The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

City Life

Cairo Guide to Getting Involved And Giving Back

Cairo Guide to Getting Involved And Giving Back
    written by
    Wesam Masoud

    When was the last time you felt passionate about something other than
    the latest, trendy Cairo nightspot? Can you recall if you’ve ever stood up for
    something other than to call the McDonald’s delivery hotline to complain about their
    bringing you cold French fries? And no, becoming a fan of ‘My Mother’ on
    Facebook does not count. We’re talking real social involvement here.

    Ramadan is upon us and with it comes a sense of charity and giving in
    Egypt to make up for a year of wanton consumption and selfishness. Undoubtedly
    you will see Ramadan fetar bags on sale at Metro or Spinney’s or you might hear
    about someone donating their second-hand clothing to the less fortunate. By all
    means, donate; but let’s not stop there: charity does not have to be seasonal.

    Helping your country does not mean getting political – those are two
    very different things. But instead of passing the hungry, dirty beggar on the
    street, think about what you can do to at least make the next few hours of his
    life a bit more bearable. Or, instead of tossing that bag of chips out of the
    car window, save it for a real trash can; and if you’re a real champion, get
    your hands dirty and help clean up a borough of Cairo. Being charitable doesn’t
    limit itself to other humans; you can also be charitable to your environment.
    There are a couple of great ways to give back to Mama Nature.

    There are many opportunities to help; far more than could be enumerated
    here, but here are a few good places to start with. Instead of waiting for
    someone else to do the job, let’s take full responsibility as citizens and
    residents of this great city, and help make a difference. And hey, you may even
    get a cool T-shirt and have some fun while you’re at it.

    Resala

    This NGO was launched over a decade ago by a group of socially-conscious
    engineering students. Today, Resala has over 45 branches all around the country
    and organises nineteen different charitable activities. Over the years, they
    have helped a number of families and individuals by providing and organising everything
    from vocational trainings to blood donations drives and even community cleanup
    projects. If you can’t donate your physical or mental power, then even a cheque
    in the mail will go towards helping the needy.

    Check out their website or call their
    hotline number on 19450 to see how you can participate in their charity
    programs.

    Society for the Protection of Animal Rights in Egypt (SPARE)

    SPARE was launched almost ten years ago as the first Egyptian non-profit
    organisation for the protection of animals. In addition to being the only
    donkey sanctuary in the country, SPARE also has dog and cat sponsorship and
    adoption programs. In 2008, they made headlines in the local press for their
    protest of the government’s cull of the pig population as a method to control
    the H1N1 outbreak. More recently, they developed a Trap, Neuter and Release
    (TNR) program with the government to humanely control the stray dog and cat
    population, the first test phase of which is being conducted in the Hadayek El
    Ahram area. Eventually, they hope to roll this out to other areas of Cairo,
    thereby both controlling the stray population and ensuring that they are not
    treated inhumanely. There is a multitude of ways to get involved; from
    sponsoring pets or projects, to using your creative mind (writing, art) to
    raise awareness.

    The shelter is located in Shobramant, Sakkara. Call them at 0233813855 or
    check out their website.

    Egyptian Food Bank

    The message is straightforward: the Egyptian Food Bank aims to ’overcome
    hunger in Egypt (sic)’. Such a goal is not achievable through words alone, and
    so the good people behind the scenes have rallied support from corporate
    sponsors and individuals. Located on 6 El Nafoura Street, Mokattam, the bank
    basically collects food donations or monetary donations and organises
    periodical delivery of food supplies to Egypt’s neediest; orphans, widows, the
    elderly and the destitute. So next time you have far too much food left over
    from fetar and no desire to eat it the next time, call up the food bank at 16060
    and they will pick up your food. Their website details the
    many other ways that you can get involved, but even if you don’t have time to
    help out with telephone calls or distribution drives, you can use their handy
    online form to donate money with your credit card via secured web transaction.
    This is 21 st century charity for an age old cause.

    Keep Egypt Clean

    Cairo has not won an award for cleanest city in recent memory; and the
    problem is only compounded by frequent strikes by the trash collection
    community and disregard by the general population for the cleanliness of the
    streets that they live on. Keep Egypt Clean is an initiative that tries to pick
    up the slack by getting a group of volunteers together for an afternoon of
    rubber-gloved trash-picking. Recent beneficiaries of their herculean efforts
    include areas of Nasr City and Heliopolis. More volunteers are needed, so don’t
    be shy; sign up to their Facebook group , and raise
    your hand. Plus they have really cool T-Shirts.

    Even if none of these charities strike your fancy, don’t let that stop
    you from being a charitable part of society. Ask around, or do a web search for
    a cause you could be interested in, and give till it hurts. Ramadan Kareem,
    Cairo.

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