Year after year, student clubs at The American University in Cairo (AUC) take lead in spreading the spirit of giving in Ramadan, helping to feed those in need, from street children and orphans to underprivileged families. 3alraseef, a community service club devoted to changing the lives of street children, collected LE 65,000 and distributed food packages to 750 families in the neighborhood of El-Zelzal in New Cairo, as well as Assiut, and Fayoum. Club members also held an annual iftar for 75 homeless children at AUC New Cairo, with special activities for the children, including arts and crafts, and magic and puppet shows. A second iftar was held on campus for the children, in collaboration with the Student Union and the International Conference on Global Economy (ICGE). At the event, ICGE gave a marketing session to the street children.“Distributing food to families in need is crucial during Ramadan; giving back is an unmatched feeling,” said Ahmed Tarek Gazar, president of the 3alraseef club. “Hosting iftar is also a good way of bringing together AUC students and less privileged children because the students’ presence with these children makes all the difference. Our motto is: ‘Make a child feel loved, and be part of the family they never had.’”
Focusing on orphans, the 20-year-old Volunteers in Action (VIA) club has raised LE 270,000 and distributed 2,676 food packages to different communities in Cairo, including several orphanages, as well as families from Kafr Hakim and Meet Okba. The packaged items include rice, pasta, tomato paste, tea, dates, beans, sugar, oil and margarine. In addition, VIA prepares iftar-to-go meals and delivers them to a different orphanage every day.
Also helping to draw a smile on children’s faces, VIA held its annual iftar and Orphans Day for 110 children from different orphanages in Cairo. The children had the opportunity to enjoy a full day filled with entertainment activities such as magic and puppet shows, arts and crafts, face painting and fun competitions.
With Eid Al-Fitr (Feast) approaching, VIA club members are holding their annual keswa fair, an event where donated clothes, shoes and accessories are displayed for orphaned children to choose from.
“It is essential to give back and help individuals in need by distributing resources that we are privileged to have,” said Menna El Kholy, architectural engineering senior and VIA president. “When you witness their happiness, it is always reflected on us, and we feel the true meaning of our existence. As we always say, never get tired of doing little things for others; sometimes, those little things occupy the biggest parts of their hearts.”
For the past 13 years, AUC’s Student Union (SU) celebrates the religious month by hosting its annual AUC Maeda outside AUC Tahrir Square. Every day during the month of Ramadan, SU and AUC community members volunteer to distribute 100 meals to individuals. This year, the SU has collected LE 55,000 in donations from various districts throughout Cairo and are still collecting funds in order to distribute more meals to people in need. The target goal is to raise LE 75,000 by the end of Ramadan and increase the distribution of meals to 150 daily.
“We not only want to continue our legacy that has been going on for more than a decade now, but also want to expand our outreach,” said Baher Abdullah, a junior majoring in computer engineering and SU volunteer coordinator. “We do these activities while fasting, so we’re able to experience how important it is to commit to charity work. It’s not just about distributing food, but inspiring a sense of giving. Joy is only felt when shared with others. As members of the AUC community, we have the power as initiative takers to spread goodness.”
The Help Club raised approximately LE 60,000 to purchase food items during Ramadan and put together 1,400 packages that were distributed in the districts of Mohandiseen and Ain Shams. Packed items included rice, oil, ghee, sugar, macaroni, dates, white beans and tea. In addition, 450 food packages were distributed in Upper Egypt and 700 in Masr El Adima.
For Mohamed Gaafar, president of the Help Club, the month of Ramadan gives people an opportunity to be mindful of individuals in need. “We have dedicated all these years to community service and can’t turn our backs to individuals who are less fortunate," Gaafar said. "They are relying on us.”