Serving God through Serving People

Afaf Wilson is working as a healthcare program coordinator in the Madent El Salam development center directed by EpiscoCare. Afaf grew up in the El Zatoun district of Cairo. She lived with her parents, and her sister and three brothers. She used to go to the Orthodox Church, and when she was older she served in the Sunday school. After her marriage, she moved to live in the Ein Shams district of Cairo. It is a slum area with a huge population. There are many churches from all denominations, as well as many mosques. Afaf is mother to two children; a boy in 6th grade and a girl in 4th grade.

 

Afaf is participating in the implementation of the health program supported by ABM at the EpiscoCare development center for the people of Madinet El Salam. She works in the health care activities helping pregnant women and sick children improve their health. She likes organizing and participating in the healthcare awareness meetings that improve peoples’ knowledge and awareness in order to protect themselves from diseases.

The major challenges her beneficiaries face are related to their unhealthy practices, which affect the health of their children, and the difficulty of changing people`s bad habits and attitudes. Afaf said that implementing her work is challenging. “Sometimes we face challenges when we implement the investigation labs for the children, when their mothers refuse and feel worried about their children, so we let mothers attend the investigations with their children themselves”. What motives Afaf to continue her work is her faith in God. She spends a lot of time serving the Lord in her church. “The spirit of service is to walk with my internal life,” Afaf said. Her work as health care coordinator, however, is not less important than what she does in the church. In contrast, she believes that her work is stronger because she can serve both Muslims and Christians.

Afaf is motivated by the improvement in her beneficiaries’ health conditions. This gives her the hope and motivation to go on. Afaf said “I never feel like I should give up because the programs and activities are serving people, and focused on the marginalized groups such as women and children who always need support”. Afaf helps pregnant women to have healthy babies and healthy follow ups. She also helps children who are suffering from anemia and worms. Through providing women with  awareness meetings, she helps them exchange their unhealthy practices for healthy ones, such as preparing healthy food for their children and developing personal hygiene practices.

Afaf mentioned that “working as a team in the development center supports me in overcoming all of the challenges we face”. Afaf’s dream is to increase the community’s awareness and capabilities in fighting diseases and being able to protect themselves from threats through offering holistic services for the community of Madinet El Salam, either through healthcare or improving the environment.

Medical Outreaches in Egypt

From January –30 November 2013, 4,862 people were examined during 34 medical outreaches in rural villages in the Nile Delta and slum areas in Cairo and Alexandria. Each outreach is different depending on the needs of the local community. The services offered by doctors from Harpur Memorial Hospital in Menouf include: dental, dermatology, gynaecology, internal medicine, paediatrics, pharmacy, ophthalmology, surgery.

Medical outreach 2013 (2)

The Diocese of Singapore and it’s cathedral, St  Andrew’s, donated the medical bus in 2010.  In 2013, Harpur Memorial Hospital in Menouf worked in partnership with Misr el Kheir (an NGO chaired by the former Grand Mufti of Egypt) and the Embassy of Ireland. Because of increased donor support, the number of outreaches and people served has increased.

Medical outreach

Most of these outreaches are in villages which are Muslim, and the medical outreaches help build bridges between Muslims and Christians. One doctor shares “In November, we did a medical outreach for the first time in a village called Tamalay in Menoufia. As the doctors got out of the cars, there was a group of teenage boys who were shouting insults at them. As they examined patients at the temporary clinic set up in a school in this Muslim village, the boys were shouting and singing songs insulting Christians, making provocative statements about the recent attacks on churches in Egypt. As we finished the clinic, the elders of the village thanked us for coming. They told us the medical service was so needed in the village, and they wanted us to keep coming. As the doctors were leaving, one of the doctors said to the teenagers “study well as we want you to become doctors so you can serve the people of your village.” The teenage boys, who had been so insulting, said to her “please don’t stop coming.” The doctor was so moved by this change in their attitudes.”

For more information, see the attached report.

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