Helping Young Disadvantaged Cancer Patients in Egypt

 Egypt, Featured Stories from the Field, Health and Sanitation  Comments Off on Helping Young Disadvantaged Cancer Patients in Egypt
Sep 082011

Helping Disadvantaged Child Cancer Patients in EgyptHuman Concern International has been active in the universal cause of raising awareness and funds to combat cancer, which remains one of the leading causes of death. Now, we are continuing our effort by supporting Egypt’s largest and most effective children’s cancer hospital for the second time, The Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt (57357).

In Egypt, a country of 81.5 million people, only 350 hospital beds are dedicated to treating child cancer patients, and no more than 100 physicians have received pediatric oncology or hematology training. It is one of many nations which do not devote enough funds to pediatric oncology out of the misguided belief that it is prohibitively expensive, and resources would have a greater effect elsewhere. This simply is not the case, as a recent study by St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital has demonstrated that even a small increase in funding can dramatically improve survival rates. Prevention and early diagnosis programs are highly cost effective, and do not require advanced technologies. Despite the evidence, the World Health Organization does not have any program in place to correct the huge disparities in cancer survival rates worldwide. The result: children in the countries like Egypt continue to die unnecessarily.

The Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt (57357) has taken it upon itself to correct the imbalance, and ensure that even the poorest children of Egypt have access to the same life saving treatments and support as their more fortunate counterparts. Operating since July 7, 2007, it is now the largest pediatric oncology centre in the Middle East and Africa. Its facilities include Egypt’s first specialized department of physiology, social work, and psychiatry for pediatric oncology. Creating a single hospital devoted to pediatric oncology has enormous benefits. The hospital staff is both highly trained and highly motivated. It has created a nucleus for training new physicians, carries out groundbreaking research, and provides top level treatment. By collaborating with experts worldwide, the hospital is able to integrate the most advanced medical knowledge into its treatment of patients.

Human Concern International, in recognition of the hospital’s achievements and vision, is continuing its support for the hospital. The hospital is committed to sustainability, and we can be certain that no dollar will be wasted. It is money that will be used to help the hospital to expand, bringing its life-saving treatment, education, and message to ever-larger numbers.

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May 232011

Orphans from Egypt have been empowered to take the first steps towards protecting their natural environment as a result of HCI’s 2011 Earth Day activities. These children celebrated international Earth Day with HCI’s team and were treated to a fun-filled day of activities promoting environmental awareness.

These children who are orphans from underprivileged backgrounds live a very basic life, they have the bare minimum and don’t normally get the opportunity to enjoy recreational and educational activities that enrich and address their psychosocial wellbeing. HCI’s Earth Day celebrations were therefore extremely beneficial to these children not only because of the new level of environmental awareness it bestowed but also because we did our best to address if only for one day the psychosocial wellbeing of these deprived children as we feel very strongly that if this facet is neglected it can lead to reduced social connectedness, a weakened coping mechanism and a loss of resilience.

Earth Day is an event that is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment. Originally devised in 1970 when environmentalism seemed to many to be nothing but a fringe issue, environmentalism is now a very mainstream concern and promoting it a very worthwile cause. Earth Day which happens every 22nd April is currently celebrated in more than 175 countries every year. From it’s conception, the focus had been put on children and schools. This makes complete sense as Children have the most important role in keeping our planet healthy; they will still be the caretakers long after their parents and grandparents have passed away.

In Egypt, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and our local partner Gozour NGO, 70 school children from the underprivileged Arab al Tarabeen area of Greater Cairo were transported to a local youth center where they were offered different environmental activities designed to be both fun and educational.

The children got a wonderful opportunity to interact firsthand with nature as they planted some 20 trees. The group was able to attend an environmental arts and crafts workshop where they fashioned some beautiful recycled art out of unwanted items, they were also introduced to recycling activities that can be easily carried out at home.

“Edutainment activities” such as storytelling and an environmental contest were offered. The children were excited to discover the important role trees play in our environment and listened attentively to the environmental information given. At the end of the day the children gathered to reflect on what they had learned and each one agreed to commit to “acts of Green” from recycling to using bicycles instead of cars.

During this celebration of Earth Day the children really came alive, they both enjoyed themselves thoroughly and were provided with the knowledge and tools to make the Earth a better place to live. Rania Abd Allah, one of the young students told us he would “never forget this special day” while Asmaa Atya stated that she had “enjoyed discovering new activities and getting new information about the Earth.”

This event was also significant as it was a one of the first meaningful attempts to address environmental issues within the Arab Al Tarabeen communities but we understand that the commitment to the environmental cause has to be kept up. As such, the science teachers at the local schools have undertaken to carry on discussing specific environmental issues regularly with the students as well as promised to carry out summer activities and organize a celebration of World Environment day coming up on June 5th thereby “nurturing the environmental seeds, planted for these young people”.

