EGYPT: Sudanese refugees receive education and support
Don Bosco Zeitoun’s work with refugees began in 2000
(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Zeitoun, located in Cairo, Egypt, provides education and support to Sudanese refugees in the country. Work with refugees began in 2000 when several arrived at the Salesian organization hoping to celebrate Catholic Mass.
The Salesian community welcomed the refugees with open arms. Initially, the Comboni Fathers were responsible for working with the refugees but gradually that work transitioned over to the Salesian community.
Since space is very limited, Don Bosco Zeitoun Oratory organizes activities for refugees three days a week. An average of 250 children attend the oratory, and mothers have their own meetings. On the three days when not working with Sudanese refugees, the Don Bosco Zeitoun Oratory organizes activities for as many youth from the neighborhood as possible.
Recently, Father Alfred Maravilla, general councilor for missions, met with Sudanese refugees at Don Bosco Zeitoun where he celebrated Mass and thanked the refugees for their continued faith. Fr. Maravilla also encouraged parents “to share faith with your children and send them to the Salesian oratory, where they can grow in faith and learn skills to integrate into Egyptian society.”
“Salesian programs across Egypt provide education and social development services for youth and their families living in poverty and for refugees new to the country,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Youth, regardless of faith and religious background, are able to access the Salesian programs and gain assistance with homework, connect with their peers, and be connected with adults who provide mentorship and support in their lives.”
According to the World Bank, 26 percent of Egypt’s population lives in poverty while 49 percent of those living in Upper Egypt cannot provide for their basic needs of food and shelter. For the nearly third of Egyptians living in poverty, and the millions more in poor conditions, the country’s current economic difficult mean life is much harder with many struggling to put food on the table.
The country has witnessed significant political and economic changes since 2011. Through this transition, which includes periods of political unrest, the main income sources of the economy have been negatively impacted, particularly in the tourism sector, as well as revenues from the Suez Canal, oil and remittances from Egyptians working abroad.
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Salesian Missions – Egypt
World Bank – Egypt