Egypt, Middle East

EGY06 - Assuit Vocational Training Centre: Partnership Reports

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Report Date: April 22, 2024

Report from BHW Egypt Partnership Facilitator Following Visit 23-24 March

providing jobsOn Saturday the 23rd of March we went into Assiut city to the Soul Salvation Society (SSS) main building. We met with the leaders, both the primary leader and the guy who oversees the sewing and education centres. This went for about 90 minutes, and we covered the use of funds in detail and the outcomes. 

Later in the day we had another 2-hour meeting with the team, revisiting the earlier conversation for points of clarification and we looked around the building, visited the sewing factory and storeroom and inspected the building renovations for a new ministry they intend to commence later in 2024. We then went back to the office, and they explained this new opportunity to us. 

On Sunday afternoon we met the leaders of SSS. We had good fellowship with them, and they presented us with a token of their appreciation. In the evening, we also attended the weekly spiritual meeting at which N spoke, very well we are told. It is a vibrant group of people and I'm guessing there were around 300 people there across all age groups.


Recent Events


On the last visit they explained that as they became involved in the sewing programme, some of the women had small children. So, they started education centres to help care for those kids. The education centres have grown and there are now three operating in various places. This is growing beyond just the women involved in the vocational sewing programme.

Light fashion and sewing 
full scale businessThe team presented us with a detailed summary of the funds they have received over the past three years and the impact is significant. The vocational training has grown into a full-scale business. They now have a stock of products they are selling and plans to make it self-sustaining. It still requires more time, and the next stage is to focus on marketing their products.

They now use the business to train the girls and they take some into the business and help others to set up their own small businesses. Two of them have left to work in other textile businesses. Their vision is to train 100 women and see as many of them as possible in employment. So far, they have trained 55 and 20 of them are part of their team in the business. They want all of them to know Jesus and use this programme as a discipleship tool. Each morning from 8:30 – 9:00 the leader shares the Scriptures with the staff. They have also taken them all and some of their families on conferences and days out. 

They have just hired a salesman to get out and market and sell their products. It was his first week in the job when we were there. Up till now they have marketed through Facebook, their churches and by word of mouth. They are thinking about opening a store, but they cannot do it in the building, they are not allowed to have a commercial enterprise in a society building. 

Light education centres 
better lifeThey now have three of these operating in different villages. The purpose is to create a better life for people and provide Christian training at the village level. They currently have 25 people full time involved in this work. 

The work is focussed on whole families, not just young children. For the families they run special courses on raising kids, Christian values, trauma, emotional healing, how to understand their children, developing character in children, identifying their gifts, and dealing with problems. They also visit each family to have a one-to-one talk and especially to meet the fathers. It is easy to visit because the barriers are broken down at the education centres and the parents know the teachers.

At the heart of this strategy are three levels of investment:
1) Training for those that lead the education centres and equipping them in how to relate to people including the children and their families. This is a high priority.
safe place2) Giving them experience: they teach the teachers about creative education principles and values. They want their centres to be very different from government schools and how they teach. They run summer programmes including soccer academies to which about 60 kids come. They have special training for adolescent girls as they are not taught well at home. These things are taught in the SSS churches but 90% of the girls in their education centres are Muslims and these issues are never discussed. They are seeking to address the mindsets of people that cause them to remain trapped in poverty.
3) They also operate special trips with the children and the fathers must attend these trips otherwise the children are not allowed to come. These are extremely valuable opportunities.

We did not get to visit the education centres as they are in rural locations, and it would be too dangerous and compromising for the local leaders. However, they are all connected by CCTV, and we were able to watch all three of them operating. The team presented us with a detailed summary of expenditure of the funds for the three years since we began with them. 


Partnership's Influence within the Community

trainingThe Soul Salvation Society is the largest Christian evangelical centre in Egypt and has a national reputation. The building in Assiut has multiple facilities and programmes operating out from it and more than 50 other centres around Egypt, mainly in Upper Egypt. 

The leader of the programme grew up in this ministry and his family is well respected. His father leads a large mission orphanage in Assiut called The Lillian Thrasher orphanage. It is the largest orphanage in Egypt and started in the early 20th Century. His younger brother leads the discipleship and training for the whole movement. He came to us while we were there to present a new opportunity to us based around discipleship and training. He has another brother who is a missionary in Kenya.

Every Sunday evening between 300 and 400 people come to their spiritual gathering. On Monday there is a meeting with about 300 young people and there are 120 discipleship groups that meet during the week.

All their programmes, including the Light sewing and Light education centres make it possible to reach people and start conversations. It takes a lot of time and interaction to see them come to faith. It is 6 years since they began this type of programme and many doors are opening, especially in this last year. The development ministries are like a bridge to Muslims, the people feel the difference and ask a lot of questions. The Christian people are keen to serve but they do require training about how to share carefully. Many people ask for prayer, share their personal issues and request Bibles. 


enjoyPlans for the Future

They want to start a fourth education centre and have a location selected.

Their senior leadership team presented us with a new project they want to commence. This is a project for the care of intellectually disabled children based in the Society building and is an offshoot of the medical clinic they operate. They are currently renovating one floor of their building for this. The new project proposal will be presented soon.


Current Issues and Challenges

new skillsOne challenge is that the sewing business has intermittent cash flow. This is because the majority of their sales are at religious holidays for both Muslims and Christians. The funds we invest go a long way towards filling in these down periods until the business goes to the next level. They hope that the hiring of a salesperson will be the difference. 

The education centres face some challenges:
1) At the three locations where they operate, they serve around 600 students. They use church buildings, but these are often inadequate and they need to expand. Currently they are looking for land in each of these locations.
2) Getting the staff to all the locations on time is a bit of a nightmare and they are looking to purchase a van to help with this.
3) They want to be able to afford more special events as these are highly effective at building relationships with families.


being empoweredPrayer and Praise Points

1) That these partners are making such a large impact in their community.
2) That the programmes we are supporting are so effective at building bridges with the communities and are drawing people to faith.
3) That the partners have a large pool of willing volunteers to serve in their many ministries.
4) That BHW would have wisdom as we discuss the new opportunity this partner presents to us.
5) For the women and families who are blessed by their involvement in Light Fashion and in Light Education Centres. 



generate incomeThese are great people doing some creative and remarkable things. It is inspiring to be with them. 

Currently 60% of the funds from BHW are going to the Light sewing project and 40% to the Light education centres. They are just getting a new accounting programme operating to make accounting more efficient. Currently they cannot operate a bank account for this as it will be seen as a commercial operation, so N has to send the funds to the leader and then it is put into the project. A team determines where it is then allocated. 

In the past the funds have been used mainly for the set up and establishment of the sewing factory, currently and into the near future it will be more subsidizing the wages. There is one more amount to be sent in July 2024 and that is the end of the current commitment, but I suggest we commit to another 2 years at the current rate and then reassess.