Refuge Egypt

Anglican Aid, in partnership with Refuge Egypt (RE), supports refugees and asylum seekers taking refuge in Egypt due to war or disaster in their country of origin.

The Egyptian Revolution, in January 2011, has increased the vulnerability of refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt, with xenophobia and nationalism on the rise and the widespread perception that refugees ‘steal’ jobs from Egyptian nationals. As one refugee and RE staff-member said, ‘Since the 25 January Revolution people think they can do whatever they want. They can take your bag, cut your bag and we have all our documents in there. Then you have to go back to the UNHCR and get other papers.’

The majority of refugees and asylum seekers in Egypt are Sudanese, with other nationalities including Syrian, Iraqi, Somali, Eritrean and Ethiopian. The Health and Nutrition Project, based in Cairo, supports newcomer refugees and asylum seekers throughout their first two years in Egypt which are generally a difficult period of adjustment. The project provides health care and education, distributes food and clothing and fosters self-reliance through local skills and income-generating activities. The aim is to help people prepare for either integration into Egyptian society, resettlement, or return to their home countries once possible.

Well Baby/Well Child clinics are among the many services provided for refugees by Refuge Egypt and supported by money from the Archbishop of Sydney’s Anglican Aid Overseas Development Fund. Jacklene, a nurse who loves her work, says: “One time, an Eritrean woman and her husband visited the Well Baby Clinic three days after delivering their first baby because the woman didn’t know how to breastfeed her child ... The mother insisted she wasn’t capable of breastfeeding but after our education session, she was so happy because the baby was obviously breastfeeding ... The next time I saw the family, the baby was thriving.”  In 2011, Refuge Egypt’s children’s and general clinics received 17,395 visits. Other Medical Services are psychosocial support, a lay Christian counselling course and training for refugees as homecare assistants. 

Meanwhile, Family Support provides food and clothing, preschools and a youth program. The Capacity and Livelihoods service gives domestic and vocational training. Helping refugees become self-reliant is a principal aim: Tukul  Crafts, a long-term self-reliance project, gives people the chance to learn business, design marketable products and learn or use tailoring skills.

Thank you for your wonderful support.

All donations to this project are tax deductible.

ABN 59 792 865 372

  • Give thanks for the hundreds of refugee families we're able to feed, clothe, care for, and encourage.
  • Pray for the hundreds of refugee families who face difficulty after difficulty here. Many we know face daily difficulties, have no work and no income, are overcharged rent and utilities, have faced abuse on the streets, and live in fear for their families' lives. Pray we are able to minister to their needs with wisdom, compassion, and effectiveness.
  • Pray for our front-line staff who need exception wisdom multiple times a day to be able to assess cases as they come in and determine what's appropriate. Pray for their strength and God's comfort as they carry the burdens of the stories they hear and the needs they see in front of them.
  • Pray for wisdom for our leaders and our directors.
  • Pray for the root causes of the multiple conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan, the civil war in Syria, and the political difficulties in Ethiopia and Eritrea to be noticed, taken seriously, and addressed by the international community. Pray for peace in these countries, that refugees we serve are able to live in peace again.
  • Egypt and its prosperity in the midst of major financial changes. On the one hand, Egypt has made steps to improving its cash flow and secured a multi-billion-dollar loan from the IMF; on the other hand, in doing so, the value of the Egyptian pound has halved and subsidies that people rely upon have been cut. This means real hardship for many as a result—including the refugees residing here, who were already under strain.
  • Refugees who are now facing a harsh winter. Temperatures in Cairo drop suddenly—and people’s homes aren’t equipped to deal with the cold conditions, nor do people have access to warm clothing.

December Report - 2016

Pushing Through Failure

Every term, we struggle to know how to best help students who have little formal education and who aren't used to learning in a classroom setting, let alone learning a foreign language. No matter how many times we review a lesson, little seems to stick. When you have so many students, it's hard to dedicate enough time these motivated students for them to be confident in the language. It's always hard to see these students fail the term, especially when they have put in a lot of effort.

We had one such student in our Level 1 class earlier this year. Despite attending all classes and coming often for extra help, she got an extremely low score on the exam and failed the class. Sadly, her husband also failed his level (with the exception of one other individual, they were the only two in their classes to fail, which made it exceptionally painful). She was discouraged but returned last term to repeat the level and was in my Level 1 class. I encouraged her to record the lectures so she could study at home, but she didn't have a voice recorder on her phone, which made it difficult for her to review enough. I managed to find an old, half-broken voice recorder that would suffice, put recordings of all the lessons on it, and gave it to her. Shortly after, she stopped attending class. I was disappointed, but found out her mother-in-law had surgery and she needed to care for her. The Sudanese are extremely loyal to family and she was unable to attend class. Near the end of the term, I called her to see if she still hoped to complete the term despite her many absences. She explained the situation, but said excitedly, “I've been listening to the recordings every day!” She was confident she knew the material enough to pass the test.

