Social media is playground for the frivolous – fact. But here’s a thought: these platforms, which link millions of people to each other, can be used for good – gasp! We all have a friend or two who have used Facebook or Twitter to raise money for a charity cause or awareness to a terrible injustice. But these four unsung heroes demand your respect and admiration for their tireless social media work in raising funds and finding homes, jobs, food and medicine for Egypt’s neediest people.
Managing director of Media & More and What Women Want magazine, May Abdel Asim uses her Twitter account and Facebook profile to raise funds for urgent heart surgery for babies, out-of-stock and expensive medication and for the construction of new orphanages in Egypt. Through her network of online friends and 5,000 followers alone, she’s managed to raise hundreds of thousands of Egyptian pounds for urgent cases. She also travelled to the Greek island of Lesvos to volunteer in helping Syrian refugees in 2015. Today, she’s raising funds for food, medicine and legal fees for refugees in Lesvos. You can donate by DM-ing May or contacting her on Twitter.
Although now based in London, Nelly Ali continues to post – and shed light – on one of Egypt’s most disturbing issues: the treatment of street kids. Having worked at Hope Village Society, a shelter for street children and young women, Nelly has channeled the trauma of what she saw these kids suffer into her blog, Facebook and Twitter posts, giving her 23,000 followers insight to the terrible reality of life on the streets of Egypt.
Ali doesn’t believe in raising cash, but rather in motivating community action: so far she’s managed to organise free reconstructive surgery for abused children and young women and lobbied for safer, more dignified hospital treatment of young mothers in labour while securing jobs, clothing and accommodation for the girls. Volunteers have given haircuts to the shelter’s women, the Rugby Club in Cairo offered training and their facilities to the children, while others have donated uniform, toys and raised funds for the shelter in their own ways. In her latest posts, she’s looking to organise training sessions for medical staff on how to deal with cases of physical or sexual abuse. Get in touch with her via Twitter.
As one of the most active social media campaigners out there on her platform Sarah Moussa Charity & Social Work Hub, Moussa connects her 7,000 followers to charities around Egypt that desperately need funds; she’s helped install water pipes into homes in Qena and Sinai, distribute blankets to desert communities, provide meals for the elderly and orphans in Assiut and reconstruct rooftops and schools in Upper Egypt.
This September, Moussa raised funds through her network of donors, NGOs and doctors for the construction of two special needs’ centers in Sohag, but her most successful story to date was when she recently posted a photo of a mentally disabled young girl tied to a tree every night in a village in Upper Egypt – the photo and its story were so disturbing that Moussa’s posts went viral and within 24 hours the Ministry of Social Services had got involved; the young girl was rescued and placed within a proper facility that provided the care she’d been denied for so long. It was thanks to Sarah’s words, and her readers’ involvement, that this girl’s life was saved. Follow Sarah’s posts here.
Perhaps one of the best known of social media heroes, Heba Elsewedy was called ‘the mother of the injured’ and ‘Egypt’s Mother Teresa’ for her tireless work since 2011 in networking and fundraising for the medical care of thousands of injured protestors after January 25. Since then she’s gone on to found Ahl Masr; an organisation that cares for over 100,000 burn victims a year in Egypt. They’re currently raising funds to build the first burns hospital in Egypt – donate by calling 16863 - and El Sewedy keeps spreading the word among her 44k followers on Twitter and 55k readers on Facebook about how they can help burn victims in Egypt and the Middle East.
By Samar El Shams