Egypt and Mothers’ Union
posted by: Joan Vine | on: Friday, 23 March 2018, 11:33
An introduction: Egypt is in the North East corner of Africa. Libya lies to the West and Sudan to the South. It is also bordered by the Mediterranean and Red Seas. It is mostly a ‘desert’ country, with a population of some 80 million. One of the longest rivers in the world, the River Nile, divides the country. In the Nile Delta (where almost all of Egypt’s agriculture is centred), temperatures can average over 100 degrees F (38 deg. C). Cairo sees very small amounts of rain each year.
Profile: Known for its pyramids, Egypt is the largest Arab country, and plays a central role in present Middle Eastern politics. In the 1950s, President Nasser pioneered nationalism. Later his successor Anwar Sadat made peace with Israel and embraced the West. The economy relies mostly on agriculture and tourism. Rapid population growth and limited arable land is a strain on the country’s resources, which has inevitably led to political unrest. The main religions are Islam and Christianity.
Present day politics: President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took power after a coup in July 2013, that led to the removal of President Mohammad Morsi. However, Sisi’s authoritarian manner has led to an abysmal human rights record, where opponents to the regime face beatings and torture. There is no check on this harsh government. Political opposition is non-existent. Activists against the regime face imprisonment. Some of the problems Egypt face is because the country is cash-poor. A loan from the IMF in 2016 to support the country’s economic reform programme is yet to be repaid. However, GDP is expected to grow, and tourism is due to steadily recover.
Security: Egypt faced several terrorist attacks since the impeachment of the former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. There were major attacks in 2017 against Christian churches. There have also been many sexual assaults. Christian children in Egypt face many difficulties. In countless villages they are bullied and ostracised, usually ignored by the teachers.
The Anglican Church in Egypt has a special care and outreach for refugees in the country and supports a large population of Sudanese refugees who settled there during times of conflict. The Mothers' Union group in Egypt consists of a group of members from Sudan who left to flee political chaos. They are based at All Saints Cathedral in Cairo which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2014, for which all congregations - Mothers' Union members included - helped with renovation work. Though a small group they are committed to making a difference in their area against a very difficult political and economic background.
Mothers’ Union: The Mothers’ Union is an integral part of the Anglican Church in areas such as Gambelia, and is actively engaged in literacy programs, church activities, practical help, prayer and visitations to the sick. In this region, women’s literacy rate is not more than 20%. School attendance, especially for girls, is low, and many women have not had the opportunity to learn to read and write. The Mothers’ Union Literacy Program in this area, started in 2011, has consistently grown, now serving on average two groups of twenty to forty adults in every Mission centre. Teachers are trained at the Gambelia Anglican Centre, who then teach women in the villages.
In 2013, Mothers’ Union leaders started a training program to address four challenges that they have identified; health, poverty, inter-tribal tension and spirituality. Mothers’ Union provide theological and practical skills to women across 70 villages. This was done through a ‘train-the-trainer’ program, trained 3,000 empowering them to affect change in their own communities.
“We can build up our communities as we build up our women” (Rev Isaac Momma, Sherkole Refugee Camp Mission Centre) Mothers’ Union members in Egypt may be small, but worldwide Mothers’ Union members throughout the world stand with you.
Let us pray for Egypt and our Members: Lord, we pray for the strength of our sisters in Egypt, that they may continue their humanitarian work in peace and stability. We pray for a stable and trustworthy government to act in the interest of all its peoples. We pray for the Church to continue to overcome evil with divine forgiveness and love. And may the Son of God reveal Himself to Muslims disillusioned by the Islamic State. Amen
Posted: 23 Mar 2018 | There are 0 comments
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