Archive for the ‘Resala’ Category

Resala Clothing Day 2008

September 30, 2008

During the month of Ramadan last year (2007), Resala aimed at collecting 100 thousand pieces of used clothes from people in Egypt through its 7 branches in Cairo and 2 branches in Alexandria. At the end of Ramadan last year, Resala exceeded its goal and actually collected 200 thousand pieces of used clothes!

During this Ramadan (2008), Resala tripled its last year’s goal and aimed at collecting 300 thousand pieces of used clothes. Yet again Resala exceeded its goal and actually collected over 1,000,000 (yes one million) pieces of used clothes in less than 30 days!

On the 29th of Ramadan, which was yesterday, Resala held 4 clothing exhibitions in Cairo where a tremendous amount of poor families were helped by hundreds of Resala volunteers to choose clothes for their families, 3 pieces for each member of their families, and take them for free.

Not all of the used clothes Rasala has collected was distributed during the Clothing Day, a large amount of it was given to 126 different charity organizations in Egypt during the month of Ramadan in order to give to other poor families under their care. Another part of the collected used clothse was distributed to poor families through Resala branches in Egyptian governorates other than Cairo.

During this month of Ramadan, Resala volunteers classified, washed and ironed around half a milion (500,000) pieces of donated used clothse. The rest of the one million pieces of donated clothes will be sold with very low prices to needy people in poor districts all over Egypt through small 3-day exhibitions held near their homes. Prices for each piece vary around 50 cents and $1 with a maximum of under $3 for the most expensive used clothses pieces. This practice gives the oportunity for poor families to take their time during the exhibition and select and choose what they want in any quantity they need. It gives them the feeling they are buying the closhes with their own money. It is a very affordable means to get clothses for members of their families. Being held near their homes also makes it even easier for them, since transportation could be a financial burden to them. The revenue from such low cost used clothes exhibitions Resala holds during the year are channeled into the various charity activities of Resala to help those who are in need in Egypt.

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Who Needs to See?

August 16, 2008

Who needs to see? Imagine spending a full day without having the ability to see anything. How would that one day go? Now imagine spending the rest of your life like that. Now how does it ‘sound’?

Those of us who have been fortunate enough to have the ability to see with their eyes might find the thought of loosing their eyesight horrifying. Yet among us there are many who are completely or partially blind. Using assistive technologies and computers in particular has been a great aid to blind people, yet still human support goes a long way in making their lives easier and better.

Yesterday while at Resala, I was fortuante enough to be asked to assist a young lady in researching info online for her masters degree, the young lady hapenned to be blind. I entered the computer lab specially set for the blind at the Nasr City branch of Resala and spent some time with the young lady trying to help her out find info related to her masters thesis.

With some training, the blind are able to use computers well, provided that the computer is equiped with some reading program such as JAWS for instance. The reason why she needed me was not due to a lack of ability to use the computer, but she was just new to using the Internet and she also needed someone to help her with the English while searching online through websites written in the English language. After spending some time online, we managed to find several articles discussing topics related to her thesis. At the end, she thanked me a lot and I felt happy to be able to help.

If you have never had the chance to deal with the blind before and would like to try and help out a blind person, you may volunteer some of your time and come visit a Resala branch near you. Helping a blind person can be one way to express your greatfulness for being a sighted person. Call Resala now by dialing 19450 from anywhere in Egypt to get connected to the Resala branch nearest to where you’re calling from. Resala has 32 branches in Egypt.

SketchUp for the Deaf

April 20, 2008

Today I started delivering my first training session in SketchUp for a group of deaf students at Resala, Nasr City. I had previously been delivering SketchUp training to regular students yet it was my first time to deliver training in SketchUp to deaf people.

I was astonished with the speed by which they understood, digested and remembered the information. From the start, I assumed that SketchUp would be a perfect match to the deaf, since they rely heavily on their visual sense to perceive the world around them so effectively their eyes act as a double purpose for them, both as eyes and as ears. Nevertheless, I was still astounded by the speed by which they absorbed the information I was giving them. Their visual abilities are superb.

