By Fanny Ohier
Ten years ago, the Belgian charity organisation FACE began supporting Egypt’s most vulnerable children: orphans and street children. At the instigation of FACE’s founder Flavia Shaw-Jackson, who had previously travelled to Egypt, the organisation established a new unit in Cairo, in 2003.
“I am hopeful for the children’s situation in Egypt, because I can see that what we do is actually changing things,” said founder Flavia Shaw-Jackson during a press conference on 5 June in celebration of FACE’s 10th anniversary working in Egypt.
“FACE is a very grassroots-oriented project. So we work very closely on the ground and I can feel changes all the time. So I’m very hopeful,” She continued.
“I can say the government is very supportive of FACE. We work hand in hand with the government, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the National Council for Childhood, and the Ministry of Health.”
The organisation has four orphanages the Hegazy in Qalyubia, Banha, Maadi and Al-Zeitoun. FACE is currently in the development stage of establishing a clinic in the slum of Al-Khosous, and a centre for street children in El-Salam. Each one of the four orphanages welcomes and takes care of children of different ages, from birth until they reach 18.
FACE also takes in street children “Drop-In” and residential centres. The children are given the chance to attend school, and when they get older they can take vocational training to assist with establishing professional skills. FACE also provides drug rehabilitation programmes.
The organisation is striving to close the state’s loopholes by assisting mothers of street children who come to the centres.
“Our aim is always to reintegrate the children into families. That is the most important focus,” emphasised Shaw-Jackson, “That’s how we believe we will reintegrate these children into the community. We have to give them a family that gives them attention and security.”
FACE encourages people to get involved by volunteering or donating money to the organisation.