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).
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