Giving back to the community is the real revolution. Bursting out of one’s bubble and digging deeper into real causes brings out a healthy society that works hand in hand on development and prosperity.Forsa is an amazing and inspiring initiative by Wataneya Society, an NGO specialized in the development of orphanages in Egypt. The whole project embraces young orphans, who are talented in different arts and don’t know where to begin. They kick started their campaign in a seminar at SawyCulturewheel with none other than Asser Yassin backing up this great initiative.
Wataneya works on development to apply the minimum quality of standards for alternative care. These standards have six pillars. “All parents raise their children and then leave them at a certain age to count on themselves and become independent, it’s a very big challenge to make the youth leave their orphanages without being prepared. Most of the Youth Development Programs that we approached told us that we only work with youth, not orphans. Aren’t orphans youth as well?”, Yasmine El Hagry, Eternal Relations Manager in Wataneyacomments. “When they leave their orphanages, they face major psychological challenges like identity issues and the difficulties of saying that they are orphans, fearing rejection from society”, she adds.
There are different phases of the program, which start with ‘Discover Yourself’ aiming topinpoint their talents and what they want to achieve. Followed by ‘Develop Your Skills’ through which they learnhow to plan for a goal by engaging youth in different workshops like filmmaking, editing, arts and crafts, creative writing and photography until in the last stage they get a practical chance for an internship in the private sector.
“We created profiles and CVs for them but the challenge in the private sector always erupts when we mention that they are ‘orphans’, so the companies give them vacancies as an office boy or a driver. With all my respect to these calibers, but why did they assume that they lack skills? Why don’t they just look at their CVs and see what these young people can do other than limiting them to a certain category? We are happy to share three success stories of one young man, who worked in IT after a 3 months internship and another boy and a girl who successfully completed internships in HR and Marketing”, Yasmine tells us.
Wataneya is also trying to upgrade the caregivers of orphanages and got accreditationfrom Edexcel BTEC Level 3, an advanced Certificate in Promoting Children’s Development.“I think that Forsa is the best way to volunteer. We aren’t people who need chocolate and candy, we need to learn something”,says Nahla ElNemr, a 29 year old Volunteer co-coordinator and one of the orphan youth. “If you make me learn something when I’m young, I’m going to pass it on to someone when I am older. The best thing that ever happened to meis that I learned to talk on stage in front of a big crowd. I wasn’t able to do that before”,she adds.
Forsa is strongly supported by Asser Yassin, who helps raising awareness for this great and important cause.As a third world country, we have many causes on our checklist that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to community work and development. “Honestly, I’ve been interested in charity work for a long time. When I was younger, my parents were always involved in something charitable. As an actor, I’ve waited sometime. I wanted to have a cause. You need to choose a cause first and know how you want to help and who do you want to help. At the same time, you collect lots of information about various causes. Before this initiative I was interested in projects that aim to spread literacy and I worked with ‘OumYaMasry’, a new show on ONTV promoting charity work and social engagement of citizens. I read about the cause and met with people and knew very important facts. Knowing that engaging in community and charity work benefits you as a person as much as it benefits the recipient is extremely important”, he explains, “I started looking at charity or social responsibility in a very practical rather than romantic manner. I want to do this for my future and my childen’s future for it is very important”.
After the revolution enthusiasm for social engagement began spreading like wildfire with a newly gained sense of ownership and empowerment.“Mubarak made us very weak without any sort of identity.Bread winning came before pride or dignity or identity. Instead of having a national pride a twisted religious identity replaced this notion of belonging.We used to do everything for the sake of going to heaven to the extent of forwarding religious call tones and 10 chain text messages for 10 rewards. If you really care about orphans then go and meet them, meet the people you send money to. This is serious pro-active social work”, he adds, “I have a lot of hope in the youth and in the coming generationswhat I don’t have hope in is the government that lacks even more competence than the previous regime. They are losers, faithless, empty and incompetent. How come they speak about ‘Nahda’ without mentioning anything about fighting illiteracy”.
In Hollywood, every celebrity supports a certain cause be it a local or global issue they choose to support. “Definitely the system that generates public figures like Sean Penn and Angelina Jolie already has strong awareness on development and its importance. Many Middle Eastern celebrities are strongly engaged in social work, such as Goodwill Ambassadors Hend Sabry and Khaled Abol Naga, for example”, he wraps up.
For more about Forsa and its great activities visit www.amaanegypt.org . For the Volunteer Program, send a mail with your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org