By: Malak Sekaly
With the holiday season coming to an end, Ahl Masr, the first and only NGO in Egypt and the region to care for burn survivors with the mission of being the voice of and for them, offered Cairenes an opportunity to give back by shopping at their NG GO event.
Held on January 6 and 7 in Cairo Festival City Mall, Ahl Masr Foundation's event hosted 20 local vendors and exhibitors. NG GO had many objectives, with raising money for the treatment and care of burn survivors at the top. They also aimed at spreading awareness about the NGO’s cause while offering the opportunity for local sellers to reach a large audience.
Heba El Sewedy, founder and chairwoman of Ahl Masr Foundation, emphasized that a primary objective of NG GO is to allow Ahl Masr to deliver a message of hope to burn survivors and the people of Egypt. "The NGO’s mission is to not only treat and care for burn survivors but also to promote their acceptance nation-wide and raise public awareness concerning burn prevention and how best to deal with fire hazards," she clarified.
The common theme all vendors shared was 'oriental with a local vibe'. Hend Nour El Din, a seller at the Khan Zeinab booth, said that the event introduced her to a larger audience that's interested in their products. Nour El Din highlighted the uniqueness of many products sold at the event, emphasizing that the majority are handmade, and thus have a unique and more human aspect to them.
Ahl Masr had booths that provided information concerning their work as well as products inspired by drawings from burn survivors and produced by The Doodle Factory.
Set up at the primary booth was their one-of-a-kind Christmas tree, decorated with messages from burn victims instead of ornaments. Donators took messages off the tree, donated any amount desired and replaced the message with an actual ornament.
Commenting on the event’s results, Samar Ibrahim, Communication Director at the Ahl Masr Foundation, clarified that in her opinion “the event was successful as it did achieve its intended purpose.”
She then added that “An estimated 150,000 mall visitors, over the two days, were informed about Ahl Masr Foundation, its mission & programs and actively participated in fundraising for building Ahl Masr’s nonprofit burn hospital.”
El Sewedy also expressed her satisfaction adding, “The most important thing is for a person to do good,” said El Sewedy, highlighting the great spirit that the event exuded.
Ahl Masr is allocating all raised funds to the building of the Ahl Masr Non Profit Burn Hospital, burn survivors are currently being treated in Al Kasr El Einy, Ein Shams, and Demerdash hospitals, according to Rania Goda, a representative of the NGO.
Funds will also be directed towards the Safe Village program Ahl Masr conducts, where villages are redeveloped to prevent burn incidents.
Ahl Masr is currently working on building the largest hospital in the region for burn survivors. According to their website, the mission is to “provide comprehensive treatment and to ensure saving lives and the full recovery of burn survivors, addressing not only their physical needs but also their psychological, emotional and social wellness.”
Burns are a serious issue in Egypt, with more than 100,000 people suffering from burn accidents yearly, and not less than 37% die within the first six hours of injury, according to Ahl Masr.
To help support Ahl Masr’s cause, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!