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Health and Sanitation in 2010, the HCI Way

 Egypt, Gaza Strip, Health and Sanitation, Lebanon  Comments Off on Health and Sanitation in 2010, the HCI Way
Apr 122011

Health and Sanitation in 2010Health is widely recognized as a cornerstone of human development because it underpins the gamut of human functioning. But health is also essential to human security, since survival and protection from illness are at the core of any concept of people’s wellbeing. There are many in the Middle East with little or no access to healthcare, with women suffering the most from neglect and gender biased traditions. HCI is conscious of this fact and is always working to help improve access to healthcare in communities all around the region.

Our work to build healthy communities, families and individuals is at the heart of HCI’s vision for social change. By collaborating with a range of partners, from village health committees to government agencies, we help build the means to improve maternal, newborn and child health, ensure proper nutrition and combat infectious diseases. HCI’s field teams provide long-term health and nutrition services to communities in need by operating clinics and training health workers.

Health and Sanitation in 2010In 2010, HCI worked to improve the mental and emotional health of distressed children in Gaza and the West Bank by providing them with focused psychosocial support to help them deal with emotional trauma, especially those who had lost family members, children with a new physical disability, children who live in women-headed households, and in families that have lost their livelihoods as part the Psychosocial Support for Children project. Meanwhile in Gaza, as part of the Reviving Lives and Livelihoods project, vulnerable families received health and sanitation related items such as essential medication and essential appliances that contribute to accessibility, mobility and a capacity for independent living, among other things.

HCI provided The Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt with financial support valued at $25,000 in recognition of the hospital’s achievements and vision in 2010; the hospital serves all Egyptians, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or ability to pay. All the necessary treatment and medication are provided free of charge if a family lacks sufficient financial means. Additionally, it provides support to families as they struggle to cope with the stress of a cancer diagnosis for their child. Furthermore, the hospital has inaugurated the country’s first school program for hospitalized children, to ensure that they are given the chance to succeed once they have completed their treatment. The hospital is committed to sustainability, and we are certain that no dollar will be wasted. It is money that will be used to help the hospital to expand, bringing its life-saving treatment, education, and message to ever larger numbers.

Health and Sanitation in 2010In April 2010, HCI team members headed to Dubai to participate in the largest humanitarian event in the Middle East; the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference (DIHAD). The theme for 2010 conference was “Global Health Challenges of Tomorrow: Impact and Response”. The team was invited to share HCI’s experiences in Palestine and Lebanon in a special event with the rest of the attendees which included members of several key international agencies such as The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

Water is essential for life, good health and economic development — HCI provides water and sanitation programming, giving communities access to clean water, decreasing the incidence of communicable diseases, and improving the quality of life. In 2010 HCI built on the results and findings of the water and sanitation country analytical report for Sudan developed a year earlier, by designing and developing water and sanitation community projects in two settlements South and North of the Capital Khartoum.

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Apr 112011

Supporting Young Micro Business Owners Affected by the Turmoil in EgyptMahmoud; father of three and owner of cell phone repair and accessories shop, Ahmed; owner of electrical hardware shop, Doaa, owner of a small beauty center, Farouk; the sole breadwinner of a family of seven and owner of leather manufacturing workshop, Hamdeya; mother of seven and owner of sandwich shop, Abdel Hamid; tailor of men’s suites and many other Egyptian youth business owners are the beneficiaries of HCI’s new project in Egypt which supports youth micro-businesses affected by the political crisis.

Mahmoud, Ahmed, Doaa, Farouk, Hamdeya and Abdel Hamid have quite a few things in common: They are all small businesses owners, they are all the sole breadwinners for their families and since the revolution of January 25th their businesses have suffered, their income has plunged and their employees have been made jobless. This is a result of several factors such as the enforced curfew, security incidents during the revolution, inflated prices, decreased demands on their services/products since consumers now focus their purchasing capacity on essential supplies only, depleted cash flow, or inability to replenish their stocks because suppliers are demanding cash at exorbitant prices upon delivery and are refusing to deliver supplies/materials needed on credit.

Supporting Young Micro Business Owners Affected by the Turmoil in EgyptHCI’s new initiative in Egypt aims to economically empower underprivileged youth in low income urban areas of Cairo governorate that have been adversely affected by the situation through self-employment thus putting them in charge of their own income-generating projects; the selected youth’s micro-businesses are provided with affordable microcredit and technical assistance. The program is being implemented along with HCI’s long-term local partner Gouzour NGO. The program’s approach is based on mentored ownership; where entrepreneurs will own their businesses over time through an earn out after 75% of their loans are paid off, and best performing beneficiaries are provided with an incentive package of 25% of their loan value as free raw materials to assist them with their businesses expansion.