When teaching to regular students, I normally repeat what I say and show them how to do something in SketchUp more than once before asking them to do it. When teaching SketchUp to regular students, I also break complex or multi-step processes into smaller parts showing students how to go ahead with each part then asking them try repeating it themselves before I go ahead with the next part of the complex or multi-step process. With the deaf, all I had to do was just show them a long complex process for once only, and they were able to repeat it after me with no mistakes even though I did it in front of them only once and without breaking it down to smaller parts! I was surprised by this despite my initial understanding that they would be faster than others and more leaned towards such a visual program.

The interesting part today was that the teaching assistant who was actually doing most of the teaching instead of me today was a 17-year old girl who had Down syndrome! I had been delivering SketchUp training sessions to her once per week for the past 5 weeks or so and now she is teaching deaf students who are older than her!

Although I had previously started learning sign language yet I seem to have forgotten almost everything I had learnt. I sure need to brush up on my sign language skills. Despite of totally forgetting almost all the signs, I was able to communicate seamlessly with the deaf most of the time. When I got stuck, I asked the girl with Down syndrome to come to the rescue. Although she has not learnt sign language before, yet she seems to communicate with them, the deaf, with ease!

There is so much to discover and so much that can delight you if you just start thinking how others, who might be less fortunate than you in some regards, can be gifted in other areas in a way that surpasses you. Only by acknowledging this truth deep within your heart will you be able to bring up the real potential of those whom others might see as incapable.

Resala Trip to Alexandria

March 29, 2008

Three small buses full of deaf people, children with special needs, their families and volunteers and two Resala employees moved from in front of the Nasr City branch of Resala in Cairo yesterday heading to Alexandria. I was among the volunteers and we spent a great day over there visiting the citadel at Alexandria and spending some time on the beach.

Child at Beach

Alexandria Castle Cannon

Alexandria Castle

Gifted Child inside Citadel

Physalis in Egypt

Google SketchUp for Down Syndrome

March 23, 2008

Inspired by Project Spectrum which aims at “[helping] people with autism take advantage of their visual and spatial gifts” I selected SketchUp as the program to teach to a 17-year-old girl at Resala who has down syndrome.

Today it was my second session with her. Last session was exactly one week a go. I was astonished with how much and how clearly she remembered the steps for doing almost everything I had taught her during our last session. I have been delivering SketchUp training sessions to regular people with normal mental abilities and none of them ever remembered what I had given him/her in a past session in such detail.

Not only was it that one complete week had passed since the last session, but also this girl did not have SketchUp installed yet on her computer at home, which means she did not practice at all between the two sessions! That was an amazing thing for me to see and I have learnt a lot from it. It seems that such kids have special mental abilities and hidden talents that only need to be tapped into in order to reveal themselves.

During today’s session, I invited her father to stay with us during the training telling him that perhaps he can learn the program too himself. I thought of it as some sort of family learning which is one method of promoting better learning. He was totally surprised by what his daughter was able to do with SketchUp. As the session progressed, he told me that I had a lot of patience in teaching. To me, I do not see it as patience but I see it more of an appreciation of the varied skills and potential of others whom might lack some aspects of your mental abilities yet exceed you in others.

Orphans Trip to Al Azhar Park

February 13, 2008

Yesterday a group of volunteers from Resala and myself took a group of 18 orphan boys from an NGO and went for a trip to Al Azhar Park.

Egyptian Boy Smiling

The kids, who wore around four and a half years old, enjoyed the park a lot. They were so excited playing with the slides.

Boy Sliding

We had a lot of fun at the park with those little kids. Two of the volunteers sat down and told the kids a story with puppets in their hands. The boys enjoyed the puppets and interacted energetically with the two volunteers that were telling the story.

Trip to Africa Park

February 10, 2008

Yesterday I accompanied a group of volunteers and went with the deaf and children with developmental disabilities from Resala Nasr City for a trip to Africa Park, which is an open zoo on the Cairo-Alexandria desert road around 65 Km from Alexandria. The two employees responsible for the deaf and children with developmental disabilities accompanied us. We took a bus from in front of Resala Nasr City. We were around 45 in the bus.

Lama

It was my first time to go to Africa Park. We took a small two-car ‘train’ which was had metal windows wish small openings like a cage. The ‘train’ took us round the open zoo and we sow different kinds of animals during the trip. At some locations, we stopped by and went off the train to get a closer look at the animals.

