2015 has proven to be the most surprising year for us thus far. In many ways, what we have been advocating, working, and raising support for is now so close at hand.
When we started our work in the Helwan garbage village community in 2010, our goal was to work ourselves out of a job. We meant it. We wanted to start small, with the basics, by providing access to life-saving resources such as water, electricity, education, and jobs. Our overarching and larger goal however, was to make sure this community was sustainable on its own - integrated into the country, and provided safe land to dwell on (currently, they're located on a flood zone and near a cement blasting site).
Thanks to the leadership of Dr. Laila Iskander, former Minister of Social and Urban Settlements in Egypt, the community we serve was promised new land, new homes, and access to long-term electricity. The Ministry of Housing is fulfilling this process and is currently looking into proper land solutions for this community.
Where does this leave us? We need to build alongside the government, alongside the community, most importantly, and ensure that they have access to things the public sector is not investing in:
- Quality education
- Alternate or additional sources of income
- Formalizing garbage collectors into society
To address these issues, we are working toward investing in education models tailored for the needs of this specific community. We will start with literacy courses for children, work our way toward ensuring adults are literate as well and provide them livelihoods training, and growing organically into greater livelihoods development.
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