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Egypt, Middle East

EGY02 - Living Water

Partnership Ref.:




Funding Status:

Fully Funded

Partnership Type:

Community / Agriculture Development, Orphans & Vulnerable Children

Funding Size:

$3,000 - $7,999

Annual Budget:

US$ 7,040

Connected To:



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Funding Contact:

No funding required


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Population: 89 million

Life Expectancy: 70 years

GDP: US$3724 per capita

Unemployed: %

% earn less than US$2/day

Current Partnership Impact

30 families are being assisted

Partnership Overview

tough lifeThe people that S and P work with are a very poor bunch of people. They are rubbish collectors and sorters. They pick through the rubbish bins and skips on the streets of Helwan City, take it home and sort it out. They then try to make a living from selling it to recyclers. It is tough work, it is filthy work. Their whole community smells of rubbish. This is where they live, work and die. There are around 400 families in the town, about half and half Christian / Moslem, which makes for about 4,000 people. 

The rubbish collecting has lifted them out of total poverty but they are still poor. The difference is that they now live in a situation where they are not under clouds of cement dust, they have semi-permanent homes and there is some sort of permanency to the situation. However, there are new and significant issues to deal with.

The government is becoming more serious about recycling and is starting to manage rubbish better so there is less rubbish available. The families are growing, 6 to 8 children per family. This means there are more and more people in the trade. They are still not able to put in their own electrical machines and there is no electricity in the town. 

hard place to liveMr M (P's father) first came to help these people in 1998 and since S and P became involved this has continued. They have driven the introduction of water, a flood protection project (1 km storm water bypass) and a permanent housing project. They have also established a clinic which is open every day with a local person able to dispense some basic medicines. Every Friday doctors and other medical people come for consultations and from time to time other medical camps are run as well. This is the only clinic in the community.

In addition they run a tutoring programme for the children and Good News programmes are run every week.

History of Partnership

BHW's Field Director heard about this family through Harry Kuijian, our Armenian partner. Harry was born in Egypt and about five years ago when he was visiting Egypt he visited S and P and subsequently recommended them to us. 

We communicated with them for a few months and then visited Egypt and stayed with them for three days in December 2014. A second visit was paid in June 2015 and in September a decision was made to commence partnership.  

making a differenceBeneficiaries

The beneficiaries are the residents of this little town. Every person in town benefits from what these people are bringing to the community.  

What We Like About The Partnership

S and P are committed to this place for the long haul. The rest of their lives is worked around the needs of these people. 

They are hugely respected in the community for their social and spiritual work. 

There is a real connection between the social and spiritual aspects of the work. 

They are seeing results, though it is a soul destroying place. 


Key People

Leadership Profile

S and P are the key couple and they have two young children. 

S is a trained vet and P is an educational writer and teacher. S now volunteers part time. For a period he was full time but they could not sustain it. They are fully committed to stay involved and love the work. 

Other People Involved

A doctor, one of P's friends, oversees the medical part of the work and comes in as one of the doctors once or twice a month. 

They also have a large group of volunteers who help with the medical and children's programmes.


Vision And Annual Strategy


The vision of this project is to bring development to this community of poor people. This development includes social, infrastructural, health, educational and spiritual components. 


They have quite a large property with adequate buildings. These include a meeting room that could seat over 200 people, another large meeting room, a container converted into a lounge with a nice toilet, a clinic, pharmacy and operating room, some classrooms that have been damaged in the digging of the flood bypass, a large, paved courtyard also damaged, and a number of storage rooms. In these buildings they run regular programmes.

There are five major areas they want to focus on in terms of partnership with BHW; 

1) Mentoring and leadership development: They see the need for this and they are well into doing it. They are committed to making a difference in this community by developing people, particularly young people. They have regular mentoring groups and meetings but they would like to
a) give some people with gift some specific training and
b) get the young people out of their situation three times a year for specific input. They have tried running seminars in the area but there are so many interruptions it is impossible and they have given up on trying it again. 

2) Support of vulnerable families: There are a number of families with major ongoing crises. Many men leave their wives and many people die young. A widow in this culture cannot remarry so she is forced into prostitution or working very hard for very little. Her children become very vulnerable. More than 15% of the people here have Hepatitis C which is fatal. It comes from the work they do, the cuts and infections etc. Many children with real potential never get to complete school because of the cost. 

3) Medical support: There is a great deal of sickness and disease in the community, largely related to their work, the poverty, lack of education and poor lifestyle choices. They provide milk supplements for mothers and babies - many are Hep C cases, help with medication as many cannot afford to pay for required treatment, and some medical interventions. There are many accidents and work related injuries, broken limbs, cuts from glass and needles. Along with this there are many ordinary issues they cannot afford to pay for. 

4) Capital projects: They have some capital projects they would like to develop over time. These include increasing their medical laboratory, a gym for young people and for women, a table tennis table, repair some playground equipment, and a drum kit. However the highest project on their priority list is to renovate the playground. When the flood diversion project was done last year the playground was severely damaged. It is critical for the wellbeing of the young people that this is repaired as children in this area have nowhere to go to get away from the trash of life and to play. This is very important as part of the holistic approach they have to developing people. Secondly, if they can get the place cleaned up and the local people can see the improvements, some of them will give towards it. While it is just an idea, nothing will be given. 

5) Social programmes: They would like to do a number of these and have already got some going in a small way. On their list is the establishment of sports teams and a gym - they see this as important for the young people who have nothing to do. They want to start a women's exercise programme to get women together. They also want to run youth training programmes to give an alternative to the drug addiction lifestyle that is so prevalent.  


Personal Testimony

Real "Life Change" Stories

For a number of years R has been frustrated. She is just 16 years old and wants to be a pharmacist. But, she lives in garbage city and no one in her family has ever gone beyond 5 years at school. Her father cannot read one letter of the alphabet, her mother can't count to 5. They collect garbage and their vision for their three children is the same, collect garbage, nothing can change that. Except R does not accept it.

She is the eldest of three siblings and has decided it will be different for her. She is a bright girl and in the second year of three at high school. Another frustration is the school. She and the other kids from garbage city are treated like garbage. They are made to sit at the back of the class because they smell. The teachers and other kids ridicule them because they don't have nice clothes nor can they afford to go on all the outings. And of course, R is attending a school where most are from a different religion to her.

But worst of all, and this applies to all the kids at school, no one passes the exams or does well without extra lessons. The teachers don't teach all the information required to pass the exams so to pass, they run extra classes after school, the same teachers and in the same buildings but of course, the students have to pay! Where does the daughter of a garbage sorter get the money to pay?

R will not give up and neither will S and P. They have decided R's future will be different and have started investing in her. She has one more year to complete at High School and if she gets good marks, another five years at College.