Old Cairo

Old Cairo

Egypt

Istabl Antar is a densely populated area of informal settlements in Old Cairo. The residents of Istabl Antar live in extreme poverty, and face a multitude of health, housing and social problems. Many homes are built from wooden boards and mud bricks, consist of a single room, and have no running water. Houses are reached along narrow walkways, and there is no formal system of garbage or sewage removal.

 

But in the heart of Istabl Antar, a school set up by the Tawasol Association—an NGO Established in 2008—is transforming lives. The Tawasol School addresses the issue that although a good education provides escape from poverty, few parents can afford to send their children to school, as they need them to work and earn money. Tawasol NGO gives children the opportunity—in addition to a basic education—to learn a skill, such as carpentry or embroidery, for which they are paid a weekly allowance. The school also provides facilities for good nutrition and hygiene, a library and a computer lab. Student fees and expenses are funded by donation. In addition to its activities at the school, the Tawasol NGO runs adult education classes, and is involved in a number of practical projects around Istabl Antar, such as implementing hygienic sewage removal.
Markaz collaborates with the NGO Tawasol in Istabl Antar, Old Cairo and supports their craft skills incorporating them in contemporary designs as part of a range of household textiles, and fashion accessories.