Beit Miriam in Cairo / Egypt was established in the year 2000, after True Life in God was introduced in various ways. This resulted in several visits of Vassula in Egypt. Soon after, Sr. Carina Maria NDS (Notre Dame de Sion), volunteered to take on the challenge, of Beit Miriam, beside many of her other responsibilities. A small room was rented in two different houses for cooking and distributing meals feeding about 20 of the poorest families (about 107 persons) in her area twice a week.
When Vassula visited Cairo in 2009 and saw the poor condition of Beit Miriam, she urged Sr. Carina to rent a flat that would house the Beit Miriam in a dignified fashion where people would be uplifted by a friendly environment.
In April of 2010, Sr. Carina found and rented the current apartment. It has 3 rooms with a small kitchen net and bathroom. Beside cooking and distributing meals twice a week, the facility is used for prayer, social gatherings on special feasts and for teaching and encouraging a community atmosphere.
Beit Miriam Cairo serves 33 families / about 165 persons twice a week. These families have been recognized as social welfare cases and are registered as such (although without receiving any aid from governmental sources). Each Wednesday and Saturday they receive cooked food that is prepared in the Beit Miriam headquarters.
For lack of space and to better serve the family unity, the meals are collected by one member of the family and eaten at home adjusting to the schedule of each family. Initially, enough food was provided, securing food for about four days. This has become difficult now with the constant increasing food prices and limited funds.
Food distribution at Beit Miriam – Cairo
In order to encourage the disadvantaged from their daily struggles, Sister Carina Maria NDS, organizes from time to time special social events in the Beit Miriam home, i.e. teaching, prayer and social activities where special treats are being distributed. Treats being collected gifts over the year. Special treats: ice cream – which is extremely rare and only when extra funds are available.
Social gathering combined with teaching about TLIG
Since 25 years, Sister Carina organizes a summer camp for socially disadvantaged pupils from the school she teaches. Ever since Beit Miriam is active, she invites the children of the Beit Miriam families along to the camp. The purpose is to provide a different environment apart from the very hot and over populated city of Cairo by bringing them to a vacation camp on the sea side of Egypt. According to the funds available it covers one week of accommodation, bus fare, entrance fees to the beach, cinema, other recreational activities and all pre-cooked meals / drinks, ice cream etc. 15 youth volunteers help Sister Carina supervising the children.
Up to 130 Children from the age of 5 to 17 years old join this camp every year enjoying a refreshing holiday with swimming and play. It also provides a platform to educational activities in bible study, prayer and improving lacking social skills so as to learn respectful and cordial interaction between the children giving them an opportunity to bond in the Spirit of Love, encouraging them for the rest of the year.
Donations in kind
- Furniture for the unfurnished Beit Miriam (all second hand equipment), kitchen utilities and ware and tare material, were donated by local Egyptian friends and family members of Sr. Carina.
-Second Hand Clothing for distribution is provided from time to time by local friends and family members of Sr. Carina.
SUGGESTIONS TO EXPANDING BEIT MIRIAM SERVICES ACCORDING TO THE NEEDS IN THE REGION:
1. Additional Funding for Health Care
Egypt has a very limited public health care system. Basic Health Insurance is unaffordable for the poor and does not cover serious medical services. Last year we lost three Beit Miriam “members” (children) who used to receive weekly meals. Their fatal illness could not be treated due to lack of funding. They died. We remember them with love. May they Rest in Peace.
Our three children (Amira, Miriam and Mariam) that died last year due to lack of funds for medical aid
This urges us to plead with the Headquarters of Beit Miriam International to provide additional funding either for
a)a proper medical insurance for the poor who are registered in the Beit Miriam relief program or
b)for individual medical aid whenever needed. This although may be costlier than an annual medical insurance.
2. Additional Funding for School Fees and Higher Education
Beit Miriam Cairo suggests expanding their services with annual additional funding to cover the neediest children with school fees and provide scholar ships for higher education for students with a promising potential.
- School Fees are very high and often unaffordable for socially disadvantaged families. Slow learners cannot afford private tutoring. This results in lack of basic education and little opportunities in life. These children are often forced to child labors; professional begging; prostitution; being sold for marriage; or left homeless living in the streets; etc. Annual school fees for one student in primary school costs: EGP approx. 400 or US$ 75,00
- Higher Education provides better skills up grating a country’s potential. It gives Job opportunities that result in a secure income supporting a family leading to Self- Efficiency etc. They could be the future benefactors of Beit Miriam. Moreover, the potential of dynamic young people is essential to better the society as a whole. This program to help so they can help themselves later on could be most effective for Egypt’s future.
3. Funding for Home Renovations
Most of the families that are given food by Beit Miriam live in appalling conditions. Many of them “live” in very small spaces unimaginable by European standards. They live under stair cases of apartment buildings, in small rooms with low ceilings lacking basic needs and space. Other families live in squad rooms, where a code of paint and sanitary facilities could improve their lives.
Beit Miriam Cairo could provide a home renovation project plan, if funding would be made available, where unemployed could be employed for a period of time and providing for their families.
Living under the stair cases of apartment buildings, narrow and lacking basic facilities
Parents sleep on the floor, the three children on wall opening in the corner
4. Recreational Activities
College de la Salle of the Christian Brothers in Cairo provides cultural activities and afternoon camps of leisure with games and sports. Sr. Carina Maria encourages the socially disadvantaged Beit Miriam children and youth to join these activities for educational purposes, interaction with different social classes and some fun time to change their perspectives and for realistic future opportunities.
Summer Fee for one child three month: EGP 180 US$ 32,00
By way of this occasion, Beit Miriam Cairo wishes to express our heartfelt gratitude to all the generous benefactors and volunteers everywhere, who make our relief efforts in Cairo possible. May God bless and reward your generosity! Thank you!
Report by Sr. Carina Maria NDS, and Beit Miriam Team – Cairo / Egypt
Address: Cairo, Egypt Email:
or Responsible: Sr. Carina