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Poverty Alleviation Projects

2007 Projects

March 11, 2007

Dear Friends:

Welcome to your March 2007 report for The $10 Club.

An eight year old Egyptian girl is not enrolled in school because her mother does not have the money for books and school supplies. Other children with an opportunity to attend school have to walk for miles along dark roads with heavy traffic just to get there. If not enrolled in school at an early age, many girls become more valuable to their families as household help than as students, and miss out on a life of educational opportunities.

So many of these poor children in Egypt are “Orphaned of the Father”, where men in the family either desert the home or die; the remaining family members suffer from illiteracy, malnutrition, and a lack of access to health care. Although education is free in Egypt, students must provide their own textbooks and supplies, which can be a costly burden that is unattainable for impoverished single-parent households.

Coptic Orphans is a nongovernmental organization based in Cairo, Egypt that works to improve children’s lives by supporting, nourishing, and educating children. Coptic Orphans’ vision is “to see every vulnerable child of Egypt confidently face the future with a renewed sense of hope and a life enriched with education, health and equality.”

Through the “Not Alone Program”, the organization works to remedy the difficulties that lead to illiteracy—primarily the lack of access to school books. In addition to providing textbooks for use in school, there is a need to provide students with interesting, pleasurable books that the children can get at no cost and read for enjoyment. Given access to books that they want to read, these at-risk children will improve their reading skills and the confidence that comes with literacy.

This month, 353 of us joined together to donate $3,830 (one member with a particular interest in Egypt added an additional contribution to be applied to this month’s project) to Coptic Orphans to buy books for as many as 500 children participating in the Not Alone Program. You will give books to them, but you will also give them joy, hope, and a chance at a better future. Thank you.

Roughly half of the adult population in Egypt is illiterate, an amazingly high rate for a nation that is not in the lowest category of human development. It is also astounding given the high school attendance in the country.

The Egypt Human Development Report 2005 offers some interesting insights into the need for improved education in the country:
  • Studies indicate that early childhood programs directly contribute to social mobility and breaking the cycle of poverty. While much early childhood learning now takes place within the context of the home, Egypt aims at reaching 60% of pre-school aged children through early childhood development programs by 2015.

  • Girls’ education programs are a significant contribution to poverty reduction as most studies have clearly testified to the important ripple effect of educating girls.

  • The proportion of poor children aged 6 – 15 years not enrolled in education is three times that of the non-poor (World Bank 2002). It is clear that the poor receive a disproportionately lower share of total education expenditure.
Coptic Orphans aims to diminish this disparity between rich and poor within the Egyptian educational system. As is so often the case, there is a real need to supplement provision of government services with assistance from the nonprofit sector.

An Egyptian carpenter dies unexpectedly. The family, including five children, one of whom is physically and mentally handicapped, lost their only source of income. The family lives in a dark, stuffy room with one table, one bed, and one stove. All of the children suffer from malnutrition and are unable to afford schoolbooks. Through intervention from Coptic Orphans all of the children have been able to stay in school, and the eldest boy is now attending college to become an engineer.

Reading is, of course, one of the simple pleasures and important intellectual tools that we so often take for granted here. With our grant this month, hundreds of needy children in Egypt will have doors open through access to the books we will provide. Hopefully this will be a key component in their educational development and, as such, their ability to avoid a lifetime of poverty.

Saving the world, ten dollars at a time,

Adam


The $10 Club is a nonprofit corporation registered in the District of Columbia.
Contributions are exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.


The $10 Club 2040 Tunlaw Rd., NW Washington, DC 20007 (202) 337-3123 adam@thetendollarclub.org