Life has changed for Egyptian women since the revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak, with sexual harassment, unemployment and illiteracy rates soaring. Artistry Egypt, which is run by the development NGO Ganat El-Kholod, trains unskilled women to learn how to make eco-friendly artisanal textile crafts.
“The purpose of this project is to address poverty through capacity-building, while encouraging other NGOs to consider entrepreneurship to reach their goals”, Rasha Zeki, Development Manager at Gannat El Khulood told Wamda.
A groundbreaking initiative that recognizes the role that cottage industries play to keep the poorer sectors of Egyptian society afloat during the post-revolution chaos, Artistry Egypt was a semi finalist at the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Business Plan Competition.
In the next three years, the group hopes to put 300 women through their extensive 12 month training program. So far, 22 women have completed their training.
The women come from two of Cairo’s low-income neighborhoods, Al Doweika and Manshiyat Naser, where illiteracy rates have climbed to 59%, according to Wamda.
While the NGO is currently relying on donations to sustain the operation, eventually it is hoped that the women will be able generate money from the textiles they make in order to pay for the project’s operations.
Artistry Egypt will also round out their social entrepreneurship program with other development and capacity building projects.
As reports continue to stream in about sexual harassment and other social ills that women face under the new Egyptian regime, non-profit organizations such as these help to raise women living on the fringe of society to a position of improved social and economic wealth .