Employees in Egypt Reflect Ramadan’s Spirit of Compassion and Giving
Central to the spirit of Ramadan is charity, community and taking steps to positively impact the lives of others. Although GE Volunteers in Egypt participate in various community support and development activities throughout the year, there is always a special focus during the holy month.
This year, the community work undertaken by GE Volunteers addressed two issues — the elderly and hunger — while the success of a third project in the field of housing that was initiated last Ramadan was celebrated. These projects show that sometimes the impact that corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities have on local communities is immediate, while other times, it is months in the making.
Just before the start of Ramadan in June, a group of 12 GE Volunteers and GE Leaders of Tomorrow chapter members visited a home for the elderly in Cairo. The day began with a shared breakfast, where the residents of the home spoke about their careers, their accomplishments, their most cherished moments, and the lessons they’d learned about life.
Reflecting on the visit, Lobne Sobie, the GE Volunteers Chapter Leader in Egypt, said, “The main lesson we learned was to live life to the fullest and to challenge ourselves every day to accomplish the most at work and in life.”
After a full breakfast of sharing stories and lessons, the GE employees had an opportunity to tour the facility and meet the other residents of the home that weren’t able to join in the breakfast.
Just over a week later, and shortly after the start of Ramadan, another group of GE Volunteers helped the Nebny Foundation to pack Ramadan food bags for families living in the Manshiet Nasser section of Cairo whose economic situation does not allow them to buy the food supplies needed for the holy month. The bags contained basic food items such as rice, beans, oil, sugar, tea, macaroni and dates. Not only did GE donate 150 boxes of food, but a group of 10 GE Volunteers worked alongside others from the American University in Cairo and residents of Manshiet Nasser to pack a huge number of Ramadan food bags donated by other companies and organizations.
These GE Volunteers knew that in a few hours or days, the food they were helping to pack would allow a family in Manshiet Nasser to break the Ramadan fast with a good solid meal.
The day after the food packing activity, GE held its annual Ramadan Iftar, and during the event, employees saw the heart-warming results of a much longer-term CSR activity. They learned how the EGP 65,000 that they had collected over several months was used to renovate the homes of six families in Luxor, Upper Egypt.
The project began when the GE Volunteers Chapter in Egypt was approached during Ramadan last year by a non-governmental organization that was running a project to renovate homes in Luxor that were no longer suitable for living because of serious structural problems such as faulty ceilings and doors.
Islam Fathy, one of the GE Volunteers Chapter leaders, immediately took up the cause and led a donation drive across the company. As a result, six families in Luxor have been able to observe this year’s Ramadan in their well-renovated homes.
The community activities led by GE Volunteers this Ramadan serve to reinforce the spirit of compassion and giving during the holy month, as well as the many ways people can help others, whether immediately or more longer term. This multifaceted approach to community development is central to GE as a company that not only does CSR and sustainability, but builds it into the very ethos and purpose of the company.