In spite of economic growth, persistent inequality means that hundreds of thousands of Egyptians have not reaped the benefits. Like illiteracy and infant mortality, the poverty rate continues to rise along with population growth. Little as improved since the Spring Revolution, with many still at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.
Children in Egypt
Well over a third of Egypt’s population is under 14 years old. Despite recent progress, nearly half of all children live on less than $2 a day. Around 13% of infants are born underweight and impoverished children often lack access to schooling and health facilities.
Egypt is home to 1.7 million orphaned children. Many of them are exploited for labour, often involving long shifts and dangerous environments. Children harvesting cotton may have to work for 11 hours a day in temperatures of 40 degrees celsius.
1 million children live on the streets, resorting to begging and petty theft for survival. Many experience frequent abuse by adults, often sexual. This figure continues to rise. Huge numbers of girls suffer as a result of the ancient tradition of female genital mutilation. Although attitudes are slowly changing, round 90% of women in Egypt have been subject to this practice.
Our Children's Villages in Egypt
We began working in Egypt in 1977, building our first SOS Children's Village in Cairo, established on a hilly site in the residential area of Heliopolis. The Village has 33 family houses.
The SOS Children's Village Alexandria opened in 1980. It has 11 family houses.
We set up our third Egyptian village in 1984 in a suburb of Tanta. SOS Children's Village Tanta has 12 family houses which are home to over 100 children.
Emergency Relief Programmes
In 1994, torrential rains in southern Egypt caused severe flooding leaving hundreds dead and over 15,000 people homeless. A state of emergency was declared in the region and SOS Children Villages set up an emergency relief programme at Asyut consisting of 42 temporary family houses as well as medical and social centres.
In mid-2003, a joint project with UNHCR was undertaken to care for children in Cairo who are refugees from war zones in other African countries. The aim is either to repatriate them after the conflict has been resolved or to resettle them elsewhere.
Egyptian Society for SOS Children’s Villages
P.O.Box 126 El Korba – Heliopolis
Tel: +202/224 69259, +202/376 25941