Marguerite Doyle has a heart for Egypt, having been born to Egyptian missionary parents. She and her siblings were raised in their early years in Kenya and Sudan where hippos, lions, snakes, and monkeys were common.
When the political situation in Kenya became dangerous, the family emigrated to the U.S. where Marguerite’s dad became a professor at the University of Illinois. Marguerite met her husband Greg at the U of I where they were both recruited by IBM for careers that took them to many parts of the world. Her dad retired at age 75 only to spend the next 16 years working with the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo. In her retirement, Marguerite also returned to Egypt to empower poor and struggling women in rural villages.
“I have seen how Christian women in a Muslim patriarchal country face prejudices and abuse which translates to poor healthcare, illiteracy, violence, malnutrition, diseases, and unemployment. In addition to financial struggling, these women experience psychological and social isolation. They are devalued. Yet, they are clever and strong and persistent.
“We learned this when my organization, Finding Freedom through Friendship (FFF) organized the Karma Women’s Development Center in the town of Minya. Our goal was to improve women’s social and economic situation, to promote social equality, and economic independence. To date, more than 300 women have graduated in vocations such as sewing, cosmetics, hair styling, and baking. 42% have opened a business and are earning an income.
“In 2019, we launched a micro-loan program to accelerate these changes. Over 100 loans have been granted and repaid. The story of The Bridal Suite Widow is an example.
“When FFF met Eman in the slums, she was close to death due to lack of funds for a C-section to deliver her overdue baby. Her tiny three-room home with a dirt floor had a filthy hole for a toilet and a bucket to be used for cold showers. The entire family was at risk of disease. On the spot, FFF paid for the safe delivery of baby Batul. In the following months, FFF delivered food, paid for tutoring, refurbished the house with a bathroom, kitchen, tile flooring, furniture, and appliances. Eman named her home The Bridal Suite. Then, with a micro-loan, she opened a printer store. Today, the shop is thriving. Eman has gained freedom, confidence, and dignity which inspires other women.”
The Chapel Outreach Committee supports Marguerite’s work.