The centre for diaconic services was established in 2010 by the patriarchate of the Coptic Catholic Church. It offers a range of social and pastoral activities and initiatives, addressed above all towards women, families and young people. In addition to this there are various aid programmes for those in need, including practical life skills, literacy courses, ongoing educational programmes, a range of meaningful leisure activities for children and young people, as well as guidance in living a life of faith and many other worthwhile activities on the programme. The activities are organised in a number of different centres.
Owing to the coronavirus, the range of possibilities have now become limited, however. Direct face-to-face gatherings are no longer possible. But the centre has just recently been able to launch on the Internet, and one particular initiative it is offering is the online courses, aimed at the womenfolk and intended to help families to overcome the difficulties of the limited contact with others and the closure of schools, kindergartens and sport clubs, and to live life constructively and well. The idea is to teach the women to familiarise themselves with the new technologies and use them effectively, and so gain the necessary confidence in these media to be able to accompany their children in using them. For now that so many other leisure activities have become impossible and some of the schooling also takes place online, children are spending much more time on the Internet. This is an opportunity, but also a danger, so the idea is to help their mothers to appreciate the positive aspects of the Internet while at the same time shielding their children from its dangers.
And the mothers are also being given help and ideas as to how to better organise this time. How can relationships and communication within the family be improved, faith deepened and families at the same time be supported in as far as possible limiting the negative impacts on the family and especially on the children? These are all aspects that are already relevant, even if there were no coronavirus present.
Currently there are 150 women taking part in these three-month courses. ACN is supporting the programme with a contribution of 3000 Euros.