First Lady Melania Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo honored Egyptian Magda Gobran, publicly known as Mama Maggie, among ten women at the International Women of Courage Awards ceremony in Washington, DC on March 7.
“Mama Maggie of Egypt is being honored for her commitment to serve lives of the poor in her community, realizing value of those seeking vocational training in order to contribute to society and providing economic salvation for impoverished children in her country,” the US Department of State mentioned in a statement.
The ceremony was held to celebrate ten women from various countries who have shown exceptional courage and strength while driving noticeable change in their societies in the realms of social justice, human rights, peace, women’s empowerment, and gender equality, according to a statement.
The honored women originate from Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Ireland, Jordan, Montenegro, Myanmar, Peru, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.
The department declared that it has granted the award to more than 120 women from 65 countries. It also avowed that American organizations would be collaborating with the awardees on projects that plan to empower women in the US and abroad.
Mama Maggie, known as the “Egyptian Mother Theresa,” is Coptic a Orthodox Christian servant who sacrificed her career as a professor at the American University in Cairo for a life of devotion working as a Coptic servant to improve the lives underprivileged Egyptians, especially those of women and children. She is known for her dedication to empowering illiterate and poor women and promoting social inclusion.
Known as the founder of the charitable organization “Stephen’s Children,” Mama Maggie began her journey visiting the garbage slums Hay El Zabaleen in Moqattam during Easter to distribute food and clothes among the families there. Raised by a middle-class family, Gobran was shocked by the misery she witnessed.
She decided to establish the non-governmental Stephen’s Children with a clear vision: “To help save lives, bring hope, and restore dignity to underprivileged children and young people,” according to the organization’s official website.
The organization’s efforts are mainly concentrated within Egyptian slums with the aim of building strong relationships and trusting bonds with the people who live there. The working teams are qualified to morally, educationally and spiritually train impoverished children.
One of the organization’s main purposes is to train minds by providing young people with early, elementary, and secondary education along with necessary vocational skills.
Stephen’s Children has a branch in nearly every Egyptian governorate. At each branch, well-trained volunteers facilitate the delivery of blankets, meals, medical treatments and more necessities. Well-reputed support and counselling is offered to disadvantaged people across all of Egypt’s governorates.
The organization has successfully launched nearly 100 community education centers where basic education and literacy classes are available for all ages.
In the more than 100 community education centers founded by Stephen’s Children, children receive free basic education and adults attend literacy classes. These resources aim to provide them the tools they need to earn a living wage and lift themselves out of poverty.
Gobran is the only Egyptian to be bestowed the Arab Hope Makers award granted by Emirates Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. She was previously nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.