Programs and impact
Micro-loans, outreach, nursery, vocational training, accommodation, re-integration with family, and social development centers are the programs used by I the Egyptian to empower the poorest Egyptians.
80 children currently live in the first buildings in the 6th of October Institute for children at risk and over 100.000 micro-loans have been granted in the 10 branches since the program started in 2010.
Thanks to a partnership with Mercedes-Benz’ Star Care Egypt, the 6th of October institute now has an education facility, from nursery to high school.
The foundation will continue to grow its micro-finance project, will set up a bakery to expand its vocational training, and will continue its support to the poor communities in Egypt through support of development programs in informal settlements.
I the Egyptian collaborates with a ‘Save the Children’ team to reach out to children in the streets of Cairo in areas where street children gather and reside. The team creates a bond with them, tries to gain understanding of their situation and evaluates their need for urgent medical support.
This outreach is complex because often the children have been subject to emotional and physical hurt which a simple hot meal or a blanket can’t cure. Freedom is the most valuable possession the child in the street has and therefore a cautious approach in the initial stages of contact is crucial, a small action can trigger the child’s desire to stay in or return to the streets.
This outreach project provides protection and support for children on the street by empowering them to enjoy their social, economic, educational, and legal rights. The team works in a total of 20 areas including Ramsis, Ghamra, Demirdash, Abasia, Shubra Masr, Tahrir, Kornish El Nil, Ancient Cairo, Maadi, Dar El-Salam, Helwan, … and the program has benefited so far 283 children.
The activities the children were part of include vocational training, psychological workshops, sports activities, handicrafts,…
To raise its efforts to prevent children resorting to the streets, I the Egyptian has expanded the premises of the micro-loan offices to include Community Development Centers where children, youth, and families can come for support.
6th of October City
Rehabilitation and re-socialization
Currently the Institute has 80 children resident, but the number fluctuates due to new admissions and reintegration of some children back with their families. The main goal of the program and activities is the rehabilitation and re-socialization of children who have lived in the streets and/or been abandoned by their families. The objective is to teach them basic values and life skills that would enable them to be reintegrated back into society. The Institute focuses on admissions in the age range of up to 14 – 15 years, as it is often difficult to ensure the protection of the younger children when older youth are admitted.
The Institute has a number of psychologists who have an understanding of the particular issues related to children who have lived on the street with the accompanying trauma of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. The Institute tries to maintain a continuous program of development for this category of staff as this is core component of the rehabilitation and re-socialization process for the children. Every child undergoes an initial psychological evaluation that is the primary step for intervention and treatment. Based on the evaluations a program of intervention and counseling for treatment is developed and implemented. The goal of the psychological program is to build the child’s resilience to deal with previous trauma and future problems and stresses.
Education is considered one of the basic tenets of the Institute’s strategy. Preferring enrolment in regular schools over home-schooling, 36 children were enrolled in regular schools in 2012 and 2013. This is however not always possible due to a lack of documentation (birth certificates) or due to the fact that the children have dropped out of the formal school system and it is difficult to reintegrate them.
In order to provide education for all children, the Institute has a number of additional educational activities as follows:
- Montessori Nursery: The Institute has a complete Montessori nursery program for 29 children in the 3 – 6 years age group.
- Community School: I the Egyptian has, with permission of the Ministry of Education and the support of Mercedes Benz’ StarCare, a community school with a capacity of 100 children. A Community School is a school under the supervision of the Ministry of Education which accepts school drop-outs in the age range of 8 to 14 years. The children who graduate from these schools after taking the primary certificate exam are then allowed into the regular school system in preparatory stage. The system also allows for the use of more interactive and child centered learning techniques than those used in standard schools in Egypt which will help to keep the children engaged in the educational process. GIZ has funded the school furnishings as well as the purchase of the Montessori modules for youth in the subjects of Math, Science, Arabic, and Social Studies for use by the teachers in the community school. Currently there are 80 youngsters attending the Community school.
- Illiteracy Class: The Institution has illiteracy classes by using interactive learning and child centered techniques for the older children who have never been to school.
- Studying Classes: The Institute provides additional evening tutoring/studying sessions for the children in the regular school system in order to follow-up and enhance the children’s educational attainment.
- Computer Classes: Computer classes are provided for all the children to give them computer literacy and skills.
