Refugee School And Activities

A refugee is a person "owing a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result f such events, is unable, or owing such fear, is unwilling to return to it" (Article 1(b) of the 1951 Refugee Convention). The refugee population is Egypt is quite large, hence there are a lot of schools, institutions, and NGOs in Cairo which exist to help them.

Most of the refugees in Egypt are not declared as such by the UNHCR, said a school Sudanese Refugee School Supervisor. The International Student Leadership Conference at the American University in Cairo became well aware of the refugee situation in Egypt this past year. The Human Development Committee Head, Dina Mady, learnt form the internet that there is a Sudanese Refugee School at the end of Nasr City of which is in need of help. The supervisors were calling for volunteers to paint their school. As part of ISLC's community service program called ISLC Cares, Mady was more than delighted to hear about that. She gathered her members and head to buy all the paint and brushes they needed. Through digital rhetoric, Mady and her members used facebook, ISLC's official website, and BlackBerry Messenger to publicize for their event! IT WAS A SUCCESS! Mady reports "painting the refugee school was one of the very successful ISLC Cares events throughout the years because it was publicized for very strongly, hence a lot of people showed up and our work was efficient". Before, ISLC Cares organizers used to make their announcements during meetings, and remind the people through text messages, but as soon as they began to integrate more digital means of communications and promotions, their events have become way more successful than before.

So, not only was the event very successful because of the use of digital rhetoric, but ISLC Cares organizers found out about the school, in the first place, through the internet' a major medium of digital rhetoric. And "that’s how important digital communication is", said Mohab Gamal, an ISLC Cares organizer!

Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees; 1951.

Picking up with Mohan Gamal, an ISLC Cares organizer, from where we left off, I conducted another interview with him to learn more about ISLC Care's expereince with digital communication. Gamal said earlier, in my previous interview with him and his Committee Head Dina Mady, "that how important digital communication is", so I figured another more detailed interview with him about the event and hoe he (and the rest of the committee) used digital communication tu publicize for their event would be very useful to learn more about ISLC and its digital activism. Basically, I asked Gamal to tell me their publicizing startegy for the event from the beginning to the end. He proceeded my tellming the story.

"Well after we found out about the school via the internet, we contacted them and set an appointment with them, and straight away then we created a facebook event. We used this event to invite people, ISLCians mainly, but it was not limited for ISLCians only. We invited ISLCians, but made sure that the event is "open" for any one to join. It is an option on facebook of which you can use to unlimit the people one can invite. I was not the one who created the event, but Dina made sure that who ever did, he/she was to make it very attractive and informative for the people. And it was, it also cntained pictures of painting other people did at the same school, as to encourage people to come with fresh ideas. A lot of people,at the beginning, RSVPed as "maybe attending", which of course was a problem for us. So, we started sending out facebook messages and text messages to reaffirm the event and encourage people to come … It seemed that the people did not find the infromation we had on the event page very detailed, so they started asking us questions. We then updated the infromation on the event page accordingly to the people's questions and sent out more facebook messages with updated infromation. Shortly thereafter, a lot of people canged their RSVPs to "attenfing" and on the day of the event a lot of people showed up, more than the ones on the event even" (Gamal).

"Why do you think that is so", I asked Gamal. "I think it is beacuse, those people who showed up and were not on the event, were friends of ISLCians, hence found out about the event through ISLCians and not the event. However, I asked Eric McCune, and ISLC member, why didn't you invite them to the event via facebook?", and he replied, "I sent them the event so that they can get an idea of what we will be doing that day, but I do not know why they did not RSVP".

Gamal adds, "I think we better know the audience we are targeting more so that from the beginning we have all the infromation we need correctly written out on the event page. I mean, girls? boys? We must understand and foresee what kinds of questions we will be asked so that we avoid the confusion".

In my point of view, they have used digital rhetoric in a very smart way, and not only that, but they also learnt from their mistakes so that they can avoid future confusion. Great work, and great use of digital media! I was at the event, and it was truly a SUCCESS!

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