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Visiting a literacy class for children (Cairo Part 2)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

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!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    1061 days ago
    Wonderful photos! Love it! emoticon
    1866 days ago
    Wonderful! I love how your blog opens our eyes to new places and activities and how good to see such loving work done with the children.
    1876 days ago
    I'm catching up on your trip. What a wonderful experience you had with the children! How lucky you are to be involved in such meaningful and inspiring work.
    1878 days ago
    1878 days ago
    I can't express how exciting this is to me. Your organization trains teachers to do literacy work! Is it in French or English? What a marvelous thing and the children's faces tell the whole story. How great that they have a little haven to go to when things outside seem very threatening.
    AND you look beautiful even when you are tall! It is a lovely picture but stand tall no matter what. Be tall and proud of it! (ha, there's my sermon for the day! I'll be quiet now...) emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1884 days ago
  • KAREN91
    You have a great job! Helping people, making a difference in peoples lives and traveling. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. My daughters also enjoy your blogs. Elizabeth said that you are beautiful. You are beautiful inside too with all the good you do in Africa and now in Egypt. emoticon
    1886 days ago
  • RAMONA1954
    Thanks for sharing about these programs and the children. I truly enjoyed this. Safe travels. emoticon
    1887 days ago
    Glad you were able to visit that. Very heartwarming to see that someone is making a difference in these youngsters lives.
    1888 days ago
    A very worthy work, literacy
    Great photos of your visit
    1888 days ago
  • QTEALADY20031
    Claire, this is just amazing to see all the literacy programs that are going on in Egypt.
    You must have been so excited to see these beautiful children and how they are learning. Claire what a blessed job you are doing to see your work coming to fruition.
    I would love to visit the old churches. Claire I am catching up on your blogs. My daughter has been having some testing and will need some surgery which should be fine but I have been behind. I so enjoy reading about your adventures. Thank you again so much for sharing your journey with us. emoticon June

    1888 days ago
    What a wonderful program for these children. I know from my experiences working in the public school system that many children need an extra boost. There is nothing more important (in my opinion) than teaching our children to be successful and productive citizens. It all starts with a good education and people who care.
    I am blessed by your blog today.
    1888 days ago
    Thank you for the wonderful tour and pictures.
    Also want to say thank you for visiting and commenting
    emoticon emoticon emoticon on my blog "Then it was winter'.
    1889 days ago
    As usual your blog is inspiring. I hope your wine tasting went very very well this evening and you had an opportunity to catch up with friends and family. I look forward to more of your blogs and pictures. Thank you Claire. Nan
    1889 days ago
    Thank you for the blog, and for the reminder of how basic and how important literacy is. I loved the photos of the children and the school. It is great to know that such work is being done!
    1889 days ago
    Loved the blog, and the feeling of teaching a child how to read is very powerful. It opens a whole world up to them, they can travel by the books they read and they can learn so much from reading. I have taught my youngest ones from the age of 3, starting with phonics. The older ones I read so many stories to them and I would point out the words that they could sound out, so it was a beginning anyway. My kids were all reading in Kindergarten. Now Bella is almost 4 and can read short simple words, and knows what the letter sounds are for most of the alphabet. Her eyes light up when she reads the words, she seems surprised that she can do it!

    Thank you for your work, thank you for sharing your experiences with us all. Nice to see another side of Egypt.
    1889 days ago
    I can't think of anything more important than helping children around the world cope with the difficulties in their daily lives! Your work is so important Claire and we are all thankful to all of you for that. Such actions are beacons of hope in a world that is getting darker and darker.
    I'm glad your trip to Egypt was such a rewarding one. Have a safe trip back home. We'll be right here waiting for more pictures!!
    1890 days ago
    I had a real treat reading your blogs about Cairo. The pictures are really great and the pictures of you are lovely! I can't wait to read about your visit to the pyramids! Thanks for taking us all with you; your suitcase must be really crowded :-)
    1890 days ago
  • YIWEN39
    Claire, this is great, what a fantastic program :-)
    Isn't it great that you are in a job where you can make a real difference? Enjoy and keep sharing with us all your wonderful experiences!
    Take care,

    1890 days ago
    What a beautiful blog of your amazing program! Thank you for opening the window and sharing pictures with us, your readers. It brings tears to my eyes to see the beautiful children so eager to learn! I am happy that your trip is going well and that you will be able to see some sights tomorrow.

    1890 days ago
    What a marvelous group of children !! It's true what they say, an education can lift a person out of poverty. knowledge really is powerful.

