Middle East

Noted New York blog helps two Egyptian children pay school fees

Humans of New York came to the streets of Egypt, spreading people stories globally

Dubai: The latest posts from the popular Humans of New York blog were from the streets of Cairo. Blogger Brandon Stanton was visiting Egypt this month and started doing interviews with Egyptians on the streets of Cairo and Alexandria.

One of his posts was an interview with a little girl, Hanan. She, along with her older brother, was working on a street in Cairo, helping people park vehicles. They were trying to raise money for their school fees.

“This is my brother. Were helping people into their parking spots. School starts in a few days and were trying to raise money for our school fees. Also, I want to get a bicycle because all my friends have bicycles. They show off their bicycles to tease me because I dont have one. But wait until I get my bicycle. Theyll be so upset,” Hanan was quoted in the blog as saying.

“Weve been saving money for three months. But sometimes we buy Pepsi. And also peanuts. And yesterday a street vendor came by with jewellery, and my brother bought me this necklace. And he also bought me a watch, but it broke. And a ring, but I lost it. He really loves me so much,” Hanan was quoted in Humans of New York.

Hanan and her brother Essam received huge support on social media, with more than 2000 comments and 6500 shares.

People from all over the world were trying to reach out to them with help.

One commented, “Where did you take this photo in Cairo? I want to find her and get her a bicycle??!”

The children like to drink Pepsi, and it caught the attention of Pepsi Arabia. The company offered to help them with their schooling fees.

Brandon replied to the comments, announcing Pepsis offer of help. “I know that many of you were concerned about the kids helping with parking. You might remember they mentioned drinking Pepsi. Well Pepsi was so excited about the shout out; they somehow located the kids and paid their school fees! So a happy ending there, and very cool of Pepsi,” Brandon wrote.

Pepsi Arabia posted on their Facebook page: “Thank you Humans of New York for shedding light on these siblings story. We managed to get in touch with them yesterday and were excited to get them ready for school this year.”

Stories of real Egyptians

Started in November 2010 by photographer Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York has amassed a huge following through social media from all over the world.

One can see that Brandon has done a great job portraying the lives of Egyptians from the streets directly to the screens of his 18 million followers from around the world.

One of his post is about a mum in Alexandria who dresses her two girls identically. In the comments, mothers started posting pictures of how they dress their children alike, from all over the world.

On another post, more than 1,800 follower showed respect and admiration to a man who refused to abort his special needs son and showed absolute devotion to him by spending all his time helping his son, Ibrahim with limited resources. “I love him a little more than his brothers, because he needs it a little more,” the father says in post.

When he expressed his fears for his son, he got flooded with comments of reassurance from parents struggling the same struggle in different cities of the world.

Ibrahims father said; “Im getting old. I had a major heart episode two weeks ago. I collapsed in the street and all I could think about was him….. Im afraid other people wont be as nice to him….. Hes very difficult to control. But I have patience. Ill do whatever he needs. I just hope he'll always have someone to do the same.”

One man assured the father that Ibrahims four brothers will take on the responsibility. “I understand as a brother and someone who will have that responsibility one day,” he said.

Another mother from the US with same situation related to the Egyptian father story. “I have three sons and my middle child has autism. One day my older son who is only 6 says to me momma, please dont worry about Rey bear when you get really old and die Ill make sure to take care of him, just make sure youre old okay?” another woman shared. The moment “made me realize maybe Im doing something right after all.”

Strong and confident women

Most of the interviews posted are of Egyptian women. In an article wrote recently Brandon explained that he was bias in Egypt. He found Egyptian women strong and confident. “The stories from Egypt therefore have a bias toward strong and confident women—and I dont mind that at all,” he writes.

One of the posts is about a woman whose husband passed away. She had to take the lead and run the family business.

“I was married when I was seventeen. My whole life was my family. I barely left the house because my husband brought me everything I needed. I was far too innocent. I had no idea about anything, but the world has a way of teaching you. Fifteen years ago my husband died and I had to take the lead of the family. He owned an upholstery shop. The workers tried to convince me to let them handle the business, but they were hiding the profits from me. I had to take over. There was no other choice. My kids were still in school and that money belonged to them. So I began going to the shop every day. At first the workers tried to box me out. They knew I didnt understand the business so they wouldnt explain anything. They hid the numbers from me. And when a client entered the store, they wouldnt even introduce me as the owner. But I sat there and watched every move they made. I memorized everything. And after forty days, there were some new rules at the shop. The workers were not allowed to speak to the client directly.”

Another interview was with a women who told how guilt was eating her up, and how she was not doing well, thinking she killed her sister after wishing her death. The women was struggling to go on with life.

“My mom has nobody to care for her but me. The last stroke affected her brain so badly. Shes like the living dead. All she can do now is breathe. Last month I found a small wound on her toe. I thought it was something small. It looked so small. So I just put a bandage on it. But it was the beginning of gangrene. I should have known. It spread and the doctors had to amputate her leg. Its all my fault, but I was under so much pressure. Im a single mom. I work as a housekeeper. What do I focus on? What do I pay for? My kids education? Food? My moms care? Its just too much. Its all on me. I called my sister last week and screamed at her. I screamed at her for never calling. I screamed at her for not helping. I told her that I wished she would die. And my wish came true. Four days ago she passed away. When I saw her at the morgue, she had no hair, no eyebrows, nothing. She had been hiding cancer from us. I feel so guilty. My wish came true. But I didnt know because she never called! I havent eaten since yesterday. Only a cup of milk. I cant keep doing this. Its too much pressure. Im not doing well. Im not OK,” the post records her misery.

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