Support to Humanitarian Activities of "Bambino Gesù Egitto"

Project location: EGYPT, El-Minia
Project start date: December 2006 - Project end date: This project covers various years
Project number: 2006-37
Beneficiary: Associazione Bambino Gesù Egitto Onlus

[2006/37; 2008/03; 2010/19; 2010/20; 2011/47; 2011/68]

The "Bambino Gesù Egitto, ONLUS" association was founded in 2002 in order to provide material support, spiritual assistance, an awakening of personal dignity and the promotion of inter-religious dialogue based on respect for human rights within the Christian minorities of El-Minia, Egypt.

Approximately 60,000 people (out of a total approximately 4 million inhabitants, including the city and its periphery) live in extremely difficult conditions. These people are in need of the basic requirements of everyday life, including housing, work and medical assistance. The only sources of support for these people are land and animals. Many members of this community live in shacks which often lack roofs, pavements, bathrooms, water and light. Bambino Gesù Egypt has been seeking to address all aspects of human life, from the supply of food for the children and their families to the moral, spiritual and sociological aspects, in order to give hope and renew dignity to hundreds of people who are forgetting their own origins. Helping these people also fosters inter-religious dialogue starting from simple people, and above all from young people, who still have the capacity to change the direction and quality of their lives. The steep rise in prices of all foodstuffs due to the effects of the global crisis, has had very serious consequences in Egypt, throwing the population into a state of despair and uncontrollable anger: in the big cities such as Cairo, endless queues are formed be able to get bread, now subsidized by bakeries under army supervision. In remote villages and in the poorest part of the country bread is missing in 70% of the stores, and in El-Minia hundreds of people have died in stabbings and killings in waiting lines that from the nighttime are formed in front of bakeries. There are food shortages for animals and a kilo of meat costs the equivalent of 60 euros. The situation is very serious and the lines of the poor in front of the parish have become endless.

In this situation, the Association carries out its mission of providing food, medicines and education to poor children and their families. Over the years, a functioning network of operational organizations was created linked to the priests of the Churches present in the more neglected villages. Where there are no Churches (churches in Egypt are very few, it is forbidden to build them and it takes years to get permission to restructure them), catechists and volunteers of the project who are present in the villages, provide the Association with detailed information relating to the most serious poverty issues. At that point, the grocery stores, pharmacies and school stores are informed of the names of the families entitled to receive assistance as necessary. The Association is also working with tourists to produce a certain amount of funds dedicated exclusively to this project. In 2006 the Nando Peretti Foundation awarded a grant to the "Bambino Gesù Egitto ONLUS" association to support the project "Providing monthly food and assistance for one year to 150 poor families in El-Minia".

The NPF contribution has been confirmed also for the years 2008, 2010 and 2012. Besides the support to the food assistance projects, the NPF also contributed to the "Padre Pio" clinic for Medical Examination; and to the construction of a new assistance center in El Minia.

Padre Pio Clinic in El-Minia

The clinic "Padre Pio" was first opened in 2003 by the Association in order to pursue a relentless fight to hepatitis C. The virulence of this disease is particularly strong in Egypt, where the genomes are more ferocious and deadly. The disease, if treated early, can be eradicated in 30-40% of cases at a cost of 15,000 Euro per patient. This demonstrates that in Egypt the situation is hopeless. The only possibility lies in prevention, in trying to contain the disease with drugs of different types and in providing human medical assistance to as many patients as possible. To this end the Association has established the Padre Pio Clinic for preventive clinical examinations and dissemination of information on this disease. The clinic provides free care to the poor, free medical examinations and visits. Doctors and nurses linked to the clinic "Padre Pio" take care of periodic medical examinations of children, prevention of hepatitis C and any surgery to be performed (in Egypt there is no health care for the poor).

The association assists mainly children, the sick who cannot work, the disabled and the blind, through the generosity of private donations. Thanks to the Nando Peretti Foundation, the association has succeeded to buy a van , to drive sick people to Cairo or other town very far from El-Minia, as many of them need consultants' visits, selective clinical tests or even hospital beds for surgical operations. In 2008 the clinic was awarded a contribution by the NPF, to expand its scope of action through the purchase of two ultrasound machines, to have more resources to deal with the diagnosis of this disease. Over time the clinic expanded its headquarters, including a small department for ultrasound, and medical specialists were contacted. The aim is to be able to reach the diagnosis of hepatitis C as early as possible, thanks to ultrasound screening of the liver and internal organs of patients.

In 2010 the Nando Peretti Foundation awarded a grant for the purchase of an ecocardiograph.

El-Minia Assistance Center

In 2007 five acres of desert land were purchased by the association to create a center to house both drug addicts, and all the poor and sick who have no other shelter. A well has already been dug. An electricity generator was purchased and the first two houses were built. The Nando Peretti Foundation aid was required to build two other houses.Like the clinic, this center is expected to be developed in an economically self-sufficient way. The construction works were entrusted to the poor assisted by the Bambino Gesù project, who did the work of masonry, electricity, etc.

In the future the inhabitants of the houses are expected to give birth to small self-sustaining activities such as animal husbandry and the cultivation of land. In addition, the program for the construction called for the creation of sandwich shop on the edge of the land of the Association, onto the main road traveled by large trucks, to create a small rest area to generate new funds for the project.

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