Azza Mahmoud (MA International Studies) recently completed an internship with the Janat al-Kholoud Charitable organization based out of Cairo, Egypt. The Voice of Wilkinson sat down with Mahmoud to discuss her internship experience.

Voice of Wilkinson: Tell us about the Janat al-Kholoud. How did you first hear about this organization? What drew you to the organization as one you wanted to intern with?

Azza Mahmoud: Janat al-Kholoud is a well-known Charitable organization in the Ministry of Social Solidarity Cairo. I heard about the organization from local news in my home district where the headquarter office is located. The organization began with the idea of a group of women who believe in the importance of charitable work in poor areas, especially slums, and chose the Doweiqa area. The organization’s work has evolved from providing humanitarian assistance to a real entity that includes a number of comprehensive development programs targeting the entire family.

“I was motivated by their mission and goals, focusing mainly on participating in building a positive human being starting from childhood, in order to build a society capable of achieving sustainable development, rehabilitation of the slums community, and to economically empower families… ”

VoW: Tell us about the summer educational activity camp. What was your day-to-day like?

AM: The summer educational activity camp is primarily an educational project free of charge providing support for children in the slum area of Doweiqa who are enrolled in basic education in an educational framework, targeting the age group between the ages of 6 and 13. The camp serves about 150 children annually.

Recently, the purpose has been targeted to help prepare the return of students in Doweiqa to schools after the pandemic lock-down. These students lacked access to any sort of online or tutoring assistance during the lock-down. The camp provided educational and behavioral guidance and awareness to students, as well as an educational opportunity for dropouts to be reintroduced to schooling.

The camp’s planned daily schedule starts at 8 a.m., six days a week, covering all curricular subjects (Arabic, Math, English, Social and Islamic Studies) with different extracurricular activities in between–the camp also provides two daily meals and recreational activities such as arts and crafts, sports, and field trips.

VoW: What were some key takeaways from your internship experience?

AM: On the personal level, I am really touched by the curiosity, eagerness, and willingness of the children to discover and learn from someone who is outside their circle or from another planet! The same goes to the teachers and staff working there who are from the same area.

“On the professional level, I felt deeply the crucial role of creating a culture of respect for humanity especially in an unprivileged environment, the importance of promoting the role of education, science, and work in the lives of individuals which definitely define the future, transform societies, and change nations.”

VoW: What is something you will never forget from the experience?

AM: The culture of social solidarity among the unprivileged individuals and communities of the country, supporting and helping each other, creating the best out of the little they may possess or develop, and readiness to take every opportunity to improve their conditions.

VoW: For our incoming students to the International Studies program, what did you wish you had known starting your MA? What did you appreciate about the program? Is there a takeaway that still serves you in your day-to- day endeavors?

Coming from an Engineering background – Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering – I wish I had more knowledge in social and political sciences particularly in history and global politics. I do really appreciate everything I learned in this program and the importance of all the diverse subjects covered. It was all new to me, these subjects definitely raised my educational level and analytical skills, complemented my knowledge in this discipline that I believe is needed for everyone in their daily life.