For the 12th year, Volunteers in Action (VIA) student club at The American University in Cairo (AUC) organized its annual group wedding for orphans, helping five orphan brides celebrate the wedding of their dreams. Donations were collected from the AUC community to buy basic supplies for the couples’ new homes as well as plan for the wedding celebration itself. Held in the University Garden at AUC New Cairo since 2011, the event is planned each year with the goal of helping orphans celebrate this memorable moment. This year, 350 guests attended the group wedding, and each bride was given 60 invitations so that they may share their special night with loved ones.
“Serious planning starts three months before the wedding. In addition to the five brides who attended the ceremony, VIA runs an ongoing initiative to raise money for underprivileged newlyweds. The club has provided assistance to an average of 30 other orphan brides to help them furnish their homes,” said Dina Rateb, associate professor of business administration and faculty advisor to VIA club.
Throughout these weddings, Rateb said that she has noticed that “students in VIA club are the most affected throughout the organization phase as they learn many things, for instance they become united as one family and become best of friends. Students also learn how to plan, implement a plan, work within constraints, how to have a strong backup plan.” She also said that they learn how to work under stress, how to fund raise, how to respect other cultures and to set priorities, “being part of VIA now is a big asset on students’ CV as I heard more than once from employers.”
The event was additionally made possible thanks to the help of several sponsors. L’Oreal Academy Egypt provided brides with makeovers and hairdos to prepare them for their picturesque day. Food was prepared by Tamara Lebanese Bistro, and Le Carnaval provided cakes and desserts for guests to celebrate the special occasion. Careem also provided discounted rides to the event as the official transportation partner for the big day.