Having just returned from Egypt, I can tell you the perfect trust and innocence of our children in Egypt never ceases to amaze me. They completely trust Our Lord to protect and provide for them.
Thanks to you, in 2019, we’ve held over 320 child protection workshops in dozens of towns and villages all over Egypt. Our volunteer Reps, who are church-servants, carefully selected and nominated by the clergy/bishops, have mentored widowed mothers and their children on how to protect themselves.
What have our precious children learned? That if, for example, they are ever approached by someone who wants to harm them, they are to:
- اعرف Be Aware
- ارفض Refuse
- اهرب Run Away
- اخبر Tell
- استشير Seek Help.
This is what we call “خمسه الف” or “Khamsa Alef”: the 5 steps that our Reps have used to educate their mothers through a workshop on child protection. The Reps in turn, encouraged the mothers to pass on this knowledge to their children.
I’d like to share a story where one boy in our program—Mina, a 4th grader from Minya, was saved by this simple five steps. Mina’s mother attended this workshop where she learned about the Khamsa Alef and was encouraged by her Rep to teach these 5 steps to her kids; which she did.
One day after a private lesson, Mina was walking home when all of a sudden, he was stopped by an older male, likely in his 20’s, who seemed lost and asked for directions. This man asked Mina to lead the way, since Mina was well-acquainted with the village streets.
As Mina walked ahead, suddenly the man grabbed Mina and forcefully steered him into a side alley leading them eventually to a secluded cornfield.
Mina, though terrified of what was to come, recalled the Khamsa Alef which his mom taught him. He remembered that she told him whenever tries to force you to do anything against your will or without your consent, you must REFUSE (#2).
Mina began yelling as loud as he could, and defended the man’s unwanted advances by kicking him. By the grace of God, an older gentleman heard Mina’s loud screams, and ran to his rescue. Unfortunately, the man fled the scene.
Mina thanked the older man and ran home to TELL his mom what happened (#4). His mom was enraged but thanked God for his loving protection by sending this older man to come to Mina’s aid.
At the next home visit, Mina’s mom informed the Rep of the incident. She thanked him by stating, “If it weren’t for you, I would not have learned about the Khamsa Alef at the workshop I attended. If I never learned this, I would not have taught my children this. And if Mina had never learned the Khamsa Alef, he may have not been able to defend himself.”
Mina’s mother was grateful to God that her son was not harmed or kidnapped. And so are we.
So though you may have read the Khamsa Alef as being pretty simple, protecting the children of Christ in Egypt from the pernicious influence of drugs, physical or sexual abuse is far from simple. That’s why we really need your support.
Will you join Coptic Orphans this year in protecting what is most precious: the innocence of our children?