Hello dear Sparkfriends,
Yesterday was one of those times I cherish and often think about when I am back home... With two of my Egyptian colleagues, we went to visit several of our literacy classes in a Coptic Church compound in a very poor area of Cairo.
We currently have 800 literacy classes in Egypt, 85% of which are among children.
It didn't look like much from outside...
... but inside it was like a haven from the outside world, with a lively yet serene atmosphere.
Apart from the church, there were shops, a meeting area, and many rooms upstairs. We were welcome warmly by the teachers who run these classes and have been trained by our office in Egypt!
Ahhh I love this picture! For once I don't look so tall! :) The man I am talking with is called Amir. He is 27, works in his family wood business, and gives three evenings each week to help with the literacy classes in his Church.
I hadn't been to a literacy class among children in several years (in Africa our classes are more often among adults), and it was so exciting! These children come here three times a week for two hours, and the teachers told us how successful it is proving. The children don't miss their classes, they even arrive early, and their behavior is changing at the same time their reading and writing skills are improving!
(The man on the right is my colleague Emad, who is responsible for our literacy project in Egypt. He is such an inspiration!)
All these children actually go to school during the day, but government's schools are so bad in Egypt nowadays that most children can't learn much and need help outside school in order to learn to read and write! The children we met have been following the literacy classes for several months and it was wonderful to hear them read and explain what they had understood in the lesson for the day.
Febronia (above) said she can now follow much better at school.
Kirolis (here on the right) said that he now knows that he can look for a solution when he doesn't understand something. The literacy method used is indeed a very positive one, teaching children that if a word is too complicated, there is an easier one they can understand.
Deniana said that last week, which had been very difficult and scary in the area as Christians were attacked, she remembered the comforting stories they had looked at in the class.
These are just a few snippets of a very special evening. Thinking that 3 times a week, these children meet after school and get a chance to have a better life, is really heart-warming for me. I hope that this will encourage you as well, in the light of the current news which aren't always so positive.
One last picture of me, with the boys (and the teachers in the background) this time! The boys were fun and lively!
This afternoon, I visited a mosque and several old churches in Coptic Cairo... I'll post a blog about it all tomorrow if I have the time. But now, I need to go to bed as I am leaving early tomorrow morning to see the Pyramids!
Many thanks for reading, and for your kind comments on my previous blog about Cairo!