Student Clubs Bring Change to Underprivileged Communities
“We aspire to reach a point where good deeds (kheir) become part of our lifestyles, and a source of unity and inspiration for the development of our country. We have a responsibility to raise the educational standards of youth living in deprived areas so they can discover their abilities and take Egypt to the next level,” said Farida Amr El Soueni, president of AUC’s Mashroo3 Kheir community service club, which was founded in 2014 to create a community of volunteers who can utilize creativity and social entrepreneurship for sustainable development in underprivileged communities.
Around 800 AUC students volunteer in community service clubs like Mashroo3 Kheir, engaging in diverse activities that enrich the lives of underprivileged communities in local neighborhoods throughout Cairo. Last Ramadan, these clubs raised nearly LE 500,000 to purchase food supplies for those in need, and nearly LE 6,000 food packages were distributed in different communities throughout Egypt. But beyond Ramadan, the eight community service clubs at AUC are working hard throughout the year to make a positive impact and advance developmental opportunities to individuals living in underprivileged parts of society.
Aiming to engage Egypt’s youth in community development, Mashroo3 Kheir hosts interactive game-based learning workshops that challenge the minds of women and teenagers. One of the workshops they previously hosted involved discussing topics such as harassment, health and educational opportunities.
“A key role in enhancing the lives of both women and teenagers is broadening their minds, inspiring innovation and teaching them that engaging with community members is critical,” said El Soueni. “We can achieve this by guiding teens, introducing them to problem-solving skills and helping them identify important values in life.”
Mashroo3 Kheir also focuses on integrating development in public schools by designing curricula for students that highlight their importance as individuals and members of society. “In these sessions, students develop their self-esteem and ambition, in addition to learning about health awareness,” said El Soueni.
Other projects initiated by the club include Make a Wish, where the club grants the wishes of chronically diseased children (“I wish to be, I wish to see or I wish to have”), and Kheir Store, which promotes products made by children with diseases in order to raise money for their operations. As the club states, “We believe that every person is good and that we can all help our community if we are provided with the right projects and guidance. … You can transform the world with kheir, and you can have fun doing it.”
For more information on Mashroo3 Kheir AUC, click here.
Off the Streets
With the growing number of street children in Egypt, 3alraseef is dedicated to changing and improving the lives of these children, whether they belong to a family, have lost a family member or were abandoned by their families. Operating from the firm belief that every child has the right to be educated, the club works to ensure that underprivileged street children do not sacrifice their hopes and dreams by being exposed to child labor.
3alraseef club members spend most of their time raising money on campus to collect funds for micro-projects that help families in the Zilzal (earthquake) district in New Cairo. The club provides resources to the families of street children, provided that they agree to let their children continue their education. “We try to make it a priority to help families that have at least one child,” said Ahmed Tarek Gazar, president of 3alraseef.
In addition, the club offers Arabic, English, Math and ethics classes to 50 street children, and collaborates with NGOs that deal with street children, organizing events where they can learn and have fun. Last spring, the club held a fun day on campus with activities for street children and cancer patients, as well as the M.A.D. (Make a Difference) event, where talented street children performed on campus. During the summer, the club partnered with AUC’s International Conference on Global Economy to hold a marketing session on campus for street children.
For Gazar, raising enough funds is vital for the club to succeed with its mission. “Micro-projects cost around LE 5,000 to LE 6,000,” he said. “We buy the educational material, rent locations to provide classes and buy food to feed the children. In addition, we also organize field trips to the pyramids and invite them to play sports at AUC.”
Bringing AUC students together is also equally important for the club. “Throughout the year, we hold concerts and invite celebrities to speak about street children and why it’s important to give back,” he said.
Emphasizing the importance of giving back, Gazar noted, “AUC students have a duty to help advance their country to the better. Volunteering has changed my personality a great deal by being more proactive about social issues, in addition to strengthening my public speaking skills.”
For more information on 3alraseef AUC, click here.
Glow: Beyond Development
Glow, another student community service club at AUC founded in 2009, aims to raise a generation of proactive leaders to develop society. “At Glow, we begin with the development of our own members, allowing them to grow within the AUC community and then participate in local communities,” said Rowan Maher Ibrahim, president of Glow.
To facilitate a vibrant volunteer experience on campus, the club organizes developmental days with a diversity of activities and discussions; training sessions for club members; special events for children; fairs where members from the district of Manshiyat Nasser come to campus for an opportunity to choose new clothing; and campaigns to raise awareness of social issues such as domestic violence. One of their successful campaigns was Shades of Care, where the club worked to raise awareness of different organizations that cater to various societal needs, such as helping children, the elderly and the underprivileged; caring for animals; and taking care of the environment.
Like Mashroo3 Kheir, Glow organizes trips to various communities in Cairo in order to teach children curricula, morals and ethics in creative ways, in addition to teaching their parents how to read, write and build skills to function independently in the community.
For Ibrahim, development starts by taking small steps toward change. “If we really want to make a difference in our society, it’s imperative that we give back to our community,” she noted. “I honestly find true happiness when I help someone in need; at least I know I was the reason to draw a smile on that person’s face.”
For more information on Glow AUC, click here.
For more on AUC's student clubs and organizations, click here.