The Institute has another facility in Mokattam which is used in collaboration with ‘Save the Children’ and is used as a reception facility for the Outreach programs. The Institute focusses on several objectives:
- Encouraging the children on the street to take a decision regarding their future and their staying on the street, and encourage reintegration into the society
- Enhancing the quality of the services provided for children at risk through psycho-social programs, vocational rehabilitation programs, and education
- Enhancing the abilities of the support team in order to gain better understanding of the phenomena of street children and enable them to provide the children with activities that lead to a deep-rooted change
- Raising the community awareness about the phenomena of street children in order to increase the chance of rehabilitating them
I the Egyptian also operates Community Services Centers which address push factors more generically through a focus on poverty alleviation in low income communities. At the present time, these are essentially micro group loans for women with limited additional services. These poverty alleviation services are administered through 10 small branch offices in low income areas around Greater Cairo (Imbaba, Mataria, Dar El Salam, Ezbat El Nakhl, Boulak, Manshiet Nasser, etc).
Starting from a 3 million LE (500,000US dollars) grant from Mobinil, the I the Egyptian foundation established 10 Micro-loan branches in and around Cairo. Together they currently have 2,300 active groups of 5 female lenders and have disbursed more than 100,000 group loans since 2010.
The Foundation provides group loans to women based on the Grameen Bank concept of the women in the group guaranteeing each other rather than providing any form of collateral as a guarantee for the loan. The principles underlying this are that women are generally more disadvantaged economically, often with no official papers such as an ID card, much less access to collateral. However, studies have shown that the earnings of women are more likely to improve family wellbeing in general and that of children in particular.
Loans are provided to women in groups of 5 – 6 women in the low income communities who have some type of micro-enterprise income generating activity for which the loan is to be used to help generate additional income from the activity. Individual (not group) loan sizes vary from LE 500 – LE 1500 which is a self targeting mechanism i.e. only low income women are likely to apply for such small loans.
The group of women guarantee each other and, as previously mentioned, no collateral is needed for the loan. The interest rate and repayment terms of the loans are the standard market rates charged by other micro-loan providers in Egypt. Lenders are poor women with children at risk of resorting to the streets. The objective of the loan is to provide an income generating activity for the family to improve their economic circumstances and to allow the families to send their children to school rather than being obliged to work on the streets to increase the family’s income.
The children 15 years old and older are provided with some basic vocational skills through cooperation agreements with organizations as well as through activities held on the Institute premises in 6th October. These activities are as follows:
- BTM for fabrics and fashion provides the technical support (trainer), the machines and the materials needed to train the children in sewing. The children participating makesome of the clothes needed for the children in the Institute.
- The Association for Protection of the Environment (APE) provides training in how to make handmade carpets.
- The Enhancement of Integrated Services and Waste Recycling Company of Haram City provides training for four children on agriculture through a type of internship where the children help with their agricultural activity that is the result of using the compost from the waste recycling. · Hilton (Sixth October) had a cooperation agreement with the Institute where a number of children benefited from internships to work with staff in various departments such as housekeeping, landscaping, maintenance, etc.
There are plans to expand the vocational training activities to carpentry and bakery, when funds will have been secured.
Sports and arts are very important physical and creative outlets for children in general but for children who have been exposed to the trauma of living on the street they are an important therapeutic outlet as well. The Institute premises in Sixth October contains a “club”, a playground like area which contains a Roman theater, relaxing corners to sit in, green spaces, a small outdoor gym, miniature football field, bathrooms and a cooking room. The children resident in the Institute have regular activities in theater, music, art and handicrafts, as well as pottery. Rather than being stand alone activities, the Institute tries as much as possible to organize these activities around themes that express the values and principles the children need to learn. Regular sports activities are also held with the use of volunteers and also football tournaments between different teams of children in the Institute. GIZ has funded the expansion of the football field for more extensive and professional use. Children that show talent in football are allowed to join a sport club with which the Institute has an agreement for additional more advanced and professional training. In 2014 the Institute attended with the most talented children the World Cup for street children held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (see section on Partners) it required hard and continuous training with the help of a trainer.
- Vocational training Academy: The building licenses for the vocational training academy (capacity 150 trainees), sports and arts facilities (capacity up to 2000 children, youth, young adults, and low income families) have been granted. Once further funds are secured the building will start. It is estimated this project will take around 3 to 5 years to be completed.
- Nutrition care project (bakery)
- Joint school project – 26 class rooms
I the Egyptian is part of the monthly meetings with Egyptian cabinet (representatives of different ministries) during which slum areas and high risk/need to be relocated areas are discussed and action plans are put in place to bring the necessary change for the families.
Since 2010, the funds to make these changes are provided to the NGOs selected by the Egyptian cabinet and they work through the City Council to organize/implement programs for poor areas. Examples of such programs: Relocation, health programs, illiteracy, micro-loans,…