Family Fund: Assistance to Sudanese Refugees

Family Fund of the Heliopolis Community Churchsome glimpses

The young woman staggered into the Church Hall, where we were busy assisting Sudanese refugees at our weekly “Family Fund”. “Ashol” was very obviously in the last stage of labor, and I panicked for a moment, uncertain as to how to handle this kind of emergency. All of our faithful volunteers gathered around, poised to help. I did not even know this lady, but she obviously needed help—fast!

Fortunately, she had thought to bring with her the medical papers from her one and only doctor’s visit, and I read in horror “Twins— 7 months; paid only L.E. 20 toward Delivery.” Noticing a mobile number, I quickly called the doctor, who turned out to be very helpful. I begged her to admit Ashol if necessary to the Christian hospital she worked at and to trust the Family Fund to cover the expenses. We then got a taxi, put some money in her friend’s hand, and sent them off. Our staff and volunteers then had prayer together for this poor woman and her twins.

During the course of the next few days, I learned that the first of the twins was born before Ashol even got past the ground floor of the hospital—dead. He was a little boy; the tiny girl of just over 1 kilo, whom her parents named Abuk, struggled for life for 3 days. During that time I fell in love with that minute bit of God’s creation, and prayed for God to do the best for her in her struggle to live.

Meeting Ashol’s family and husband was a real blessing, as they were strong believers who trusted in a loving Father to show His power and love by healing little Abuk—or by taking her. The very young husband, “Peter” was very touching, as he described to me how difficult and expensive it was to get a birth certificate for his dead son and also find a place to bury him. But he never complained, simply saying “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

I spent literally hours on the phone during those days, raising money for little Abuk’s care. But she died any way! This time I found Peter crying as he started again the difficult process of burying her beside her brother. But again he exclaimed “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be His name.”

After that time, the Family Fund managed to raise money for some of this family’s expenses, to give them several bags of food and to get a job for Peter in a Christian organization.

Do dramatic things like this happen every week? Thank God, they do not! However, Sudanese refugees in Egypt face many emergencies so we in Family Fund try to help them with their various, daily crises.

Regular services of the Family Fund at HCC:

1. Job placement; THIS IS OUR MAJOR THRUST and an area where we need continued assistance from HCC members and people in the community.
2. Providing a spiritual program for interested Sudanese during the hour before the social program begins;
3. Prayer, counseling and emotional support during their numerous crises;
4. Food aid as well as clothing distribution when available;
5. Financial assistance during emergencies;
6. Connecting them with appropriate helpers in the community.
7. Distributing blankets provided by concerned benefactors in the community;

Make up of the Family Fund:

The Family Fund is made up of 10 volunteers, plus a part-time coordinator and part-time secretary who are paid by HCC. We have been working with the Sudanese for at least 20 years, and have developed during that time a very well-organized and detailed system for achieving the maximum amount of aid with the minimum amount of over-lap and confusion. (This was very necessary, for we serve over 50 persons each Tuesday afternoon!)

All these services are provided free of charge to all Southern Sudanese who register with us, regardless of religion or language.

HCC Participation:

1. Many of our volunteers come from the HCC
2. HCC covers the salary of a weekly coordinator and a part-time secretary who work for Family Fund.
3. HCC provides food parcels three times a year, supplied by benevolence offerings given by HCC members. These parcels contain 8 – 10 nutritious food items such as beans, milk and oil.

Recipients of Family Fund aid: All Sudanese who are living in Cairo regardless of religion, tribe or language.

Venue and time: The Family Fund meets every Tuesday afternoon at the ST Michael’s Church Hall, 10 Seti street, Korba, Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.
 Registration 3:00 – 4:15 PM
 Spiritual program 4:15 – 5:30 PM.
 Social program is 5:30 – 8: 30 PM

August 2011

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