The day of the test, she came early and was helping others study. She knew all of the words and phrases from the level. When her turn for the oral exam came, she told me “Give me the hardest questions!” I did, and she passed the term with a remarkable 89%, which would have been higher if it weren't for her many absences.

I was thrilled for her, not just that she passed the level, but that she remained determined to accomplish her goals, and did all that she could to overcome the circumstances that came her way.


Annual Report - July 2014

Egyptians Care for a Flood of Refugees

REFUGE-EGYPT is a Christian organisation that seeks to serve refugees who have fled their home country because of war or disaster, and who have well-founded fears of returning due to persecution or loss of rights. It provides humanitarian help, spiritual guidance, and encouragement to help build self-sufficiency and self-respect to prepare refugees for repatriation, resettlement or integration into Egyptian society.

The Medical department has a major role in Refuge-Egypt’s work. Doctors provide excellent primary health care services to refugees and referrals to trusted secondary and tertiary health care providers. These services include comprehensive maternal health clinics, HIV counselling and testing, TB, HIV and malnutrition clinics, Well Baby and Well Child Clinics and general physicals and check-ups. Refuge-Egypt distributes food bags and clothing items and conducts a preschool, a job placement office and adult education courses.

A ministry of the vast Anglican/Episcopal Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa,

Refuge-Egypt – based in Cairo, plus a clinic in Alexandria – has been concerned mainly with refugees from Africa: (northern) Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan and Somalia. However, the avalanche of Syrians escaping the civil war and killings of civilians in their country has added a huge new dimension to Egypt’s refugee intake.

Refuge Egypt’s report to Anglican Aid for January-June 2014 said: “The situation for refugees in Egypt remains tense and unstable. So far 138,246 Syrian refugees have registered with UNHCR [the United Nations High Commission for refugees], 35,466 of whom are women of child-bearing age.” Over 20 per cent of the Syrian population live in Alexandria and 52 per cent of its specific needs are serious medical conditions.

Since January, Refuge-Egypt’s Alexandria clinic has been providing comprehensive natal and maternal health care to Syrian refugees. The Well Baby and Child Clinic enrols young children and gives group health education seminars. Parents receive one-to-one medical advice and a referral system is maintained.


Mohsen and Miriam: Their Stories

Mohsen is a Syrian refugee. He and his wife, Aisha, brought their newborn to Refuge-Egypt’s Well Baby clinic. The health workers explained how to care for babies and the importance of loving physical touch and face-to-face interactions such as talking, singing, and smiling at the baby. After a few visits, the wife told her husband she’d noticed a change in him; that he’d really started caring for the baby after coming to the clinic.

A Syrian man brought his young daughter, Miriam, to the Well Child clinic. She was feverish and irritable, and the father told clinic staff that ever since they fled Syria the little girl had become extremely fearful and couldn’t sleep. She had even stopped talking. Clinic staff comforted the child, handling her carefully and lovingly. After initial refusal, she finally agreed to be examined. The father was amazed: “No-one has been able to gain her trust and confidence! She hasn’t let anyone even near her.” Staff were then able to send Miriam to a speech specialist and a psychiatrist. The girl has made significant improvements, and both she and her family are doing well.


Happy Child Pre-school: Ekhlas and Eman

Ekhlas, the principal of the preschool, arrived in Egypt from the Nuba mountains in Sudan in 2003. She was a teacher in Sudan and has worked at the preschool since it began in January 2006. As a refugee herself, she feels a need to help the children of refugee families in Cairo. Her experience and desire to give these children a sterling start to their education is remarkable ... and her fellow staff members feel the same.

Eman is a young lady from Sudan, though ethnically Ethiopian. She and her husband Marwan moved to Egypt in 2007 as newlyweds. They moved into a house and met their new neighbours, both of whom happened to work at Refuge-Egypt. Through these neighbours, Eman found out about the Happy Child Preschool, and took an interest in its work.

In Sudan she had been a teacher and enjoyed working with children. Eman soon started working at the preschool with the youngest children (three-year-olds) and found the work suited her very well. She said her favourite part of the job was being with the children and watching them learn and understand new things ... “and I am also able to learn from them as well!”