Evon Samir from Helwan, in Cairo, Egypt, is the mother of two disabled children;
Yustina and Tony. When Yustina, her eldest daughter, was diagnosed as being severely
disabled Evon did not know who to turn to.
Although she lived near to the Early Intervention and Rehabilitation Centre (EIRC),
as a Christian she was unsure how welcome Islamic Relief would make her. Evon had
nothing to worry about. In fact she has recently been awarded Islamic Relief’s ‘Mother
of the Year’ 2008, in recognition of her hard work in bringing up her two children.
Since her first visit to the centre, Evon and her two daughters have received constant
support from Islamic Relief staff at the EIRC, though life is still far from easy.
“Sometimes they both get hyper and keep screaming all day. I sit beside them and
cry my eyes out because I cannot control them. Then I look into their faces and
see how helpless they are and ironically I begin to take strength from them. Then
I compose myself, I remember what they taught me in the EIRC about dealing with
the children and I start practising it till they calm down,” she says.
Evon’s husband works as a teacher but she is unable to work herself as taking care
of the kids is a full-time job in itself- and an often difficult one at that. The
family finds it hard to manage on one salary.
“I wish I could work to help my husband with all these expenses, but just thinking
about that is impossible,” says Evon.
Asked what she likes best about the centre, Evon said that it is the spirit of the
place that makes it so special.
“I love the compassion and understanding of the staff. They become the closest person
to both mother and child; they share all the mother’s worries and concerns as if
they were their own.”
“I am so happy to win this award, but you must know that really every mother with
a disabled child is Mother of the Year,” she adds.