Over many years, whilst El Alsson has been involved with community work in orphanages, with ‘Operation Smile’ (an international charity which provides medical care for patients with cleft lip or cleft palate),ACE (Animal Care in Egypt,which is a primarily a clinic in Luxor that treats animals and raises awareness about animal abuse), the students have not got involved with the‘local’ community, around the immediate perimeter of the school.
Since the end of last year, a group of El Alsson students, led by Ms Julie Clarke, have been feeding the dogs outside the school gate, as part of a Worldwide Society for the Protection of Animals project studying the control of stray animals. Healthier dogs keep other strays away, as they develop an identity with the local area and want to protect it. We also have a veterinarian who is helping out by vaccinating these dogs around our school against rabies and other diseases and neutering them to prevent them over-breeding.
Our visits resulted in many different things, not just keeping the dogs fed. Our interaction with the local villagers has shown them that the animals that live amongst them are absolutely harmless, loving, and just need a bit of care and attention from the people around them. This created a friendlier atmosphere around the school because both the locals and animals have created a bond as a result of them realising that they are no harm to each other.
So the question that instantly pops up is: “Why help the animals first, before the people?”. Helping these animals has actually been the beginning of a chain of events, opening up so many other paths and ways of helping people from the different communities beside the school.
Our visits have been a starting point for us and other Alssonians to become aware of how the less fortunate are living, and so be more responsible, considerate, giving, and thankful. When we were out with the dogs, and standing with the local villagers, one of our students (Zein Selim) noticed that a young girl from the area had stapled, instead of sewn, seams on her dress. The word spread quickly around the school, and to help, we brought in clothes and other resources and gave them out as a way to improve the living conditions of these local villagers around our school. Now, some of our Sixth Form students are even giving English lessons every week to the village children.
Not only have we got to know the locals, they’ve got to know us as people. We are from different social classes and have had preconceived ideas about each other. Now we all know that we are just ordinary people who want the same things-friendship, love, laughter and respect.
We take pride in the charity work that we are achieving, because it has opened our eyes to things we have never thought of before and made us realise that we are all the same, no matter which community or class we are from.
Farida El Sherbiny (Y10B), FatmaHalawa (Y10D) and Zeina Adawy (Y10B).