The world is undergoing dramatic changes in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, and Egypt is no exception to this. The country is also suffering the repercussions of the pandemic, either on the economic, political level, or even in its social activities.
Millions of Egyptians are anxious now with the spread of the virus, especially as they have to stay at home as part of the precautionary measures to contain the spread of the virus. These measures include the suspension of schools and universities, lockdown for all entertainment facilities, as well as places of worship. On 24 March, Egypt announced a night-time curfew from 19:00 to 06:00.
Sporting clubs are not exempted from these measures, and as part of its social responsibility, Al Ahly, headed by Mahmoud El Khatib, has also taken precautions and preventive measures. These measures have been taken to ensure the safety of Al Ahly family, and include a lockdown of the club’s three branches.
Opportunities within challenges
Seeing opportunity in every challenge, Al Ahly’s Women’s Committee has initiated a campaign that aims to make the club’s members shed the negative vibes the coronavirus has spread. Instead, the committee is encouraging members to invest in positive and meaningful activities, under the slogan “Let`s try to make the best of this crisis”. This slogan extended under the umbrella of all the club’s committees.
Speaking to Daily News Egypt, Soha Ibrahim, a member of the Supreme Committee and spokesperson of Al Ahly’s club committees, outlined this initiative and how it will be implemented in every committee.
Since day one of the coronavirus outbreak and its emergence in Egypt, the club`s supreme committee held meetings to discuss the expected scenario if the situation got worse, Ibrahim said. She added that, on the day the club announced its lock down decision, all committee members were in a meeting to brainstorm innovative ideas to communicate with the members during that difficult period. The Al Ahly family has over 167,000 member families across its different branches, according to Ibrahim.
“The Child’s Committee chaired by Nidaa Daoud, also launched a nice competition for Al Ahly`s children, encouraging them to discover their different talents in drawing and send them to the committee online, with the aim of exploiting the children`s time at home,” Ibrahim said.
Ibrahim noted that the club’s cultural committee, headed by Khaled Jalal, is organising a competition for the club’s members to make use of their spare time through writing short stories, classical poetry or colloquial poetry. Participants in this competition would send their writing to the committee via social media platforms.
“I have to praise also the efforts taken by the Youth Committee, chaired by Ahmed Hossam, who interacted perfectly with the youth online, sharing with them the different activities that they can do while sitting at home, including training courses, [learning] skills and [taking] language courses,” she said.
Soha Ibrahim explained that the supreme committee will continue to interact with members via the club’s various platforms, hoping to see an end to this crisis soon.
“After this crisis ends, the club will prepare for a huge ceremony under the auspices of Al-Khatib, to celebrate Egypt surviving this difficult period, and to announce the winners of every competition,” she said. “I would like to mention that all the different committees in the club have a desire to give to the name and entity of the Al Ahly club, and because certainly the Al Ahly club is a great honour but also a greater responsibility.”
Al Ahly dominates the sports competitions in Egypt, Africa, and the Arab world, achieving great records in many games, she added.
Challenging negative vibes
The women`s committee, headed by Anhar Kandil, launched an initiative calling upon the club’s members to select clothing they no longer need. These items are to be kept aside until the donations can be taken and delivered to the executive management for donation to the needy.
As the initiative`s spark came out from the club`s Women Committee, thus Daily News Egypt talked to Kandil to know more about the initiative and how the community can benefit of such initiatives.
“The idea of “Let`s try to make the best of this crisis” originated out of our desire to invest time and to take advantage of the availability of all family members at home, in making useful activities not only for them but also for the entire society. Also it is originated due to our desire to challenge the negative vibes that spread due to COVID-19,” Kandil told Daily News Egypt.
She explained that the initiative was launched in conjunction with the changing of seasons with most of families rearranging their wardrobes to suit the change in weather.
“During the process of rearranging their wardrobes, women may find that she or her family members have clothes in good, usable condition, but they are in excess of their needs and they did not find an opportunity to use them so they can donate them to others,” Kandil said.
Kandil added that the Al Ahly is an integrated administrative system, and her role as chairperson of the Women’s Committee is to implement the initiative and reach out to the largest number of people. They aim to collect the largest possible quantity of clothes, which is translated into helping and making the largest number of people happy. After that comes the executive management`s role, which is to decide who deserves to take these donations either from inside or outside the club.
According to Kandil, there has been an extremely positive response, with many club members already having collected a substantial amount of clothing. Kandil clarified that this initiative “originates from the Al Ahly’s club committees and in implementation of the policy of the Supreme Committee headed by Waleed Mabrouk, and has no links with NGOs or charity groups.”
Although, the initiative was launched for club members, but, Kandil noted that is also open to non-members as well but through members of the club in a condition to have clothes that are in a good, and appropriate manner.
“Having said that I want to thank all my team, and should say that they put a lot of effort until we reached the final stage of the initiative,” Kandil noted. She explained that her committee is formed of 10 female members, with a chairperson and a rapporteur for the committee, in addition to eight members in the committee.
Waleed Mabrouk, Head of the Supreme Committee, obtained Board of Directors approval to increase the committee members to 15, instead of 10. The increase is in line with the club’s policy of broadening the base of member participation, but this will happen after the club is reopened following the end of the coronavirus crisis.
Plans and hopes
Concerning the committee’s plans in the coming period, Kandil said that the short term plan is to deal with the crisis. She encouraged members to maintain their high spirits, and make best use of their time in useful activities within the limits of the current crisis.
Furthermore, Kandil also has a long-term ambitious plan to activate and stimulate her committee’s positive role in women-related activities.
“The ultimate objective of the Supreme Committee`s policy, is to increase the extent of the communication with the members, and evaluate the extent of success in achieving this goal,” Kandil said, adding. “I want to conclude that my ultimate objective is to preserve the name of the great Al Ahly by intensifying the women`s activities, as women represent half of society and is the main component for development. Being a chairperson for the women`s committee is a great honour of course, but also a great responsibility, so I hope to act on the level of the greatness of the Al Ahly club.”