Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi attended on Sunday the Charity Doors (Abwab Al-Kheir) celebration at the New Administrative Capital, which targets raising the living standards of about 5 million citizens.
The Abwab Al-Kheir is being carried out in coordination between the governmental and non-governmental sectors and civil society organisations, according to presidential spokesman Bassam Rady.
The ceremony comes as part of the state's efforts to provide social protection to marginalized categories and improving the living conditions of citizens.
During the celebration, El-Sisi inspected a large humanitarian convoy that includes relief worth EGP 650 million (around $41.4 million) targeting one million families nationwide.
A still photo of the largest humanitarian convoy for supporting one million Egyptian families nationwide
The convoy is organised by the Tahya Misr Fund in cooperation with the Social Solidarity Ministry and coincides with the International Day of Charity, which falls on September 5, Rady said.
The International Day of Charity was officially recognised by the UN General Assembly in 2012 with the aim of commemorating the anniversary of the passing away of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.
The date was established with the objective of sensitising and mobilising people, NGOs, and stakeholders all around the world to help others through voluntary and philanthropic activities.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, a number of ministers and top state officials attended Saturday’s ceremony.
“We are here to celebrate the International Day of Charity which the United Nations decided to be an annual day to remind us of the vital role of charitable work to support our people across Egypt without restriction, condition or discrimination of any kind,” Madbouly said during his speech at the ceremony.
Throughout its history Egypt has witnessed tireless national charitable initiatives, Madbouly said while stressing that “charity work is the true face of humanity” as it contributes to the eradication of poverty, a main challenge threatening the security and safety of humanity. El-Sisi urged stepping up efforts to help needy families through distributing more aid with the aim of making these families' lives more stable.
People's conditions cannot be changed without a joint community effort, whether from government sectors or civil society, the president said.
El-Sisi also witnessed on the sidelines of the ceremony a number of social protection initiatives, in which Tahya Misr Fund is involved, within the framework of the Abwab Al-Kheir celebration.
The Long Live Egypt Fund and NGOs did work together to alleviate burdens on indebted persons and homeless children, the president said, but he still urged further action in this regard.
“We sought to collect some EGP 100 billion [around $6.4 billion] through the Long Live Egypt Fund, but we’re not there yet,” El-Sisi said, urging Madbouly to act to collect more money for the fund, whether through donations or other resources, stressing this would help accomplish more charitable activities, which also include establishing small and micro-sized enterprises.
“The more we are financially capable, the more work is achieved," the president noted.
Tahya Misr Fund, which was launched by El-Sisi's initiative in 2014, has provided an honourable life for many of the most-needy Egyptians during the past years, a documentary film screened during the ceremony said.
According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS), 29.7 percent of the population, or 30 million citizens, were living below the poverty line in 2019-20. Egypt’s unemployment rate was 7.2 percent during the fourth quarter of 2020, CAPMAS said.
The state had been ramping up its efforts since 2020 to improve the standards of living, infrastructure, and services when El-Sisi decided in December to launch the first phase of the countryside-focused Decent Life initiative.
The Decent Life initiative targets 58 percent of Egypt’s 102 million-person population who live in 4,658 villages across the country, with an estimated budget of EGP 700 billion (around $44.6 billion). The project's stakeholders include state agencies and ministries, NGOs, and the private sector.
Provision of medical supplies
The president also ordered the provision of coronavirus related medical supplies to the convoy, particularly as Egypt is on the verge on a fourth wave of the pandemic.
"Please, adhere more to [coronavirus] precautionary measures. And I say to Egyptians, respond to the vaccination campaign," he stressed.
The government has been ramping up efforts to widen the vaccination coverage in order to achieve its planned target of around 40 million citizens by the end of 2021.
As of 27 August, up to 8.7 million vaccine doses have been administered in Egypt with 3 million individuals fully vaccinated, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The coming academic year will start in October, with all teaching staff and university students vaccinated, El-Sisi noted, adding that if possible, the campaign will also target high-school pupils.
"We seek to achieve high vaccination rates in a short period of time to reach herd community," the president stated.
Egypt’s daily infections have been on an upward curve since early-August with numbers expected to rise throughout September, according to the country's health officials.
Last week, the Presidential Advisor for Health Affairs Mohamed Awad Tag El-Din stated that “the fourth wave has started in Egypt” given the continuous daily increase in the number of detected cases.