“My dream is to run, run at full speed in an open green field with no one to stop me!!”
“When I grow up, I would like to be someone real and important!!”
“I would like to be famous, a totally different person”
“I want to be a respected person and do something I love!”
“When I grow up, I’ll be an actress and a poet”
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Promoting health education, literacy and safe deliveries in urban slums
Egypt is currently experiencing a demographic youth expansion, and a large proportion of its urban youth now live in urban slums. Young people in Cairo’s approximately 40 slum areas live in poverty, in overcrowded environments, often lacking clean water and proper sanitation. They often have access to only low-quality health and education services, and are permanently exposed to severe environmental hazards, including ubiquitous toxic fumes due to the permanent burning of garbage. Life in the slums is particularly harsh for girls, who grow up in an environment of drastic inequality of opportunity. Despite the special attention given by the government and civil society organizations to reduce gender disparity in education, girls in the slums usually leave school before their brothers and remain mostly confined to their homes, where their potential to escape poverty is slim.
© Diana Perez-Buck
The lack of schooling exacts a heavy toll on the well-being and the future of these girls and their families. Women with formal education are much more likely to use reliable family planning methods, delay marriage and childbearing, seek medical care, ensure their children are immunized, be better informed about their children's nutritional requirements, and adopt improved sanitation practices. Many mothers in the slums are not literate and most have very limited awareness of general health issues, including hygiene, nutrition, maternal and reproductive health and child care.
Our Local Partner
Since 1987, The Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women (ADEW) has been supporting women living in the poorest urban and peri-urban slums throughout Egypt, in particular women heads of household. ADEW's initiatives include micro-credit lending, legal aid and advocacy, literacy promotion for women and girls, and health services.
The GDL Program
Mothers at Risk and ADEW have successfully developed and implemented a year-long pilot program combining literacy and life skills for girls in the slums who have dropped out of school. The ‘Girls Dreams’ life-skills curriculum is designed to acquaint girls with their peers, improve their self-image and confidence, develop a basic understanding of health, hygiene and nutrition and provide basic life skills over the course of three months. Upon graduation from this course, the girls move on to the Literacy curriculum, which runs for nine months, and can then sit exams organized by the Ministry of Education to obtain a literacy certificate that allows for reenrollment in school.
Thanks to the generous support of the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation we are able to scale up tis program and reach many more girls. Click here for more information
Literacy for mothers
Thanks to support from Rotary Hamburg-Bergedorf, Mothers at Risk also supports a literacy program for mothers. The program promotes functional, practical literacy and participants sit state exams to obtain an official certificate. Mothers participating in this program have access to a wide range of other services by ADEW, including micro-credit lending, legal advice and community leadership training.
© Diana Perez-Buck
To read ADEW's description of the Manshiet Nasser and Masr Quadima slums,
Click here to support mothers in the Cairo slums.