Aegypten: Nada Thabet

Never rest as long as there are people in society facing hardship and despair!

— Nada Thabet

Nadat Thabet is married and has two sons (24 and 26), one of whom has severe learning difficulties. She works in advocacy for the rights of people with learning difficulties through a network of 22 societies and NGOs working in the field. She has called for health insurance, a pension from birth and the issuing of identity cards. Her work raises awareness of societal prejudices and legal inequities in order to improve conditions for people with learning difficulties in Egypt.

"On March 2nd 1980 God gave me my son Maged. After about three months I began to question this gift. I felt he was different, his senses did not seem to function." Thus began Nada Alfy Thabet's painful journey for medical treatment inside Egypt and abroad. Maged was not improving in the slightest, with no hope that he could be a normal child. He suffered from atrophy of the brain cells, particularly those governing vision. Why was Maged not born like other normal kids? Questions tumbled through Nada's mind, followed by silence, anger, bitterness and resentment. "I continued like this until Maged was two-and-a-half years old, by which time I had completely lost all hope," says Nada. She adds, "The strange thing is that this depression led me closer to God, and I felt I needed Him more than ever. I prayed constantly." She recalls, "As I was asking for God’s support and His Mercy, my tears brimming over, I saw that Maged was moving, and his eyes were actually seeing the things around him for the first time. I could not believe it." Maged started learning new skills – some were even difficult for 'normal' people. Everything went well until he was 16, when he started facing different kinds of problems, such as an identity card and military service. Although Maged's problem has improved greatly, still Nada was thinking about other people like him. "I set up a place and called it the 'Village of Hope'. It was established in December 2000, and by October 2001 it was nurturing six children with special needs," says Nada. The Village has a center for technical training, a bakery, carpentry, and agriculture to make it financially independent. From the experience of the Village of Hope sprang the idea of establishing a network of 22 societies working in the same field, to defend the rights of people with learning difficulties.

Village of Hope (VoH) Presbyterian Evangelical Church (PEC)