Supporting Young Micro Business Owners Affected by the Turmoil in EgyptMahmoud’s cell phone business is receiving a 5,000 LE loan/grant from HCI to be used to purchase cell phone spare parts, pay-as-you-go cards as well as new cell phones, things in high demand by his customers. Mahmoud will be able to retain his clientele, keep his business going and pay off the loan in four months.

Ahmed’s electrical hardware shop is receiving a 10,000 LE loan/grant from HCI. He plans on spending 6,000 LE on fast-moving goods such as light bulbs, electrical cords and wires as well as spare parts. With the remaining 4,000 LE, he plans on buying goods with an average turnover rate such as torches, electrical fittings and chandeliers. This loan will help him deal with the demands of his suppliers and hopefully allow him to rehire the three employees he had to let go due to the crisis.

Supporting Young Micro Business Owners Affected by the Turmoil in EgyptFarouk’s leather manufacturing workshop is receiving a 10,000 LE loan/grant from HCI. The workshop will be able to get enough leather and accessories for a two-week production cycle. The workshop will be able to produce one hundred bags during the first week and will have enough supplies for the second week’s production, allowing enough time for Farouk to collect his money from his customers and get supplies for the work cycle to continue.

Hamdeya’s sandwich shop will pay off its debts and have enough supplies for the business to pick up; Abdel Hamid’s tailor shop will rehire its seven employees and acquire materials needed; Doaa’s beauty center will have materials and supplies essential to restart the business.

The resources and skills offered through this program will definitely enable them to further develop their business opportunities and enhance their livelihoods, which will ultimately lead to more stabilization and an improvement in livelihoods in targeted areas. This micro-lending scheme that is offered by the project is based on a revolving fund that could benefit more micro-enterprises after the project completion.

Supporting Young Micro Business Owners Affected by the Turmoil in EgyptAs a result of HCI’s intervention these young men and women have a better chance of coping with the economically debilitating situation on the ground; and having being offered the means to rebuild their livelihoods they will be able to get their lives and the lives of their dependents back on track.

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Mar 092011

Life can change for millions of families in an instant: natural disasters can take loved ones and the outbreak of war drive families from their homes. When the unthinkable happens, HCI delivers rapid, lifesaving aid to hard-hit communities with the provision of food rations, clean water, non-food items, transitional shelter and emergency medical supplies and services.

The Gaza strip has been devastated by several wars and crippled by a blockade that prevents any meaningful rebuilding, following the opening of Rafah, Gaza’s only gateway to the rest of the world that is not controlled by Israel in 2010, HCI imported food items as part of the Food Security Project through the Rafah crossing for thousands of food-insecure Gazans, paying special attention to provide protein-rich foods such as meat and fish, which are difficult to find or to afford.

As HCI continues to help vulnerable Gazans rebuild their lives two years after the war, our approach has evolved to address the economic, social and psychological impact of war through several multifaceted approaches that target food insecurity, psychosocial support, rehabilitation, and livelihood revival. In 2010, young preschoolers were provided with food, clothing and educational toys. That same year, HCI’s Psychosocial Support for Children Project provided focused support to the most distressed children in Palestine, especially those who lost family members, children with a new physical disability, children who live in women-headed households, and in families that have lost their livelihoods.

Families are uncertain and vulnerable as they return to their communities to rebuild homes and lives after a crisis. HCI helps them transition from relief to recovery through innovative programs that get them back to work quickly, which restores dignity, puts pay in workers’ pockets and injects cash into ailing local economies.

As a result, local low-income farmers were provided the opportunity to supply the basic food items and agricultural products to the bakery HCI established in Gaza as part of The Food Point Project in 2010, giving them access to a direct market and improving their economic stability. The bakery, which provides baked goods to hundreds of food-insecure households, also offers employment opportunities to local vulnerable women, particularly widows and women with special needs. In the same year, economically deprived families in Gaza and the West Bank were provided with income generating capabilities such as backyard production units.

Vulnerable Gazans, particularly people with special needs, were provided with tailored services to boost their employability such as the distribution of appliances that contribute to accessibility and mobility, essential medical equipment and other essential items, contributing to independence and a better standard of living as part of the Reviving Lives and Livelihoods project.

HCI has been providing lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees and internally displaced people forced to flee from war or disaster in the Middle East for decades. In 2010 HCI worked with the internally displaced in Khartoum, Sudan helping disabled entrepreneurs to set up small businesses and teaching young orphans entrepreneurial skills. In the new Lake Nasser Settlements in Egypt, HCI distributed food and meat during Ramadan and Eid al Adha feast to underprivileged settlers.

