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Thursday, June 30, 2011

IRUSA Team Visits El-Minya, Egypt

IRUSA communications specialist Reem El-Khatib reports to us from Egypt on the living conditions and needs of one Egyptian family.

June 28-29 -- She fainted and my heart stopped as I innately yelled, "Ya Allah." Ilham, a 15-year old girl, fainted as I was interviewing her mother about the conditions she and her children face on a daily basis. Ilham, her sister Hala (16), her brother Mohammed (8), and their mother receive food and monetary assistance from a local mosque and will also be part of the orphan sponsorship program that Islamic Relief will be starting in the region in one month. Ilham and Hala both have had four heart surgeries, and their brother Mohammed is paralyzed. Their house is the second one we visited in the Abu Ghalaq region of El-Minya. -- Its people are considered the poorest of the poor in the region.

Their mother, widowed for some nine years now, explained that she cannot afford medications for the girls or for her son, although she hopes that someday, perhaps through Orphan Sponsorship, she will be able to send her girls away to get proper care for their heart conditions and will be able to get Mohammed the therapy and the prosthetics he needs to be mobile.

I saw Ilham tap her mother's shoulder out of the corner of my eye. I thought maybe she was becoming uncomfortable with my interview and Ridwan's videography and photography, but I learned soon after that it wasn't that simple. --Ilham had been trying to get her mother's attention because she realized that she was going to faint. Her head hit the marble floor behind her.

With the assistance of some of our friends from the mosque, sniffing oils, and a little mixture of water and sugar, we were able to get Ilham responsive again. Her mother tells me that this is normal for Ilham. Her daughters have weak hearts and blood. Malnutrition and lack of access to the medication they need means that they faint regularly.

As Ilham lay in her mother's arms, I wondered what the future of this lovely young girl, her sister, her brother and her mother holds. I hope that through the assistance they will soon be receiving from Islamic Relief, there is much hope to hope for.

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