Saturday 3 of December, 2022
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How Sustainable NGO ‘APE Egypt’ is Empowering the Women of Mokattam

APE’s work has been changing the lives of the women on their team whether it’s through their educational and health programmes, or their emphasis on teaching sustainable practices.

Farah Desouky

In the neighbourhood of Mokattam lies the home of almost half of Cairo’s informal garbage collectors, colloquially referred to as zabaleen, working with Egypt’s largest waste management system. Mostly consisting of Coptic Egyptians, the area is amongst the poorest spots in Cairo.


The Association for the Protection of the Environment (APE Egypt) works within the community to foster sustainable values and empower community members, giving women job opportunities by selling trendy lifestyle products that they’ve crafted from the very source of their livelihood: garbage. These handmade products range from can tab bags to rugs made from the waste of cloth factories. 


APE’s work has been changing the lives of the women on their team whether it’s through their educational and health programmes, or their emphasis on teaching sustainable practices. Since the garbage management process is gendered wherein the men take shifts to collect the garbage from all over the city, the burden of sorting through the often hazardous materials falls on the women of Hay El Zabaleen. As such, APE provides training on the health risks of such labour and empowered the women with the tools and information that would ensure their well-being. 


The product range of wardrobe essentials, accessories, and furniture essentials represent a labour of love and community for the women of Mokattam. You can shop these products online by visiting apeegypt.com, or you can find them in-person at a number of vendors across Egypt, from Souk El Foustat in Cairo, Diwan in Zamalek, and Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria. To read the full list of outlets, visit ape.org.eg/WhereToBuy2.html