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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