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Orphans And Abandoned Children In Modern Egypt

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Chapter Summary

Islamic inheritance law set the parameters for caring for abandoned and orphaned children, and was followed by both Muslims and Copts in Egypt. This chapter sketches a history of institutions established in Egypt to house and aid orphans and abandoned children. This is an attempt to get at those children who were, for a variety of reasons, excluded from the family, and see how society and the state dealt with what Bargach calls the "surfeit of bodies". Given the nature of our sources, which include stories and photographs in the Egyptian press, British colonial records, and American missionary and State Department documents, we learn more about government policy, social activism, and refuges than the children's and mothers' emotive experience of their condition. The Ottoman-Egyptian state started its own home for foundlings and the first rudimentary state orphanage within the new School for Midwives and orphans were among the first students.

Keywords:American missionary; British colonial records; Islamic inheritance law; Orphans; Ottoman-Egyptian state; social activism

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