Tag Archive: North Africa

Egyptian Philanthropy during the revolution

sduncan post on January 29th, 2015
Posted in North Africa Tags: , ,

By Sandra Guirguis

Approximately two years ago, the people of Egypt decided that they have had enough, after years of following the regime of President Hosni Mubarak. Thousands of civilians gathered to protest, which lasted months until they were able to force the President to step down. Mohamed Morsi was elected as President, following Egypt’s first presidential election. What civilians failed to realize at the time was that the Muslim-Brotherhood member had ulterior motives to rule the country under Islamic law – which was clearly not supported (G. Guirguis, personal communication, September 24, 2013). Soon after, Egyptians gathered for yet another demonstration to oppose the rule of Morsi. Once again, Egyptians were able to come together to overthrow their political leader. This revolution was not as simplistic as it sounds. Hundreds of people were killed and thousands were left injured as a result. During this period, a country wide curfew was put into place to ensure the protection of civilians.

​Curfew in Egypt began at 9 o’clock p.m. and ended at 6 o’clock a.m., with the exception of curfew beginning at 7 o’clock p.m. on Friday’s (BBC, 2013). Curfew hours were typically spent arguing about the politics of the revolution, and people were becoming bored. This sparked an initiative lead by a youth group in Egypt called, Mashroo3 Kheir. This form of philanthropy required the use of volunteers’ time. Using the social networking site Facebook, the youth led group was able to create the program “Kheir fel Hazr,” meaning “Doing good during curfew” (El-Saeed, 2013).

​Braille books are unfortunately not available in Egypt and Kheir fel Hazr aimed to change that (El-Saeed, 2013). Pages of books were scanned and then sent to volunteers to type in a Microsoft Word document. From there, a program was used to translate the pages into Braille. Realizing that not all visually impaired individuals could read Braille, the group also began creating audio books. The initiative currently has over three hundred volunteers, and has been able to create seven Braille books as well as seven audio recorded books (El-Saeed, 2013).

Although the curfew in Egypt has now been removed, the initiative has decided to continue to its mission. And from there the group will expand its mission by gathering volunteers with various talents and expertise and offering teaching lessons for children in need. Mashroo3 Kheir focuses on improving Egypt after the revolution in aspects other than politics (El-Saeed, 2013). The group’s future plans include traveling to less fortunate places in Egypt, such as Upper Egypt, to provide education for illiterate children. As well as distributing clothing to children in orphanages during the Islamic celebration of Eid (El-Saeed, 2013).

Works cited

British Broadcasting Corporation. (2013, August 25). Egypt government relaxes night-time
curfew. British Broadcasting Corporation News Middle East. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23830892
El-Saeed, Y. (2013, September 8). Philanthropy during the curfew. Daily News Egypt. Retrieved
from http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2013/09/08/philanthropy-during-the-curfew/

Comments are closed

The Practice of Zakat in Sudan

sduncan post on January 28th, 2015
Posted in North Africa Tags: ,

By Mayuri Thiageshwaran

Zakat, a compulsory practice for Muslims, is mandated by Allah for all adult able-bodied and well-off Muslims to donate 2.5 percent of their income annually to those who face challenges in regards to living in poverty or in relatively poor communities. Zakat is included as part of one of the five pillars in Islam, and its importance is readily emphasized. This practice symbolizes gratitude by refraining individuals from using their wealth in an unjust manner or for sinful actions. As Zakat Advisor (2014) states, “the word “Zakat” means purification because it helps to purify, since one would be setting aside money to help others and also helps to keep Muslims who are wealthy from sin” (p.1). Furthermore, Muslims are taught and encouraged through the Qur’an to donate voluntarily, as it is called Sadaqah (Charity) (Ummah Welfare Trust, 2014).

In the country of Sudan, the practice of Zakat was implemented in their law in 1990 as it plays a key importance in social unity and social security (Bryon, 2013). In addition the custom of Zakat is also practiced in countries such as Malaysia, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Pakistan (Bryon, 2013). The practice of Zakat is not only to contribute to those in underprivileged communities but also to fight poverty and aid in merging social safety nets in regions that it is increasingly essential for. As Zakat Advisor (2014) states, “Sudan is considered to be one of the most impoverished countries in Africa, due to drought and decades of war that has ravaged much of the country” (p.1). Sudan is a foundered home to refugee populations, where it houses over 300,000 refugees on the border of Sudan who agonize from malnourishment, poverty, exploitation and human trafficking (Zakat Advisor, 2014).

Due to the practice and donations contributed to Zakat, Sudan has increasingly done well as a country to help those who are labeled as disabled individuals, refugees, poor students, individuals who face homelessness, orphans, mentally ill individuals, individuals who struggle with health conditions and the severely poor (Bryon, 2013). The government has also granted individuals of these groups with free health insurance (Bryon, 2013). Through the total collection of Zakat, the government of Sudan has set aside 32 million of Sudan’s Zakat to aid in natural disasters, along with donating funds to those who struggle with starvation of being unable to grow crops and agriculture due to living in desertification (Bryon, 2013). To those who earn a income of more than 1,500 per month, the 2 percent of Zakat is involuntarily withdrawn. Between 2011-2012 700 million Sudanese pounds was collected through the practice of Zakat (Bryon, 2013).

In conclusion, the practice of Zakat brings forth the unity of a country as seen in Sudan, who are helping those in need. The teaching of charity is evident as it instills the concepts of giving back to those who are in need. Islam is one of the religions where the act of charity is considered one of the highest merits as it exemplifies a person’s generosity to donate through their own benevolence and maintain the harmony within a community.

Works Cited

Bryon, A. (2013, December). Zakat ensures social cohesion. Retrieved from http://www.worldfolio.co.uk/region/africa/sudan/zakat-the-islamic-practice-sudan-n2603

Ummah Welfare Trust. (2014). What is Zakah? Retrieved from http://www.uwt.org/site/article.asp?id=172

ZakatAdvisor. (2014). What is Zakat. Retrieved from http://www.zakatadvisor.com/#!whatiszakat/cjg9

Comments are closed

Ma’at – Inspired Giving in Ancient Egypt

sduncan post on February 5th, 2013
Posted in North Africa Tags: ,

By Michelle Hounslow

If it is possible for humans to have a drive – perhaps even an instinctual one – to be generous and philanthropic, then it bears reason that there should be examples of philanthropic activities happening all over the world and all throughout history. This paper will explore the possibility of the existence of philanthropy in ancient Egyptian civilization – a civilization known for its pioneering thought, Read the rest of this entry >>

Comments are closed


sduncan post on January 29th, 2013
Posted in North Africa Tags: ,

By D.
Being an Egyptian-Canadian Muslim affects how I identify myself and my practices and has a large influence on my views of philanthropy. Studying social work practice within a Canadian context, I can easily differentiate Western philanthropy with the type of philanthropy I learned in my up bringing.

In Egypt, Muslim’s traditionally celebrate a birth by an animal sacrifice. A week after the birth of the child, parents usually buy a goat or a sheep, have a religious sacrifice, then cook it. The way in which this traditional Read the rest of this entry >>

Comments are closed