Coptic Community to look towards Aged Care

In days gone by when Egypt's Copts could walk the streets without fear

Current ageing trends in society does not only affect OECD countries, but specific community groups such as Australia’s Coptic Community. Just who will look after our elderly in the future? Anthony Hanna takes a look.


After a lengthy 4 hour meeting, its first for the year, St Maurice Aged Care Ltd’s Board of Directors have officially commenced planning for the eventual establishment of an aged care facility for Sydney’s Coptic Community. In what is expected to be a multi million dollar project, a group of community members have laid out the long term planning strategy in catering for the needs of the elderly.

St Maurice Aged Care [SMAC] is a registered not for profit organisation which has received full tax concessions as well as deductible gift recipient status. It’s eleven directors all hail from a variety of fields and expertise to ensure that the project becomes a resounding success and where experience is far from lacking.

As the first generation of the Coptic diaspora in Australia enter their twilight years, many have asked what will happen with those whom cannot care for themselves. Culturally, Copts have been raised to uphold the family unit and place it in high regard and this includes children caring for their parents when times get difficult. But as many of these children enter the skilled and professional workforce, both white and blue collar, just how feasible is it in the world of today for these children to physically be of assistance?

Egypt during the 40’s and 50’s is much different to Australia in 2013. The ‘old’ Egypt saw the traditional family unit consist of four or more children and the males expected to be the traditional breadwinners. Whilst the females stayed at home and looked after the mother and father, the sons would be responsible to generate the income to support the females in the family. This was the traditional family unit which has existed for hundreds, if not thousands of years. It was this ongoing cycle which was perceived as being the norm.

Come 2013 in Sydney, Australia, the sociological changes are evident. The Coptic diaspora, retaining its focus on the importance of education, have witnessed a new generation of skilled, first generation white and blue collar professionals ranging across different industry sectors including law, banking, trade, finance, hospitality, engineering and construction, medical and allied health and the arts. Where the family unit of yesteryear saw large families by placing social importance on numerous children, very rarely would a Coptic family of today in Australia bear four or more children. Girls are now also presented with the opportunity to go to school and take on a career, something they have been very successful at with many women in our community holding accomplished roles as well as running successful businesses and overall, become excellent role models for woman in general. So with all the children out of the house and making a career for themselves, who will share the responsibility of looking after the elders in our community that have given us so much?

I know many first hand examples where these challenges are currently being experienced. From the thirty two year old accountant with a young family, who is currently completing their CA recognition, works full time and has to try and manage to assist his father who suffers Alzheimer’s to a young twenty three old hairdresser who is trying to desperately kick of her small business from the ground up whilst caring for her widowed mother who needs ongoing medical attention. This isn’t an individual problem – its a community problem and St Maurice has taken steps to assist those most in need.

Aged Care is not like a retirement home. Aged Care is designed to assist the elderly who cannot look after themselves. SMAC, in laying out its long term objectives, has sighted to initially enter into ‘out of home’ care as a way of meeting community needs until the facility is complete.

The Board of Directors for St Maurice Aged Care are as follow:

  • Dr Farag Gobran (Chairman)
  • Mr Hamman (Harry) Awad (Deputy Chairman)
  • Mr Ramy Mikhael (Secretary)
  • Mr Hany Salib (Treasurer)
  • Prof Abd El-Messih Malek, AM
  • Dr Assad Malek
  • Mr Saad Sefein
  • Dr Atef Ghaly
  • Cr Maurice Hanna, OAM
  • Mrs Tako Tadros
  • Mr Anthony Hanna
  • Sister Elham (Honorary Member)

In addition, the Board of Directors have been broken up into sub-committees to manage the core functions of the organisation in reaching its long term goals. This has been currently drafted as per the below:

The Australian Coptic Movement Association lends it complete support behind the project and wish the Board complete success. To keep up to date with latest developments, you can follow St Maurice Aged Care on Facebook, LinkedIn, HisVine or CopticWorld. A website is currently in development.

To make a tax deductible donation to the project, please find donation details below:


Electronic Funds Transfers can be made to;

St Maurice Aged Care Ltd

Bank:                     Commonwealth Bank

BSB:                       062 136

Account:              10362649

(Please email with your details for a receipt to be issued)

Please make cheque’s payable to;

St Maurice Aged Care Ltd

PO Box 757



Anthony Hanna is a member of The Australian Coptic Movement Association working within the finance and  administration area as well as media and public relations. A full time Accountant, Anthony focuses on the  community development side of the ACM’s programs and initiatives with the aim of empowering and promoting the notion of Coptic Identity. You can contact Anthony on

The Australian Coptic Movement Association’s operating costs are run purely on the donations received by its supporters and the tireless work of its volunteers. Please donate to our cause by clicking here and help the Copts promote their rights and their community. All donations greater than $2 are 100% tax deductible.


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