Some call her the benevolent “Mother of Cairo.” Others have dubbed her “St. Maggie.” But to thousands of children and their parents living in the fetid garbage slums of Egypt’s largest city, Maggie Gobran is simply known as “Mama Maggie.” It is a moniker that is well-suited to her mission: This is all I want to be. A mother to them all.
Maggie’s story of devotion, obedience and love is the hallmark of the Stephen’s Children ministry. As the youngest daughter of an upper-middle-class family in Cairo’s Coptic Orthodox Christian community, Maggie grew up shielded from the realities of central Cairo’s squalid slums.
As an adult, Maggie became a successful professional, first on the management team of a marketing firm and later as a university professor of computer science. As she and her husband were raising their own two children, Maggie’s vision of “motherhood” began to grow as she dreamt of reaching out to children in need.
Maggie first experienced Cairo’s garbage slums through an annual Easter outreach aimed at distributing food and clothing to families. Maggie was gripped by the despair she saw, and haunted by the children’s hunger for love, acceptance, and value in society.
Her heart pierced by God’s Spirit, Maggie’s vision for Stephen’s Children began with a prayer for other committed Egyptian Christians to join her in meeting both short-term and long-term needs of the impoverished families in Cairo’s slums. Mama Maggie’s humble spirit and loving heart allowed her to build close bonds with children and discover ways to meet their underlying needs. Her sacrificial leadership has now guided Stephen’s Children for almost 25 years and helped reach over 30,000 families with Christ’s love and compassion.