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Report Date: May 5, 2021

Report from BHW Egypt Partnership Facilitator

On the 17th April I talked on Zoom with S and P. They seemed in good spirits and doing OK. Their children are stuck at home as the schools have asked them to only send their children to school two days per week. However, so many have COVID and few wear masks so they have decided not to send them at all. They have lessons sent home for three days and they do them that way. 

Recent Events


This is running rampant and they are into the third wave of infections. People are reluctant to wear masks or comply with anything that the government says they should do. Their church youth group has almost a 100% infection rate and many friends have become positive. It is very expensive to get treatment, pretty much impossible to afford unless you have insurance which few can afford. 

The people from Rubbish Mountain refuse to wear masks and when S and P used to go there up there (until November last year) the people accused them of “not loving them” because they wore masks and asking, “are you afraid of us?.” 

Only one person from the garbage area has died that they know of. He was a young man who had to go to hospital for something else and caught COVID in the hospital!

They have tried numerous times to get the people together but no one will let them use a building as there is great stigma against the garbage people and the cost and inconvenience of cleaning the building after use would be too high.  

Rehousing the 700 Families

The government agreed to build them new houses within a year and give them 200 Pounds (US$12.50) per month to pay rent in the meantime. However, 13 months has passed, the funding has stopped and they are now saying the houses will not be available until December. This is causing major hardship for the people. They have no work, no houses and no money. 50 families have gone back to the Mountain and are squatting out there in the rubble. 

The new houses are largely completed and S says, “they are beautiful, it’s like America in the desert!” But there is no access as they have to now build a bridge to get there and there is no water in the buildings. The build has also suffered delays through corruption and the number of buildings has increased. 

The period from now until December when they are now saying the houses will be available is very critical. However, even afterwards there is still little chance of creating an income. Working with the rubbish was always dangerous but COVID has added many more layers of danger. How do they safely handle all the garbage from the hospitals, one of the biggest sources of garbage? And people are throwing less away as the economic situation continues to deteriorate.  

Rubbish Mountain

more destructionP especially feels traumatised by the way their property in the community was destroyed. The way the government turned up unannounced with hundreds of soldiers and bulldozers and demolished the place they had lovingly built still causes her grief. And all the people whom they served are deeply saddened and they are constantly grieving the loss. The complete demolition of the area means that the people cannot continue their businesses as they have nowhere to do them. They have nowhere to keep their animals.

The only building remaining in the community is the Orthodox church. A few Moslem families were still living nearby but on Friday 16th April a fire swept through those places. No one was injured.

Current Ministry 

Currently they are seeking to care for 30 families. The people come to them at night, secretly and they give them money to sustain them. They have to operate secretly as they are not supposed to have visitors and if other families they are not able to help found out that they were helping a few, there would be a great deal of jealousy and resentment. They are doing a lot of informal medical care but cannot operate the clinic as before as they are not allowed to have groups of people gathering and they are not a registered clinic. The medical container is located at a church property in Helwan. 

Their major focus it to maintain contact with as many people as possible and sustain as many families as possible through this period, at least until they can get into their new accommodation. Of course, those people will still require a source of income as they will have to continue paying rent, utilities, food and everything else. COVID is adding to their inability to be able to do that and who knows how long that will go on. 

Every day they get requests from people to find them employment. Most are looking for housekeeping or gardening jobs. But, people do not want people from the Mountain coming into their homes, there are few jobs available and no one is hiring right now. 

The 30 families are given between 200 and 500 Egyptian Pounds per month depending on their needs. These funds come from BHW (the only regular donor) and some family, friends and neighbours who know what they are doing. They were afraid we would stop supporting them because they have lost their base but I assured them that this is not the case.  



They still feel aggrieved by the way their property was demolished but they are settling into the new way of doing ministry. They realise that even if they had the property, they would not be able to function as before anyway as they would not be allowed to gather people or operate the clinic. It would be too dangerous to go there too and would be unsafe physically and medically with so much infection around and the refusal to wear any form of protection. 

For the first time in 10 years they have weekends together. They are able to go to church together and do things as a family. They are enjoying that as are the children. 

P has recovered well from her operations but S’s finger, damaged in the flood, is still not right and needs another operation. However he will not get anything done until after COVID, it’s too dangerous to go to a clinic or hospital.  



They seem in good spirits despite the concerns of living in the constant shadow of COVID infection. We need to continue praying for them as there is real pressure in operating in a covert way.

I recommend that we contribute a further US$3,000 from our COVID fund. We have already sent US$1,000 but they are on the front line and have many opportunities to help people. (This has subsequently been approved and sent.)