The “Zabaleen”

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All pictures in the slideshow are courtesy of Hands Along the Nile.

Hands Along the Nile has helped me to locate two schools which will be the recipients for the laptops. The first school is an all-boys school called Spirit of the Youth and the second school is an all-girls school called the Association for the Protection of the Environment. Both schools are located in Moquattam, a suburb on the eastern edge of Cairo. In Moquattam is the home to more than 50,000 impoverished citizens of the “zabaleen,” which is literally translated from Arabic as the “garbage people.” Members of the “zabaleen” collect garbage from Cairo, where it is then sorted and crafted into recyclable materials that are sold for their living. The “zabaleen” are quite effective at what they do–they reuse about 85% of Cairo’s waste!

Despite the fact that the “zabaleen” are helping the city of Cairo by collecting and reusing their garbage, the community unfortunately suffers great consequences. Members of this community earn about $1.65 per day, which is definitely not enough money to provide for a family. As a result, the poverty is high as well as the illiteracy rates. Children leave school at any early age to contribute to their families’ incomes, and as a result, the majority of them are completely uneducated. Consequently, schools in the community had shifted their focus from learning math and science to learning about the crafts the children will learn to make to help their families.

HANDS has already established close relationships with each of these schools in the “zabaleen” community, and I am excited to get to work with the children of this community, as I believe them to be the perfect recipients for these computers.

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