Egypt: Providential help for everyone

Along the Nile (Upper Egypt), the city of Minia has developed rapidly and is overcrowded, with an unemployment rate among the highest in the country, and congested and unhygienic living conditions. Here in the early 1970?s, in the poorest district of the city, Brother Salim Elias Chamoun SJ started the Gad-el-Sid Social Centre. ?Gad-el-Sid? means ?God?s Providence,? and its beloved founder died just over a year ago. The original purpose of teaching catechism to local Christian children soon led to wider involvement in charitable work and social development offered to anyone in need, irrespective of creed. All programs except the purely religious ones are open to Christians of various denominations as well as to Moslems (about 15%). The Social Office supports people who are chronically poor, ill or unemployed, and serves nearly 200 people each year. Activities include a mother and child program, kindergarten, Scouts and a Summer Club. Catechism, evening classes and a small lending library give young students in the overcrowded State schools a chance to study and improve their marks. The Centre depends spiritually and materially on the Jesuit Community, on material support from benefactors, and on services offered by volunteers. See www.geocities.com/tiyeff [HL10403]