These were the words which a Syrian Refugee said to me as I was leaving the Mother’s Day banquet that we held here in All Saint’s Cathedral hall. In celebration of Mother’s Day this year, we had a new idea, to invite Syrian and African refugees to join the Egyptian mothers from among our staff. Our aim is to share our joy with the refugees whom we serve through our programs at Refuge Egypt.
In Preparation for this event a small committee was formed from staff at Episcocare, Refuge Egypt, and the diocese, under the leadership of Dr. Maged Musa the director of Episcocare. A meal was prepared, a small gift given, and I shared a message about the Virgin Mary as a mother that is honoured by Christians and Muslims alike. We selected three women: one Syrian, one African, and one Egyptian to share their mothering stories in the midst of war, escape, and suffering. The Syrian mother Omaima shared about how she fled her country, carrying her child on her back, and found a safe home in Egypt. Angelina, a South Sudanese mother, describe the tribal fighting she experienced, and the difficult circumstances she faces as a domestic worker in order to feed and educate her diabetic child here in Egypt. The third was, Aida, a deaf Egyptian mother who grew up in our School for the Deaf. Emphasizing the importance of education, she brought her university-educated son with her. She shared how she worked hard to insure the best education for her son.
When we finished the celebration I encountered one of the Syrian mothers who said to me “I have been here in Egypt for six years but today is the first time I feel I exist. I feel you are my family.” These words moved me almost to tears. Our decision this year to include refugee women from across different faiths and ethnicities truly made this year’s Mother’s Day celebration the best we’ve ever had.
+ Mouneer, Bishop in Egypt