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Breaking the Habit

By Ben Cohen | 13 Mar 2019

When Mostafa* gets to know the HIV positive drug addicts of Cairo, he isn’t judging them. That was his story too.

When Mostafa* gets to know the drug addicts of Cairo living with HIV, he isn’t judging them. That was his story too.

‘Thank God that I came here, because Freedom Ministries is the only place that can help with these kinds of cases. I was afraid and I had so many questions,’ says Mostafa.

Mostafa spent years injecting himself with drugs on the streets of Cairo. He was finally trying to kick his drug habit when he made the devastating discovery that he had contracted HIV.

Fortunately, the rehabilitation centre he was attending, run by Tearfund partner Freedom Ministries, has worked with addicts and people living with HIV for many years, and the staff were there for him. 

Mostafa portrait photograph

Mostafa, now fit and healthy.

Standing together
Mostafa was provided with basic health care, information and motivational counselling. He also began to receive antiretroviral drugs to manage the HIV. Then, when Mostafa had to go to prison for six months, members of the Freedom team visited him regularly, ensuring he had access to all the medication he needed to stay healthy.

‘Freedom prepared me to face my personal problems, so that I could stop using drugs,’ says Mostafa. He has been off drugs for ten years now and now works for Freedom Ministries as a Rehabilitation Provider. His role includes working with families to remove the stigma of a family member being HIV-positive: ‘I tell them that I used to be in the same position as your sons and I just want to help them.’

‘I tell parents that I used to be in the same position as your sons and I just want to help them.’
Mostafa

Heartfelt
Mostafa cites Freedom’s ‘family atmosphere’ and the way it gives people a new sense of purpose as two reasons for its success. 

However, he thinks the organisation’s biggest asset is its generous heart: ‘Our organisation doesn’t make a profit, but we are helping people,’ he says. ‘I came here and they treated me without asking for money.’

As Tearfund leaves Egypt, Freedom Ministries looks set to continue its exemplary work for many years to come. And the generous and non-judgmental spirit looks to draw many more addicts off the streets and out of a deadly cycle.

Tearfund is due to end its 25-year presence in Egypt this month. To mark this we are sharing stories of amazing work our partner organisations are doing – and will continue to do, after we have departed.

PLEASE PRAY

*Name has been changed to protect identity
**This is only some of the work that these organisations do!

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Photo of Ben Cohen

Written by Ben Cohen