A Facebook page called Missing Children in Egypt is helping to find lost children. After uploading pictures to find the missing children on that page, 2,500 children have been found so far. A report on the Egyptian online Facebook page has been published in BBC Online.
In 2009, six-year-old Mustafa was visiting his sister in Cairo with his mother. A one-day journey from northern Egypt was a source of hardship for him for seven years. When Mustafa’s mother fell ill on the street, she sent the child to buy a bottle of water. Then he lost consciousness. Mustafa’s father, retired accountant Abdullah, said he later found his wife in hospital but never found the child. Hospital authorities said his wife had no children with her when she was admitted.
Mustafa is lost in Cairo. About eight years of misery began. Abdallah said, ‘My wife was lying unconscious in a chair on the street. People brought him to the hospital. The incident took place when Mustafa went to fetch water. When people took him to the hospital, no one noticed Mustafa. I quickly reported her missing to the local police station. They told me to report to the police in my area. I told him quickly, but he told me to wait 48 hours. ‘
“I feel helpless because the police did nothing about the disappearance of Mustafa,” Abdallah said. When my wife felt a little better, she had a stroke and was paralyzed after learning that she had lost a child. Guilt continues to work in him. Within a year he died.
At that time I wanted to save both my wife and children. I went from one hospital to another to save him. I went from one police station to another and found the child. ‘
Changes came in 2011 as a result of a massive movement in Egypt. President Hosni Mubarak was forced to resign. At that time, Abdallah had to face a terrible disaster. Many police stations were set on fire during the movement. Police reports were burned. That report included the loss of Mustafa.
Egypt went through another phase of instability in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, another round of protests against President Morsi began. He was able to make a new application to find the lost Mustafa in 2014 due to political unrest in the country. As time went on, Abdallah’s hopes began to fade. In the meantime, he found the Missing Children Facebook page. He asked the admins to post a picture of his son on that page. However, he did not expect to find the lost Mustafa with a picture on his Facebook page.
The Missing Children page was launched in mid-2015. The aim was to create awareness by telling stories and publishing pictures of lost children. The page was started by 43-year-old engineer Rami Al-Jebali. “When we launched the page, we did not aim to find the missing children,” he said. But the first time a lost child is fortunately found, he changes his mind and starts looking for the lost child. A few months after the start a photo from the photos was contacted about the baby. A boy was found sleeping in front of a house in the posted photo. We are sure to send a picture of the baby. Then I contacted the mother of the child and confirmed her identity. ‘
After posting pictures of Mustafa in July 2015, many people demanded to see him in different places. Abdallah went everywhere but could not find him. However, on May 26, 2016, he received a phone call from the wife of the founder of the page, Mustafa was found. He seemed to get the moon in his hand.
Missing Children was contacted by an official at the Child Care Center. He said a child like the picture published on the page is at their center. They can verify if they want. Missing Children verifies this and tries to confirm his identity. For this he contacted Abdalla. Although at first Abdalla was suspicious, he was convinced by the cut marks on his child’s leg.
Abdallah got his son back after about seven years. He went to that child care center in Giza and met with Mustafa. He can know what happened after that incident in 2009. Abdallah said people took Mustafa to the hospital when he was ill. But seeing his mother nowhere, Mustafa started crying. At that time someone brought him to the police station. At that time he could only say his name. The police station is two miles away from my mother. From there she was sent to a child care center. “I would not have been able to find Mustafa without the Facebook page,” Abdallah said.
Jebali said they have started a program to find the missing children as well as not use them in begging. They also called for posting pictures of children begging on the streets. Then the search for the missing children began. When the picture grew a lot, they started using face recognition technology. Thus they found three children. They currently have a database of the largest missing children in Egypt.
At present 13 people are working on that page and its number of followers is 16 lakh. They have built a huge network of lawyers, therapists and educators to help them recover lost children. Due to this their success rate is much higher. 2,500 children were found by posting 6,000 missing notices to them.
According to the country’s state-run newspaper Al-Akhbar, between 2016 and 2019, the country’s police received 2,284 missing children. However, currently due to the Corona epidemic
Jebali expects the number of child deaths to be lower this year.
It was selected in 2016 as one of the most influential pages by Facebook. Facebook has allowed them 50 thousand US dollars. They have created their own website and face recognition tool. In addition to Egypt, Page has started working in Romania.