Seeing the world in a different way

Wednesday 27 May 2015

 Sacha Myers/Save the Children

Aya’s* booming voice and big smile fill the room. The tips of her fingers are painted with henna and her brightly colored scarf frames her face. After everything Aya’s been through, it’s hard to believe she can smile at all.

In 2013, Aya fled her home in Sudan after years of discrimination and abuse. 

“There were a lot of problems and conflict in Sudan,” Aya says. “Sudan is divided into tribes, and there was a problem with my tribe. 

“My husband was killed in 2012. They brought his body to the door of my house. When my husband was killed I didn’t feel protected.”

Now living in Egypt’s bustling capital Cairo, Aya and her five children face new challenges.  

“My children don’t like to go on the streets because they don’t feel comfortable. They tried to go to a public school but they were treated differently compared with the other children,” explains Aya. 

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 provides an opportunity for children to continue learning until they can find a school to attend. Fourteen teachers and education volunteers have been selected from the community and equipped with training in active learning, class management, literacy and numeracy.

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

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.

“My children really love the centre because there are other children like them here and the teachers are really nice and respect them,” Aya says. 

“They are very happy here and say they never want the day to end. The children are very grateful. They love the sports and the football and the other activities and they want to come every day. They’re starting to learn French and want to stay so they can get better.

“The centre teaches them how to talk to other people, how to be respectful, how to be nice to each other and how to take care of themselves. 

“The centre gives the children a feeling that they are a human being, that they’re worthwhile. The teachers help the children see the world in a different way.”

The Child-Centered Services Center is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. The center provides vital education, health support and psychosocial care for 250 registered children. The programme has also established a child protection committee within the local community who work with families to protect children from violence and abuse.   


*Name changed to protect identity.