In Egypt we cooperate with:
- Jesuit Fathers' School in Minia
- Jesuits' and Brothers Association for Development
This "Jesuits' and Brothers' Association for Developement" is an N.G.O. officially registered with the Ministry of Social Affairs. It was founded in order to encourage our ex-Alumni and other lay people to share in the Jesuit Community's Ministry and Apostolic Commitments, especially in the Social Sector. Its premises are within the grounds of the Jesuit Residence and its members work in close collaboration with the Jesuit Fathers.
For nearlly a 100 years, the Jesuits of Minia were sole and complete masters of their own Apostolic Activities. It was the style of the times. Nevertheless, already in the immediate post-World-War-II era, they decided to entrust their main apostolic activity then, into the hands of lay people. This activity was the opening and runing of numerous schools in Upper Egypt. The times have changed and nowadays it is more proper to carry out our mission in close cooperation with lay people. It was in this spirit that the Jesuits of Minia proposed to take the Association of Ex-Alumni into partnership in its activities. This was in the 60's. Despite an initial lack of interest in the idea, the Jesuit fathers eventually managed to enlist the cooperation of enough of our old students to register the Association officiallly with the Ministry of Social Affairs, and to start giving it various responsibilites that were formerly the Fathers' sole domain.
The Association now is well known and respected in Minia and its surroundings both by the Government and its officials, and also by other N.G.O.'s who work in the Minia Governorate. Most of our work is now done through, and in close cooperation with, this Assosciation. Indeed they do much of the work which it would have otherwise been impossible to do without their particiapation. Its commitments are continally developing.
The Jesuits' and Brothers' Association has offices in the Youth House building in the Jesuit Fathers' Residence gardens. It administers the Youth House as well as the other two new buildings and the playing fields to organize many activities such as Study-halls, lending library, Youth Clubs, Pre-kindergartens, a class for the mentally handicapped, Theatre Formation groups, Workshops, Adult Formation Seminars and many sporting and recreational activities. The Rehabilitaion Center for the Physically Handicapped pursues its programme successufully for its 15th year. Besides, it is also responsible for the two satellite centers: the "Gad-el-Sid Social Center" with its own multiple activities, and "6th October Center" specialiazing in caring for the handicapped all over the Governorate of Minia, who have been to our local center or who don't have to come, but need monitoring or special care. It also organizes Litteracy classes in about 15 villages around Minia. The Association often undertakes important Development Projects. One involved the 'training of trainers' for a Women's Comprehensive Promotion Program. At present they are leading another major project invoving 5 villages and aimed at creating and promoting comprehensive development with young and old.
The Center of Gad-el-Sid was entrusted to their care in the past decade, so they look after the organizng and running of the various activities there. My role in the center is not just to represent the community, who is ultimately responsible for what goes on there, but also to help the Association in discerning the best way to run the center in the light of the main principles and valus preached by the Church. In other words, the community remains the "soul" or "conscience" of the Association whose members have no intention of becoming mere employees in Social Work, but rather they seek to be committed Christians carrying out a real humanitarian mission in the spirit of the Gospel, guided by St. Ignatius' Spirituality (text by Anthony Fenech s.j.).