Day 15 - Cairo/Manshiet Nasser/A.P.E. - February 7, 2012

It was in the heart of Manshiet Nasser, the quarter of Cairo known for housing the community of garbage collectors, the Zabbaleen, that I met members and voluntary workers of the NGO A.P.E. (Association for the Protection of the Environment), ranked by the Global Journal as one of the top 100 NGOs in the world.

The association was created in 1984, with the aim of improving the lives of garbage collectors as individuals and as a community, and is always ready to adapt its role, taking on multiple missions in order to bring assistance to the local population in whatever domain it is needed: environment, work, health or education.

The Zabbaleen community, 90% Copts, has long been denigrated by part of the Egyptian population for two main reasons: they earn their livelihoods through the collection and recycling of garbage (85% of Cairo’s waste is recycled) and, until recently, reared pigs for the domestic Egyptian market, before Mubarak’s drastic decision to proceed with the animals’ systematic slaughter following the last global swine flu epidemic.

This splendid story of mutual help and hope at the heart of a Cairo community has touched many people throughout the world, including Mother Theresa, who took an active part in its effective operation. 

Photo & text by Gaël Favari

(Photo © Gaël Favari for The Global Journal)


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