Sevcik's Blog

A year in Cairo Egypt

Thursday, December 15, 2005


CHILDREN. This is the subject. NEED. This is the desire. CLOTHES. This is the object. The idea? CHILDREN NEED CLOTHES.

One of my projects for the past 3 weeks has been to gather and organize clothing for the students. After sending some fliers to a few communities and making an announcement in church (and a special thanks to the Oles who graciously left a lot of their clothes with us), we received a few suitcases and large garbage bags full of clothes.

My office has turned into a thrift store. I started out by dividing the clothing into piles based on size and gender. I then folded them nicely and tried to make some type of logical set-up between Dick’s and my office. At a teacher’s meeting a couple weeks ago I told the teachers to start sending their most needy students upstairs during the breaks to get clothes. That didn’t work so well at first. The teachers felt uncomfortable choosing certain student to come up—they worried about embarrassing the students or leaving some kids out. So, I tried a different approach. I told them to take note of which students are still coming to school in flip-flop, skirts, and t-shirts, and I will personally come find them and ask them to come up with me. I only had to do that a couple times before the concept caught on. The kids would go back to class, and then another student would want to come up for clothes. It’s now at a point where each teacher has assigned two or three kids a day to come up to the office and pick out clothing and there is a line-up outside my door. The children have been unleashed!

Unfortunately, now that the ball is rolling, we are out of clothes again, and many students still need clothing. Also, the teachers need clothes for their family members, so we are trying to help them as well. It’s hard to turn the kids away, but I keep telling them we should get more soon (insha-allah). On the positive side, I’ve defiantly noticed the clothes being used. Yesterday at assembly I saw one kid wearing a Minnesota Vikings t-shirt under his thin jacket and for a split second I thought, “So cool! What a small world?! Where did he get that…oh, yeah, duh.” Although it’s odd to see an eight year old wearing a shirt I saw a college student (Ole) wearing a month ago or a teenage girl wearing a “Lizzie McGuire” t-shirt, it’s good to know this place is making a difference in every way for these children; not just their mental and social health, but their physical health as well. That boy who was wearing a thin hot-pink Mickey and Minnie Mouse jacket with pants that looked more like capris two weeks ago now has full-length jeans and a warmer green poofy jacket.

FYI—If you are one who tends to donate to shelters, let this be known—most places always need more socks, shoes, undergarments, and feminine products. Better yet, the next time you are donating your old clothes, take a detour to Target to pick up some brand new black shoes, warm socks, and Superman underwear to add to the mix. It’s amazing what those three things can do for someone.


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