Coptic Orphans

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Coptic Orphans (CO) is a non-profit organization founded in 1988 to empower fatherless Coptic children in Egypt through education. Coptic Orphans has offices in Australia, Canada, Egypt, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


Coptic Orphans incorporated as a US 501(c)3 nonprofit in 1992, when founder Nermien Riad began her work among orphaned children in the Cairo area.[1]

Riad organized family and friends to sponsor 45 girls in an orphanage when she returned to the U.S.; however, with the departure of the nun who oversaw the orphanage, Riad turned her attention to paternal orphans living with families. She recruited the "church servants" of local Coptic parishes who visited the families. This formed the core structure of Coptic Orphans' flagship program, which would later become known as Not Alone.

As the organization grew, it incorporated life skills workshops and other means of targeting educational, vocational, and personal potential.[2]

It also incorporated an array of programs and projects that complimented Not Alone.


Not Alone[edit]

Coptic Orphans’ flagship program is its Not Alone program. Sponsors outside Egypt support the program and correspond, provide gifts and special individual assistance, and visit children who participate in Not Alone.[3]

The Valuable Girl Project[edit]

Phoebe Farag Mikhail developed Valuable Girl Project in 2003 based on her work at George Washington University towards an MA in international education.[4] The program pairs "big sisters" in secondary school with "little sisters" for academic mentoring at a village or neighborhood center, often a church or a school. It later developed organically to create a safe space for girls to address and discuss a wide variety of issues affecting them, and to include home visits by center volunteers to reinforce the learning they gained during workshops and discussions they developed at the local center.

The Valuable Girl Project also gained international attention for bringing Muslim and Christian girls together despite rising religious tension in Egypt.[5]


B’edaya is a microfinance initiative designed equip women to do buisiness in a hostile economic and social conditions. It tailors small loans for mothers of orphans in our Not Alone program, allowing them to start a business in anything from animal husbandry to selling groceries. The aim is to help them secure an income, more ability to feed their children, and more control of their lives. [6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ 2007 Annual Report,
  3. ^ "Sponsor A Child". Coptic Orphans. 2018-02-13. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  4. ^ Brinkerhoff, J. (2009). Digital Diasporas: Identity and Transnational Engagement. New York: Cambridge University Press, 187.
  5. ^ For example, the Associated Press filmed a short news story about the program:
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-01-03. Retrieved 2011-12-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]