Archive for September, 2007

Distributing Food Bags with Resala

September 29, 2007

Today was the first time I go out with a group of volunteers from Resala to distribute the food bags we had been packing on poor families. The trip was really amazing. I loved it dearly and would love to go again with those wonderful people.

We started early in the morning in front of Resala Nasr City by loading two small trucks with pre-packed food bags for distribution on poor families. After counting the bags and arranging them on the two small trucks, the volunteers gathered and took off in two shuttle busses.

We arrived there and unloaded the plastic bags. Then we were divided into small groups of five volunteers each. Each group had a leader. A leader is usually a more experienced volunteer picked to lead the group. Each group also had a guide. The guide was a resident of the area we were visiting and knew the families there.

A accompanies one of the groups. We carried some of the bags and followed the guide. We knocked on the door of each poor family, checked to make sure their ID matches the one of the names we had in our list then gave them their food bag accompanied by a greeting and usually we got a nice prayer in return.

After distributing all the 250 food bags, we all took a bus and went back to Resala Nasr City. It was really a wonderful day. Now that I am familiar with the process, I hope I can start doing more of this.

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Packing Food at Resala

September 18, 2007

I got a phone call from Resala Nasr City today asking me to come by to help them in packing food for distribution on poor families. I went there and found a group of volunteers busy with packing food bags. I helped out till half an hour before Iftar then went home to have my Iftar.

It was the first time for me to join in the food packing activity at Resala. It turned out to be very interesting. There are several stages that take place before the bags are ready for distribution on poor families.

Macaroni Bags

Volunteers first cut open large bags full of macaroni. Then they start packing small plastic bags with macaroni trying to put around 1 Kg of macaroni in each plastic bag. Then those bags are passed to other volunteers who weigh them to make sure they are exactly 1 Kg. If they find the weigh to be more or less than 1 Kg they put more macaroni in the plastic bag or take from it to get the weight right. Then other volunteers close the the plastic bags by tying them. Finally the plastic bags are handed over and piled next to one another and on top of each others on shelves or at one corner of the room.

Balance

The same process of unpacking large containers, filling small plastic bags, weighing them, then tying them closed and finally piling them up is repeated for food stuff other than macaroni as well such as rice for instance. When such process is complete for all the food stuff, another process starts to pack a larger plastic bag containing different food stuff for each poor family.

One volunteer stands at each pile of food stuff in the room. Then a group of volunteers start taking large empty plastic bags and walk in a circle passing by the other volunteers who are standing beside the different piles of food stuff. As the walking volunteer passes by the macaroni bags pile, the volunteer standing at that pile puts two macaroni plastic bags in the large bag. As the moving volunteer walks around and passes by the volunteer standing at the rice bags pile, that volunteer puts him three plastic bags full of rice and so on. By the time the a moving volunteer reaches the end of the circle, his large bag would contain seven items: macaroni, rice, sugar, dates, oil, lentils and beans.

The final step is to count those large bags to see how many we have managed to packĀ at the end of that day. The bags are now ready to be distributed on the poor families. Some volunteers then start taking the food bags and distribute them on preselected poor families.

Fun with SketchUp

September 16, 2007

After having played around with Google SketchUp for quite a while, today I delved deeper into it by reading a lot about it online, viewing videos about it and experimenting myself. I feel much more confidence in using it now.

I really would love to do cool things with SketchUp in the days to come. I believe I will God willing.

Experience of a Mother

September 11, 2007

I have just returned from Resala. I was attending the second and final part of a seminar there entitled Experience of a Mother. A mother who has a 9 year old child with downs syndrome was the speaker in this seminar. She was telling us about how to deal with special needs children such as those who have downs syndrome, CP or autism.

The seminar was so rich because the mother who spoke in it had long first hand experience with such children due to her having a child with downs syndrome. In addition, she has taken courses in how to deal with special needs children. The result was an informative and realistic seminar about the reality of dealing with such children.

