Assiut, Egypt – In a notable ceremony titled "Ishraq Girls – Steps on the Way" held in Assiut Governorate, ExxonMobil Egypt was keen on taking part in honoring a number of girls participating in Ishraq Plus project. The ceremony was attended by Brigadier General Bahaa Eddin Mohamed Khalil, Director of General Authority for Literacy and Adult Education Assiut branch, on behalf of Assiut Governor Major General Ibrahim Hammad and Mr. Mohamed Fouad, Undersecretary of Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs. The ceremony was also attended by partners of Ishraq Plus project from ExxonMobil Egypt, Eng. Mohamed Abdel Latif, Director of Save the Children – Assiut Office, Dr. Hebatallah Gamal Rashed, Chairperson of Giving Without Limits Association, as well as a number of directors of youth centers, which housed classes for the girls.
Ms. Nihad Shelbaya, ExxonMobil Egypt Public and Governmental Affairs Manager, pointed out to the company's strong interest to support this development project, which aims at creating better life opportunities for out-of-school girls in association with Save the Children and its partner in governorates Giving Without Limits Association. "The project's organizers have envisaged making a positive impact on the girls' lives through creating a safe environment and various programs for them, providing them with literacy education and skills to help them in their lives," Ms. Shelbaya said.
Ms. Nihad Shelbaya stated: "The participation of ExxonMobil in such a remarkable ceremony is stems from our belief in community investments focused development initiatives and ExxonMobil’s persistent effort to take part in effective initiatives for development and progress. We are a company that sets social corporate responsibility as a top priority and considers it as a valued duty. ExxonMobil directs community activities towards initiatives focused education, women economic opportunities and development, and Ishraq Plus project is a good example for the philosophy and vision of ExxonMobil Egypt."
One of the girls taking part in Ishraq Plus project said she was pleased to join the program, which contributed to changing her life after she abandoned school due to social discrimination. A team from Ishraq persuaded her to return to education in the wake of unconventional methods applied in the program as well as diversified syllabuses.
The girl said she has ambitions to continue her education and join preparatory school in 2014/15 after graduation from literacy education, dreaming to join the faculty of medicine in a bid to help the poor people in her hometown.
Worth mentioning that 150 girls of Ishraq Plus project took part in the ceremony, in addition to 20 other girls, who have joined the first stage of the program and now continuing preparatory school after completing Ishraq program.
Ms. Basant Montasser, manager of the Education Programs at Save the Children Authority, said the authority believes in the importance of collaborations as they are in the interest of children, especially girls.
“We are proud of our fruitful and continuous relationship with ExxonMobil, government partners and NGOs through implementing the Ishraq Plus Program that provided educational and life opportunities to thousands of girls who dropped out of school in order to become more effective among their societies and families,” Ms. Montasser added.
The Ishraq Plus project, which was launched in 2011, has attracted 500 out-of-school girls in Assiut and Beni Suef governorates. Earlier, the project's outlined target was to provide 400 out-of-school girls with a comprehensive 3-year program of literacy, life skills, sports and entrepreneurial training. The program was a great success in its first stage, Ishraq, through supporting education and improving life opportunities for around 1,000 out-of-school girls in Upper Egypt.
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