Our church in Heliopolis, Egypt, has over 1100 Sudanese refugees as members. Rev Jaafar Tingra leads this needy flock. These people have all escaped from the warfare in the Nuba Mountains in North Sudan, and each month dozens more arrive in Cairo. Many of our church members have lost family members in the war.
Volunteer medical professionals have stepped forward to provide check-ups and encouragement for good health habits for children who attend Stephen’s Children’s sports camps, as well as our schools. For most of the children, it is the first time they have been seen by a doctor or dentist. The check-ups for both general and oral health are free-of-charge, and it is our prayer that more medical professionals will volunteer to share the love of Christ by investing time, training, and resources to improve the quality of life for Egypt’s poorest and most at-risk children. St Michael and All Angles Church is providing support to many Sudanese refugees.
In general, these people are able to find menial jobs in Cairo. Many of the women from the villages in the Nuba Mountains are able to find themselves work in Egyptian households, often as cleaners. The men are usually day laborers. They face much discrimination in Egypt, but at least they are able to rent a cheap apartment and to earn enough for daily life. Our church has also started a school for about 135 children from these Sudanese refugees.
Financially these refugees are not worse off than most Egyptians, until disasters hit them. Especially health-wise they are very vulnerable. In theory they have access to Egyptian state hospitals, but in practice they must bribe a lot in order to be accepted and helped. And frankly speaking, these hospitals are truly not places to be in for people who cherish their health. So in practice, when our church members need serious medical aid, they have to go to the private sector. If it is just for having a medical check up or for medicine, they usually do not ask for our help. But in a community of 1100 refugees, each year we have to deal with dozens of people in need of more serious help.
That is where Wings of Healing has been such an amazing help for us – really the hand of God stretched out to us! In the past Wings of Healing helped us greatly, but let me give one recent example. Last week Fadiya, a middle aged woman, came for help. She had just had a breast amputation, and she now needed help for six sessions of chemotherapy. As a church we could help her with one of those six sessions and I felt so bad that we could only offer such little help.
Then the next day, Wings of Healing contacted me and asked whether we had any needs. Wow! Yes we did! We were so glad that thanks to your help we were able to call the woman and tell her that we will be able to pay for her full treatment. She thanked us and she thanked God, and we also thank Wings of Healing!