A new start for Samira

Wednesday 27 May 2015

 Sacha Myers/Save the Children

Before you even step through the door of Save the Children’s Child Centered Services Center in Cairo, Egypt, you can feel the excitement in the air. Howls of laughter echo down the stairs and children’s colorful paintings adorn the walls.  

Tall for her age and quietly confident, 13-year-old Samira* loves coming to the centre. She was born in Sudan but her family left their home in search of safety and security.  

“We left Sudan because the situation was not good,” Samira explains. “The community was not good, the schools were not good. 

“In the schools, the teachers kept changing and the classes kept changing. The students were bad and would drop out. And even when they were there they never did their homework and they fought with the teachers. Everything in Sudan is expensive and living was not good.”

While Sudanese families living in Egypt can use local services such as schools, many services need improvement to ensure they are welcoming, free from discrimination and meet the national standards.

Save the Children in Egypt is providing much-needed support for vulnerable Sudanese families in Cairo. We have established a Child-Centered Services Center where children can play, make friends and learn as they rebuild their lives. The center also provides psychosocial support for children and runs sessions for parents about sexual health, child development and improving their children’s health and nutrition.

The health facilitator at the center teaches children about hygiene and refers sick children to the nearest health clinics. Save the Children helps to equip these local health clinics and provides training for the health workers to ensure children receive the best care possible. 

For children like Samira who are keen to continue their education, the center provides an opportunity for them to continue learning until they can find a school to attend. The teachers are from the local community and have been trained by Save the Children. 

The lessons are based on the Egyptian and Sudanese curricula to allow children to sit for exams under both systems.

“I like everything [about Save the Children’s center]. I like science, history and art. I like making the moulds in art. I’m very happy because my level of education has improved since coming to the center,” Samira says. 

 “When I’m here at the center I feel like I’m in Sudan. I have lots of friends here at the center. I’ve also made Egyptian friends here as well. 

“I want to be a doctor when I grow up. I want to be the most famous doctor in the world.” 

Save the Children’s Child-Centered Services Center provides vital education, health support and psychosocial care for 250 registered children. As part of our work with the local community, Save the Children has also established a child protection committee who works with families to protect children from violence and abuse.   

*Name changed to protect identity.