Parrot

The most interesting part of this trip was the part where we passed by the monkeys. The monkeys were naughty and extended their hands through the metal cage-like windows of the train snatching the sandwiches from our hands. It was so exciting and a much more thrilling experience than going to an amusement park.

Monkeys

After completing the exciting trip around the open zoo, we then took a boat which glided along a beautiful lake in the park. It was a pleasant and relaxing experience.

Lake

The deaf had a lot of fun in the park. They really enjoyed the trip a lot. Because they rely basically on their eyes as the main source of input from the outside world, the deaf found the trip particularly entertaining. I believe it was useful as well for them because it made them see and experience new things they never other wise see in their daily life.

Raising Children at Resala

February 1, 2008

Yesterday I attended the second session of a series of sessions about Raising Children. This series of sessions aims at providing sound scientific knowledge coupled with practical methods for raising children and dealing with them in appropriate ways to build their personalities correctly.

The sessions are mainly target volunteers who are in the big brother / big sister program at Resala in which each volunteer selects one of the orphaned children that reside at Resala and becomes his big brother becomes or her big sister. Nevertheless, the sessions were attended by some others who wanted to know more about how to bring up their own children.

Yesterday’s session discussed discussed preventive methods that a parent should use in order to avoid wrong behavior from her children. The second part of the session discussed alternative methods for punishment of children that may be exercised whenever the preventive measures have failed.

The first session, which took place a week ago, talked about fundamental aspects of child rearing. The session discussed the basic needs of children and how to understand such needs and satisfy them.

The approach of the sessions was highly interactive. The speaker asked questions to the audience and related real cases to demonstrate the conceps she was discussing. She also answered the many questions asked by the audience during the sessions.

Literacy Training

January 25, 2008

Yesterday I attended a train the trainer session at the literacy department of the Nasr City branch of Resala. It was my first time to attend such a session.

The session discussed the literacy program offered to illiterate people. The focal point of the session was how to motivate learners and what approach to take when dealing with them. The session also covered some common issues that face the person who is teaching them how to read and write.

According to the session, some illiterate people come for the training in order to get a literacy certificate which is required by some job they want to apply for. Others come because they want to continue their education. Still others attend the training just to get to know new people and perhaps gain some extra cash upon passing their literacy exam in addition to the other positive reinforcement methods that Resala uses to motivate them to continue learning.

Happiness

January 2, 2008

Happiness is a feeling I experienced yesterday while playing with kids during a visit organized by Resala to Al Azhar Park.

Child Smiling

The Nasr City branch of Resala arranged the trip for the deaf people and their families as well as for children with developmental disabilities. I was among the lucky volunteers who accompanied them during the trip. We took off in a large bus from in front of Resala yesterday morning, spent a wonderful time at Al Azhar park then returned back to Resala after sunset.

Cute Little Girl

Very Cute Girl

Cute Girl

Volunteers who had attended training in sign language at Resala started conversing with the deaf during the trip using whatever signs they knew. Two of the volunteers who had no previous knowledge of sign language tried to ‘talk’ to the deaf as well and were so pleased in being able to make some sort of conversations with them. I tried to brush up on my sign language knowledge and was able to communicate to some extent with a number of the deaf yet used a translator when things got too complex for me to comprehend. A young kind of around 12 years old was the best translator. His mother who accompanied us during the trip was deaf.

Resala Deaf

Resala Group Photo

The kids also asked me to take group photos of them.

Girls Group Photo

Boys Group Photo

One of the kids asked me to take a photo of him while he was dong a stunt. Kids started to gather around me each wanting me to take a photo of him or her doing the same stunt.

Child Stunt

Girl Stunt

One of the kids who was around 5 years old kept coming to me all the time and moved with me as I moved. He asked me to run with him which I did. When I sat down on the grass he came to me again and told me “I want to sit with you.” One of the young girls, a 6th grader, gave me a flower. The nice thing about kids is that when they show that they like you they are genuine about it.

Girl Swinging

Near the end of the trip, the kids sat down on the grass and started singing. I guess I should have had an MP3 recorder with me to record their wonderful songs. The trip was amazing, I am really looking forward to the next one with those same kids.

Girl Pausing