Coptic Orphans Executive Director Nermien Riad joined Jeremy Barker of the Religious Freedom Institute to talk about the impact of COVID-19 on Egypt. She reminded us that it is crucial to focus not only on the health, but also on the economic effect of the pandemic on the most vulnerable communities.
“Egyptians are in the same boat as many people in developing countries,” Riad said, “and with the global economy contracting so dramatically, people’s livelihoods are really hurting. And it’s really sad to see many people being pushed back into extreme poverty.”
Riad stressed that, while poor people living in urban areas face some different challenges, both urban and rural communities are being hit hard by COVID. Those living in Cairo and other highly-populated areas are at greater risk of infection, while those living in villages are far removed from adequate medical facilities. And regardless of where they live, Egyptians working in informal sectors have no social security and very little savings to safely wait out the pandemic from home. That is why Coptic Orphans is doing its utmost to provide vulnerable children and their families with access to urgent medical care, hygiene kits, and a three-month emergency advance for food supplies during this crisis.