February 23, 2015
By Simon Chambers
Cairo, Egypt is one of the largest urban refugee centres in the world. Over 255,000 refugees call Cairo home. Unlike refugee camps like Kakuma or Dadaab in Kenya, refugees in Cairo are not all congregated in one place, but live as they can throughout the city.
In the last few years, the Sudanese and South Sudanese refugees who were the bulk of Cairo’s refugee population have been joined by tens of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing the violence in their home.
Since 1987, Refuge Egypt, a ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Egypt based in All Saints’ Cathedral in Zamalek, Cairo has been working to support refugees in the city.
PWRDF has supported this work for over 20 years through two children’s clinics operated by Refuge Egypt. The Well Baby and Well Child clinics provide health care, health education and nutrition support to children aged 0-5 and their families.
Staff at the clinics focus on monitoring the growth of the children, as well as ensuring their vaccinations are up to date, and checking them for malnutrition and disease. When a family brings their child to the clinic, they receive a food basket with milk, rice, cooking oil, biscuits, cheese and peanut butter.
These food packages motivate the parents to bring their children in, and they also provide the opportunity for staff at the clinic to talk with the families about proper nutrition to help ensure their children’s growth is not stunted due to malnutrition.
One newborn baby came to the Well Baby Clinic when he was 29 days old. After weighing and measuring him, the staff determined he was underweight (under the 3rd percentile), and then referred him to the malnutrition clinic. At the clinic, his mother learned about the importance of breast feeding and of her own diet while she is lactating.
One month later, his weight had improved, and his mother was happy to see her baby growing and being more active.
PWRDF has just announced a grant of $39,352 to Refuge Egypt – an increase of $21,000 over our previous grant, in order to provide food baskets to the families of Syrian refugees who are flooding into the city along with the already existing African refugee population.
Since the war in Syria began, over 160,000 Syrians have fled to Cairo, and this huge influx of refugees has strained the capacity of Refuge Egypt’s clinics.
PWRDF’s additional grant will help to provide thousands of children and their families with food to help keep them healthy and strong.