    Thank you for the wonderful blog.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

    1890 days ago
    That is so awesome! Words just can't express how wonderful it is reading about it, and being there in person must be far beyond that even. Thanks for sharing with us.
    1890 days ago
  • BAKER1009
    Thanks for sharing your trip with us! Love the pictures, beautiful children!
    1890 days ago
  • MILLIE5522
    What a wonderful project you are supporting. I am in awe of you Claire! Thank you for sharing this with us. It is a lovely reminder that there are a lot of good and brave people in the world. emoticon
    1890 days ago
    Thanks for sharing, some wonderful work you and the group are doing there, teaching children to read and write is helping ,and maybe just maybe there will be a better tomorrow
    for them and us.
    Less violence and a better understanding of different ways.
    Thank you.
    1890 days ago
    It is amazing to know that what you do affects positively the lives of so many children! Their faces are bright and their eyes sparkle! Literacy is an asset in their lives and they will be grateful to all of you and their teachers. Life is about giving, sharing, loving and helping others improve their lives. You are blessed for what you do. Thank you!
    1891 days ago
    Thank you for this blog, Claire. I really needed this having been caught up in the angst of the bombing in Boston. I was there the day before the marathon and saw all the gaiety of the preparation for the festivities...only to be followed by evil and chaos.
    It is so nice to see good people doing good things and the resilience of the students in Egypt. Merci. You have helped to heal my heart...
    1891 days ago
    Excellentes photos, et superbe album de souvenirs pour les enfants que vous aidez! Bravo Claire! Ce que vous faites est tellement important!
    1891 days ago
    What a blessing and encouragement your visit has been, to your colleagues, to the various Egyptians you've shined your love upon so warmly, and to your readers around the world as well! I love your perspective and your enthusiasm, Claire! Thanks for sharing!
    1891 days ago
    What wonderful work you and all the others do. It really is heartwarming to see, and the photos are lovely!
    enjoy the pyramids, and of course we're all looking forward to photos of them too!
    1891 days ago
    You have the best job!
    1891 days ago
    Oh Claire this is so rewarding what you are doing. The children will NEVER forget what is being done for them.
    Why are the children's regular schools so bad today compared to before what has changed all this ?
    I never knew Egypt had this problem. The children are so blessed to have all of you there for them & what this will bring to their future.
    1891 days ago
  • JACKIE542
    Thank you for sharing this Claire, no wonder you love your job so much, so great to be helping the children. Looked like a happy place for everyone to be. Take good care. emoticon
    1891 days ago
    What a wonderful job! It's hard to understand how if a child goes to school they aren't learning the basics there. You can see how happy the kids are to be learning better. Thanks for the pictures.

    1891 days ago
  • TREE57
    Many crowns await you.

    You are such a blessing to so many 🌟
    1891 days ago
    You are involved in wonderful work, Claire. You should be very proud of the career choices you have made.

    The work your organization is doing with the children in Cairo will make a huge difference in their future. Do Egyptian children get free (even if not very good) schooling, or do they have to pay for it?

    Looking forward very much to your next blog; be safe,
    1891 days ago
    You are part of an amazing adventure. I hope you know how lovely you blessed and may enthusiam and joy soak you completely as you continue in your work. Keep Sparkin'!!!
    1891 days ago
    Thank you for sharing.
    1891 days ago
    What a great and colorful blog as always....and you're an angel on Earth for doing what you do! Giving the gift of literacy can only do good!

    1891 days ago
  • LINDAK25
    The literacy programs are so rewarding and for these children, life-changing. How lucky they are since it isn't easy to be a Christian in Egypt today.

    Enjoy the pyramids!
    1891 days ago
    I love this blog!!! It inspired me to look on the positive side of things and to be grateful for the freedom we enjoy!
    Love ya' dear friend! emoticon your way!
    1891 days ago
  • JUNEAU2010
    I love your mission! I love your blogs!
    1891 days ago
  • MAWMAW101
    Yes what an awesome job you have and what an awesome person you are to share your travels with all of us. You are a blessing to the world and we are blessed to be able to see the world thru your lens.
    emoticon emoticon
    1891 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/17/2013 8:24:17 PM
    This is so wonderful to read about, especially in light of the horrific attack on Coptic Christians attending a funeral...and the equally horrific terrorist attack in Boston. Thank you so much, not only for posting this, but for the work you do.
    1891 days ago
    You are giving the children a basic learning that will enable them to learn so much more on their own----and hopefully a love of reading---which in trying times will help take them out of the turmoil they are facing daily. If only we could teach our children the love of learning.
    1891 days ago
    What an amazing job you have!!!
    We almost need you to come to Australia, a lot of children here can't read or do maths either when they leave school here.

    Loved all the photos and enjoyed visiting the school with you. Hope you enjoy the pyramids.

    1891 days ago
    Claire, What special work you do. I loved looking at these pictures. I felt like I was looking into the very souls of these special children! I also loved looking at the pictures of you. What a beautiful woman you are, inside and out. God bless! emoticon
    1891 days ago
  • _BABE_
    How wonderful to be able to make a difference every day Claire....if I am not mistaken those boys probably had a crush on their French visitor for the day.;-)
    1891 days ago
    I loved reading this blog, what an awesome opportunity you have been given to belong to your organization and help so many others. May God continue to bless you and your colleagues.

    emoticon emoticon
    1891 days ago
  • MARYBETH4884
    Their faces are precious! Thank you for all your efforts for literacy. You have a wonderful job that is so very needed, emoticon
    1891 days ago
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