Egyptian Minister of Emigration and Egyptian Expatriates Affairs Nabila Makram, right, and Phoebe Wasfi, Principal of Philopateer School in Canada, during the virtual meeting on Tuesday (photo courtesy of Emigration ministry)
In a Zoom meeting with a group of students and Phoebe Wasfi, Principal of Philopateer School in Canada, the first Egyptian-run school in Ontario, Minister of Emigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram expressed appreciation for the students’ support for the Decent Life initiative.
The Decent Life national project (Hayah Karima in Arabic) was launched experimentally in 2019 by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and its first phase was officially launched in July 2021. The project aims to improve standards of living, infrastructure, and basic services including healthcare across the Egyptian countryside.
The project covers 4,658 villages across the country, which are home to 58 percent of Egypt’s 102-million population, with an estimated budget of EGP 700 billion (about $44.6 billion).
Makram said the initiative taken by the students at the Philopateer School was “incredible” and reflected the sense of belonging these students have for their homeland despite being brought up abroad.
Wasfi, who was behind the fundraising campaign, said that the students participated in the campaign despite the difficult conditions brought about by COVID-19, and they were keen on participating especially after learning that the initiative aims to raise the standard of living for millions of Egyptians.
Wasfi explained that the Egyptian students had initially set a goal of collecting $60,000 within three weeks, and meeting this goal raised their enthusiasm, so they decided to increase the target to $80,000 so as to be the equivalent to EGP 1 million.
"I can honestly convey to you the strong feelings and deep love that these students have for their homeland Egypt, despite their young age and their distance from their country, but this did not affect Egypt's place in the hearts of its children," the ministry quoted Wasfi as saying.
The students who participated in the virtual meeting said that they had not been aware of the Decent Life initiative, but that when they learned about it, they were overwhelmed with a sense of pride in the efforts by the state to improve the lives of Egyptians.
Shana Masoud, Director of External Relations at the Decent Life Foundation, said that these students were 'the best ambassadors for the initiative', calling on them to continue to play this role by introducing the Canadian community to the national project.