HANDS was founded in 1989, by Rev. Dr. Samuel Habib and some American friends. Originally, the primary purpose was to support development work in Egypt. Our roots are in the Presbyterian communities of Egypt and the US, which maintain a long history of partnership in raising the quality of life for Egyptians of all ages, genders and religions.
One of HANDS’ first partnerships in Egypt was with the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS). This organization, which started as organized literacy classes, now reaches over two million people in 150 communities each year through its comprehensive village development programs and interfaith dialogue efforts. HANDS has since begun partnerships with almost 30 other organizations in Egypt, from clinics to an orphanage to a job skill training center for women. Our American partners have also expanded to include those of different faith traditions.
In 2001, HANDS moved its headquarters from the original base in Akron, OH to Washington, DC. It has also expanded its programs to include an emphasis on intercultural dialogue and exchange. Regularly-scheduled “Insight Trips” to Egypt, the Egyptian-American Dialogue and sales of handicrafts made by women at a HANDS-supported program in Egypt are some of the newest programs.