HCI is always on the forefront of emergency response in the Middle East, always ready to intervene whenever crisis strikes, our interventions are swift yet carefully tailored to suit the situation at hand. HCI welcomes your partnership in caring for the world’s poor, including those affected by situations requiring an emergency response. Right now, our teams are working to provide aid to vulnerable children and families who are clinging to survival in the wake of natural and man-made disasters.

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Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day Hand in Hand with Women Entrepreneurs with Special Needs

 Disability, Education and Empowerment, Egypt, Gaza Strip, Livelihoods and Enterprise, Sudan, West Bank, Woman, Youth  Comments Off on Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day Hand in Hand with Women Entrepreneurs with Special Needs
Mar 042011

HCI is celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of International Women’s Day on the March the 8th by highlighting the plight of women entrepreneurs with special needs in the Middle East and launching a year of activities focusing on this group through a series of interventions specifically targeting their needs.

There is a distinct gender disparity in literacy and education, as well as low rates of female economic participation, public participation and representation in the Arab world, where forty percent of women over the age of fifteen are illiterate and female economic activity is thirty four percent that of males.

The general condition of women with disabilities and special needs in Arab societies is invisibility. They are often considered a source of shame and a burden to their families. Although their status varies from country to country, the theme of marginalization to a greater or lesser extent is common to all of them.

As women, they are segregated from male society, but as women with special needs they are also isolated from the lives of other women. They are, for all intents and purposes, invisible; their issues receive little, or no, consideration; and there are very few programs that target them specifically.

In communities where a woman’s status is dependent on making “a good marriage”, being “a good wife” and a “good mother”, these women do not stand a chance. They are not considered marriageable and often their siblings are also overlooked in marriage by reason of association.

HCI has been working with women and people with special needs across the region for over two decades and will continue to do this by highlighting their plight and empowering them to be active, self-reliant and initiating, encouraging others to follow their example and affecting society to consider women with special needs not merely as a subject of care and charity, but as equal citizens of society and holders of human rights able to provide for themselves and their families.

This year we are supporting physically challenged women entrepreneurs in Darfur, Sudan by providing them with loans to set up micro-businesses, we are providing breast cancer patients and other women entrepreneurs with special needs in Gaza with support and training to set up new businesses and we are providing physically challenged young women from vulnerable and low-income areas of Cairo whose businesses have been adversely affected by the recent events with training, loans and in-kind support toward rebuilding their micro enterprises.

Our interventions this year supporting women entrepreneurs with special needs will not end here. New interventions will be launched this year; and HCI is taking the opportunity of the one hundredth anniversary of International Women’s Day to celebrate these women’s strength and their will to succeed. They are truly an inspiration to us.

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Egypt Emergency Appeal

 Egypt, Emergency and Transition, Entrepreneurs, Youth  Comments Off on Egypt Emergency Appeal
Mar 022011

Help Us Help The Vulnerable Youth Of Egypt

The recent turmoil in Egypt completely paralyzed the country and claimed hundreds of lives, caused thousands of injuries, and resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and livelihoods, particularly among the weakest members of society.

HCI realizes that the situation is highly sensitive and can be easily politicized. HCI reiterates that our direct focus is to provide reliable support to those in dire need, as per our humanitarian guidelines. HCI assures that this initiative is not and will not be used as a political tool.

HCI has had projects and active partners for years in Egypt, helping widows, orphans, children cancer patients and the marginalized at large. Our new intervention aims at equipping low-income young people whose businesses have been adversely affected by the situation to rebuild their technical and financial capacity in running their micro-enterprises which will serve to ease the economic pressure on these Egyptian youth in the years to come until Egypt regains its strength.

HCI’s has already mobilized its team on the ground and operations are underway.

Much more needs to be done, and there are very few funds available for us to increase our programs or to launch new ones. That is why we are making this special appeal for help.

Please donate generously and help HCI help ordinary people of Egypt rebuild their lives. PLEASE CONTACT US NOW IF YOU WANT TO DONATE. You can also donate online at HCI Canada website by clicking here.

HCI follows a strict monitoring and evaluation system, which involves more than one long-term partner organization. Some of these partners provide supervision from within; others offer logistical support while others are responsible for designing and assisting in the implementation of HCI’s projects. Thus, transparency and accountability are ensured through a complex multi-level monitoring and supervision system. HCI only choose partners that have been thoroughly scrutinized, monitored, evaluated and verified in meeting our strict criteria. We value the support of our donors and every effort is made to make sure that every penny you donate goes to those who need it the most.

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