ROOTA and the 4 E’s – Helping a Marginalized Community in Cairo

Rising Out Of The Ashes (ROOTA) is a Canadian Registered Charity with the objective of alleviating poverty and improving education.  For the onset, ROOTA started by helping the marginalized community of the Zabaleen (which stands for Trash Collectors in slang Egyptian) of Manshayet Nasser.  Work with our boots on the ground The Association for the Protection of the Environment, we service a population of around 45,000.

What is ROOTA’s goal?   

Education, and Income Generating Projects

We achieve this through the 4 E’s – Environment, Education, Empowerment and Employment – which are interacted and work in unison.  The Zabaleen are farmers who migrated in 1940 to upper Egypt seeking a better life.  They became responsible for recycling around 80 percent of the garbage in Cairo sifting through the garbage segregating waste and recyclable products with the objective of repurposing what they can thus saving the environment.

A  typical day starts around 2AM going through the quiet streets of Cairo collecting garbage from every apartment, from floor to floor  accumulating  garbage in a big sack, throwing it  on his back (it is always a he), and eventually settling it on the donkey cart which he has been traveling with through the streets of Cairo until around 6 a.m.  Arriving in Garbage city  he delivers the goods to the women in the family i.e.  daughters, mother, sisters, who start sifting through the garbage.

ROOTA objective is  to help the Zabaleen do what they do in a more efficient way by providing them with opportunities of education, empowerment and employment.  Education opens a wealth of knowledge and thus enabling them to apply more advanced and healthier methods helping the environment and our lives.  During one of my visits I was flabbergasted to observe young women wearing protective gloves while sifting through garbage…that was a beam of light and hope.

ROOTA  offers opportunities for adult and children education.  For adults’ education, scholarships for qualified candidates to continue higher studies at colleges and universities for those who aspire to achieve a dream of a career.  In addition, literacy classes through the Condensed Literacy Education (CLE) program for a period of nine months after which the participants sit for a government exam to obtain the primary degree certificate which has a  rate of success around 75%.    It costs around $50.00 to support the Zabaleen for the CLE and scholarships.

For Children, ROOTA, offers an after school tutoring program, and day care services for around 400 students. The women usually have to attend to their children and to facilitate their participations in the programs offered, the women are encouraged to bring their children with them when being involved in a program. ROOTA offers the children day care services, and meals i.e. breakfast and lunch.  In addition, tutoring is given to those students who are in need of extra help with their studies or have dropped out of school due to family circumstances.

ROOTA supports as well opportunities for economic development by offering Income Generating Projects teaching Zabaleen women  for a period of three months to work on looms and sewing machines.  It also, installs home looms which costs $500.00ea for those who wish to work from home due to family situations, allowing them an extra income to help the family entity and aspiring to achieve economic development for this community.  Thus comes empowerment and employment opportunities.

ROOTA aspirations for 2021/22 is two fold: supporting 10 Zabaleen with scholarships  and  keeping kids in school and be a lighthouse for hope.

For more information:

Rising Out OThe Ashes
91 Rylander Blvd, Unit 7, Box 460, Toronto,  ON  M1B5M5, Canada

rootazabaleen@gmail.com
facebook.com/rootazabaleencanada/
https://roota.org
Charitable 783861529 RR 0001

About Nevine Yassa

Nevine Yassa is the Founder and Board Chair of ROOTA
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