In 1962, the Coptic Orthodox Church founded the Bishopric of Public Ecumenical & Social Services (BLESS) to take the leading role in achieving development in poor and disadvantaged communities. This work has gone through various phases, the last of which is the Comprehensive Integrated Development (CID) at the community level, in 29 communities, as well as at the national level in the areas of youth and education.
The Roundtable Program of the Bishopric of Public Ecumenical & Social Services (COC-BLESS) directly targets 90,000 individuals – men, women, youth, children, church, and community leaders – in communities of Upper and Lower Egypt. At the national level, BLESS is focusing on one million young people and those unable to read or write through its work in the areas of youth and education. BLESS’s programming is targeting: nine communities in the Upper Egypt Region; nine communities in the Middle Egypt Region; four communities in Cairo and the Beni Suef Region; and seven communities in the Lower Egypt Region. Two main goals of BLESS’s work include the empowerment of people to discover and develop their potential and to improve the social, cultural, and economic conditions of their communities; and the empowerment of Coptic youth throughout the nation to participate effectively in church and society. Key activities include community organizing, provision of community education in issues of health, hygiene, sanitation, and the environment, and training and support toward economic development.