About the Situation
By the Numbers
More than 82,536,770 people live in Egypt
44% of the Egyptian population survives on less than $2 a day
More than 12% of Egypt’s population is unemployed
(Sources: U.N. and U.S. government)
In the shadows of Egypt’s ancient cultural riches lurk scenes of deep poverty. One in five Egyptians is poor, and the gap between rich and poor is extremely wide. For those from impoverished families, education is difficult to attain. More than one-quarter of youth ages 18-29 have not completed basic education (primary and secondary school), and one in 10 in this age group has never enrolled in school. Lack of education makes it difficult to break the cycle of poverty.
But even those who have struggled to achieve a high-level education do not always find themselves rewarded with a high-paying job—or any job at all. Unemployment over the past two decades has ranged from one in 10 Egyptians to as high as one in four, and the jobless rate tends to be highest among groups with high levels of education. This has contributed to discontent among education youth.
Problems of poverty and unemployment in Egypt have been chronic, but political unrest in early 2011 added to these burdens from many families. The full effect is still unknown.
How Islamic Relief is Helping
Islamic Relief™ started working in Egypt in 2001, helping generate income for impoverished families and assisting disabled persons, particularly children. After political unrest in early 2011 led to an increase in poverty and unemployment in Egypt, Islamic Relief expanded its programs to serve more people.
Here’s a breakdown of some programs Islamic Relief has supported in Egypt:
COMPREHENSIVE VOCATIONAL TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT
Some 1,200 people, including impoverished youth, women, and people with disabilities, are participating in a program that aims to improve their socio-economic conditions by providing them with vocational training in industries including woodworks and carpentry, handicrafts, welding, and upholstery. The training will be done at three vocational training centers in Cairo, Alexandria and Port Said. An employment support services component will help participants link to hiring companies and find job opportunities.
HEPATITIS C PROJECT
Egypt has the highest rate of chronic Hepatitis C in the world—15%. And its treatment is often too expensive for many to afford. Islamic Relief USA donors, through the assistance of local NGO, Wahed Min El Nas, are helping bring access to screening, to treatment and to prevention knowledge surrounding the disease to people around the country.
RAMADAN FOOD DISTRIBUTION
EARLY INTERVENTION AND REHABILITATION CENTER (ERIC)
The center in Helwan provided rehabilitation services to disabled children; counseling and support for family members; and training for local professionals in related fields. Some 800 children, 2,000 family members and 500 trainees benefited.
FOOD DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM
Two thousand deeply impoverished families in Helwan, Ayyat and Minya received 30-pound food packages, each of which could feed a family of five for two months. The packages included rice, macaroni, beans, cooking oil, sugar and canned meat, and the project benefited 12,000 individuals.
In 2011, Islamic Relief delivered emergency aid to help provide food aid and medical care to those in most-dire need of assistance amid political turmoil that lead to an economic stand-still throughout the country.
HEALTH SERVICES IN RURAL METOBAS DISTRICT
Islamic Relief equipped and furnished specialized clinics in the Central Hospital of Metobas to ensure access to health care for 180,000 impoverished Egyptians in the Metobas district, and surrounding villages of Kafr Al Sheikh.
Reports from the Field
Here are several blog posts that chronicle IRUSA team members’ visit to Egypt during the summer of 2011:
- “IRUSA Team Bids Farewell To ‘Umm Al-Dunia’”
- “IRUSA Team Visits El-Minya, Egypt”
- “IRUSA team: In Helwan”
- “Hope and Help in Egypt”