Latin.  We have also prepared courses on St Athanasius and St Kirollos, on the Apostoilic Fathers, on Monasticism, on the history of the Syriac Orthodox Church, on the development of liturgy, on the Creed, etc etc. 

In the coming months we hope to finalise at least 25 courses, and hopefully a few more.  On 1 October 2019, we want to allow 30 students to begin the study – as a sort of guinea pigs. We want to see, for instance, that the online system works smoothly.  We have to sort out how much staff we need per student, how to arrange the grading, etc etc.

And we will start the process of accreditation.  That will be a major hurdle to take! This is always in the back of my mind, and it is a good worry as it forces us from the outset to have good level teaching, and also to develop a proper administration for our course.

And right now, I do not even want to think yet about the next stage, when I have to begin with the development of the MA-phase of the project… But one thing I know: those MA studies will not be online only, and for that stage we will have to teach in English.  There are simply not enough Arabic sources and scientific books available to make a MA in Arabic viable… So we will have to work in English.  And for an MA, all teachers must have PhD’s as well.