Here is a a number of points I remember from the seminar:

  • Down syndrome is caused by a disorder in splitting of the female ovary which causes the cells to have 24 chromosomes instead of the normal 23. When united with a male sperm cell, the result is a 47 chromosome cell instead of the normal 46 chromosome cell found in normal people. The extra chromosome causes down syndrome in the child.
  • Some children with down syndrome can perform exceptionally on piano.
  • Intelligence is a matter of exerting effort and is a matter of practice. With practice children can learn and improve.

Special Needs Children

September 9, 2007

During my time at Resala today, I also visited the department for special needs children. I sat down with the responsible for that department and she told me all about the services they offer to special needs children. I do not remember all the services she told me about, but one of the activities that grabbed my attention was offering those children the opportunity to draw and paint. Other activities included teaching them basic things that regular kids are able to do. Volunteers start teaching those kids from scratch as if their minds where a white sheet of paper ready to absorb whatever is put on it.

Some of the activities for those children are not done by volunteers, but are done by specialists. A speech professional provides them with specialized sessions to train them on speaking for those who have speech disabilities. Such children with speech disabilities are different from deaf children. They are able to speak a little or some letters but not others. As for deaf children and adults, there is another section at Resala specially for them. Perhaps I can talk about it at a future post.

Resala Goes to Suez

September 9, 2007

I’ve just returned back from the Nasr City branch of Resala. I mainly went to the “assistance” department there. As I entered the room, I found a number of volunteers standing there all around the room packing bags with various food stuff. I remember rice was among the things packed. I also noticed a very large pack. Such large packs contained rice. The volunteers opened those large bags and emptied them in smaller plastic bags. After repacking the rice and other food stuff, the volunteers made a collection of various food stuff and put it in bags for distribution on needy families.

One of the volunteer that have been participating in such activities since four years told me that tomorrow the “assistance” team of Resala Nasr City will be heading to Suez. Those food packages are to be distributed there during that trip. The team which is composed mainly of volunteers will start their trip from in front of Resala Nasr City. The meeting time should be 9 AM tomorrow morning. The trip should be complete around 5 PM in the afternoon in Suez and head to Cairo after that back to the Nasr City branch of Resala. A bus will take the volunteers and the food packages. Besides food, there are also other stuff for poor families. I believe among such things are refrigerators and things like that. At Suez, there will be guides with each group of volunteers who will guide them around to reach the poor families and deliver the food packages and the other things to them.

The volunteered whom I spoke to today told me that they have been to Suez first to check and see which families are really in need. The process starts by volunteers from Resala going to some charity organization at a poor location and asking them for names and addresses of poor people in their area. Then Resala representatives go and check to make sure that such people are really in need. After that packing of food packages and other things is done. The final step in the process is the actual delivery of such food bags. That is the step that should be taking place tomorrow in Suez.

Helping at Resala

September 9, 2007

Today I have a meeting at Resala, Nasr City branch. The meeting is at the poverty assistance department of Resala. This department is responsible for assisting poor families. Resala offers several types of assistance to families that are in need. First of all, Resala provides poor families who live in poor areas with monthly monetary assistance as well as food bags. In addition, Resala provides them with medical care when needed.

Another interesting service Resala provides is called “projects”. The projects service is under the Resala “assistance” department. It helps those families that can start a projects. For instance a poor woman who had kids but no husband to take care of them or a sick husband incapable of work can start a project such as a small kiosk selling all sorts of small things for passers by. Resala provides such a family with funds for starting the project, and they give the money back to Resala on installments without paying any interest whatsoever.

Under the “assistance” department of Resala there is also another interesting service which is a recruitment service for those looking for work. If you need some worker, you can go to such service and tell them what type of worker you want and they will fetch you your need. If you know someone looking for work, you can also point him or her to the recruitment service offered by the assistance department at Resala.

In order to offer their services in a proper way, the assistance department at Resala first researches each family that claims to be in need of assistance. If the such family turned out not to be really in need, Resala does not offer them assistance. Only families that are in real need are helped by Resala. As for the projects service, Resala makes a feasibility analysis for the projects first before offering the funding.

It is my firs time to participate in the assistance department at Resala. Today will be my first meeting there. I believe I’d love the volunteering work at that department. Perhaps I can volunteer at the recruitment service they are offering due to my experience in the field of HR and recruitment.