Tewkesbury Refugee Support Group – First hand Experience

Visit to Cairo in October 2017

Five members of the Committee and a Cheltenham Refugee supporter went to see what Refuge Egypt does at firsthand.

Refuge Egypt has been part of the Episcopal Church’s service to the needy of Cairo since 1986. We stayed at the Guesthouse, next to the Cathedral, and the Partnership Office of the diocese helped plan and carry out our programme.

We were able to visit many of the centres listed in www.refuge-egypt.org  and were very impressed both by the high level of need and by the wonderful dedication of all the workers at these centres.

In the area of Nasr City referred to as Kilo 4.5 we saw the Medical Centre based in the Coptic Church building, then Cairo Poem by Sylvia Miles went on to the Sudanese Primary School in an apartment block, and then the Community Centre in another apartment. Finally, we went to the Episcopal Church in the Heliopolis area to meet some of the Sudanese who were attending the Bible School there.

Next day, we went to 6th October City just outside Cairo to visit the Medical Centre, the Craft workshop for Deaf

people, and a Nursery. Usually many Syrians attend here, but there were Sudanese only on that day.

On Monday we went to an apartment in the Maadi area to see the toddlers groups, and then on to the Deaf School.

Next day we joined the team, which regularly visits expatriate prisoners out at Canater Prison, before returning to see what happens in the Cathedral compound at Zamalek. Here many refugees are helped to register with the UNHCR; women are trained to get work as Domestic servants; there is a Craft workshop and another Medical Centre. Two of us also met some of the Sudanese Mothers Union, since Gloucester has a link with them.

Included in the programme were visits to the Museum, the Pyramids, the ancient churches in Old Cairo, the Muqattam cave churches and a meal on a tourist boat on the Nile. We were indebted to Bishop Mouneer and his excellent staff, without whose help this would all have been impossible.

Report by Tony Cullingford (husband of Connie who ran the Guesthouse from 1997 -1999).  Photos by Richard Haynes.

 

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Study Visit to Egypt

Programme

 Day 1. To Cairo We meet at London Heathrow Airport for our EgyptAir flight MS778 to Cairo departing at 15:00 and arriving in Cairo at 20:40. Transfer to All Saints Garden Centre hotel in central Cairo.

Day 2. The Great Pyramid

This morning we visit the Great Pyramid, the only survivor of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the Sphinx. Lunch nearby. Afternoon visit to the Cave Church of St Simon, the largest church in the Middle East, and Zabbaleen, a community on the outskirts of Cairo which lives from recycling the city’s refuse

Day 3. Meetings & Nile Cruise Dinner

We learn about the work supported by the Diocese including meeting with Bishop Mouneer: Refuge Egypt, a project started by teachers from All Saints’ Cathedral to help refugees, and EpiscoCare, dedicated to helping the poorest and most marginalised Egyptian communities. Lunch at the Diocesan Guest House. Dinner cruise on the Nile.

Day 4. Old Cairo 

We attend the 10:00 service at AllSaints’ Cathedral. Visit Coptic Cairo including the Hanging Church and the Church of Abu Serga, one of the oldest churches in Egypt and widely believed to be where the Holy Family stayed on arrival in Egypt. Lunch in Old Cairo. Afternoon visit to the famous colourful Khan el-Khalili Bazaar.

Day 5. Menouf & Alexandria

We drive to Menouf and the Harpur Memorial Hospital, a Christian charity hospital, where we meet some of the staff and hear about their work. Continue to Alexandria (packed lunch en route). Overnight stay at the Helnan Palestine Hotel by the sea.

Day 6. Anafora Retreat

Morning visit to the School of Theology. Lunch in Alexandria. Continue to Anafora Retreat and farm where we stay for one night.

Day 7. Egyptian Museum 

We return to Cairo and head back to All Saints’ Garden Centre Hotel. Lunch and visit to the renowned 19 century museum which contains over 120,000 of the world’s most extensive collection of pharaonic antiquities including these of Tutankhamun

Day 8. St Anthony’s Monastery 

We head out to the Monastery of St Anthony, founded in the 4th Century by disciples of one the earliest and most influential of hermits.  St Anthony is known as the Father of Monasticism and was a formative influence on Coptic Christianity.  A monk will guide us through the maze of churches and chapels to see the 12th Century wall paintings. Lunch here and return to Cairo.

Day 9. Home

Early morning departure for Cairo International Airport and our return EgyptAir flight MS777 departing at 09:10 and arriving back at London Heathrow at 13:35.

Visit organised jointly with

Tour Leaders 

EDA’s Committee member: Drs Peter LeFeuvre & Sara Montgomery.

 

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 Please note the itinerary may be subject to change due to local conditions.

 

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