On October 1st, friends of HANDS in New York City gathered at the Harvard Club for a benefit dinner to celebrate HANDS’ work in Egypt. Co-chaired by Nimet and Suzan Habachy, the event raised valuable funds to further HANDS’ efforts at raising the quality of life for underserved communities in Egypt.
Board member Alex Shalaby (left) with honoree Yousriya Loza Sawiris (middle)  and musician Kamal Boutros (right)
The evening, orchestrated by HANDS’ Board Vice Chair Mrs. Suzy Wahba, included a musical performance by Egyptian-American musician Kamal Boutros, which incorporated a song he composed in honor of those working to bring hope to the people of Egypt. HANDS Board Chair Dr. Graeme Bannerman also updated the guests on the current relationship between Egypt and the U.S. In addition, guests participated in a silent auction featuring donated tapestries made by Egyptian weavers in the village of Garagous.
Board members Graeme Bannerman  (right) and Suzy Wahba (middle) present Yousriya Sawiris (left) with her award.
The highlight of the evening was a presentation of HANDS’ 2015 Service Award to Mrs. Yousriya Loza Sawiris for the transformation that she has brought to needy communities in Egypt. Mrs. Sawiris is an award winning philanthropist, business woman and founding member of several organizations that provide opportunities for Egyptians in need.
One such organization is The Association for the Protection of the Environment (APE), one of HANDS’ partner organizations in Cairo’s garbage collecting community. Through this program, local women learn a marketable trade (weaving, quilting or paper crafts) using innovative recycling and waste management techniques. They are fairly paid for their work, enabling them to participate in supporting their families. The women also further their education, receive free healthcare, and have educational options available for their children while they work and study.
Co-Chair Nimet Habachy interviewing Yousriya Loza Sawiris
The funds raised from HANDS’ gala will enable the organization to expand its work in the coming year, particularly in providing job-skills training, entrepreneurship coaching and employment placement for unemployed youth in Egypt.  We are so thankful for all who joined us in this evening of celebration.