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Increase and integration, not a burden… Extraordinary presence and groundbreaking initiatives for refugees in Egypt | Policy

Cairo – Despite hardships, refugees succeedEgyptforming a complementaryFly to Cairo its economy, and is committed to providing livelihoods and integration for refugees through a number of groundbreaking initiatives and economic projects, prominent sources in the field told Al Jazeera.

According to the statistics UNHCR Egypt has 675,000 refugees this year from 62 countries, with Sudan making up the largest number, while official statistics estimate the number of refugees and expatriates to be more than 10 times that number.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly said in April last year that more than 9 million refugees from some 133 countries live in Egypt, accounting for 8.7% of the population.

Abdel-Jalil Mohammed Nolin, head of Egypt's Refugee Development Initiative Photo credit:
According to the organization's chairman, Abdel Jalil Muhammad Nourin, the Egyptian Refugee Development initiative has funded more than 70 projects (Social Networking Site)

An initiative for all refugees

The Egyptian Refugee Development initiative is one of the successful Sudanese youth initiatives, Abdul Jalil Mohammed Noorin, head of the initiative, told Al Jazeera, “for the health and social development of refugee communities of different nationalities”.

Noreen came to Cairo in 2017, and as he said, his pain was the greatest at the beginning, looking for job opportunities, understanding the Egyptian market, gaining awareness and information, or housing, which gave him and his Sudanese friends the idea to create the 2021 Refugee Development Initiative, which is not limited to Sudanese, but also extends to Syrians, Yemenis, Eritreans, and even Egyptians.

Last May, the Initiative, together with other partners, held an awareness seminar for new immigrants as part of efforts to deliver necessary information to new immigrants of different nationalities, including Sudanese, including clarification of the laws of the host country, introduction to the local community, and ways to facilitate the integration process and provide them with the necessary support to build a stable and productive life.

The Egyptian Refugee Development Initiative organized a special workshop for new arrivals2- The initiative's Facebook account and sent by the source
Egypt Refugee Development Initiative holds special workshops for new arrivals (social networking site)

The head of the Refugee Development Initiative added that besides the services provided to various refugees of different nationalities since its inception, his initiative has also helped absorb the large number of Sudanese who came to Cairo after the Sudanese war, explaining that his initiative works on the awareness level and development path.

Nolin noted that as the crisis in the region expanded, he rented an apartment in an area of ​​Giza governorate near the capital Cairo and established a partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Egyptian government and non-governmental organizations to provide refugees with more courses, training and rehabilitation workshops, and psychological support. In order to provide refugees with access to more courses, training and rehabilitation workshops, and psychological support, they formed emergency teams to receive the large influx of Sudanese after the war and provide them with support and assistance.

The head of the Refugee Development Initiative explained that he follows hundreds of refugee success stories day after day, especially in recent times, and believes that as some discussions about the number of refugees in Egypt have escalated, refugees face a constant challenge to prove their existence and contribution to society.

He noted that his initiative has funded more than 70 projects, including henna-making, crochet and painting projects for women, as well as perfumery and learning the art of shaving and sewing for men, stressing that more than 1,500 refugees have recently benefited from the initiative of various nationalities.

Amal Aga social networking site
Amal Al-Agha: Palestinian arrivals have been a successful experiment, but they need support (Al Jazeera)

The successful Palestinian model

The Palestinian Women’s Union in Cairo is one of the success stories of the Egyptian refugee community, which seeks to highlight and expand its field as the number of Palestinians from Gaza and the Palestinian territories increases as Israeli aggression and the Palestinian territories escalate, which is a crime of genocide, the union’s president, Amal Agha, told Al Jazeera.

On June 24, the Palestinian Women's Union celebrated Arab-African Day with the Egyptian National Center for Children's Culture, with the participation of children. Gaza Strip Those who are currently in Egypt as a result of the Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip, aim to provide psychological and moral support to the children.

The Union is an association registered with the Egyptian Ministry of Social Solidarity, responsible for development and charitable associations, and is committed to many projects that support, integrate, sustain and reduce the burden on the country and Egypt. The Palestinian Embroidery Project, through which Palestinian embroidery is produced and sold with successful local partners in Egypt, enables Palestinian women to economically cope with the post-aggression situation and life problems.

Part of an economic market organized by the Palestinian Women's Union in Cairo as part of a support and aid campaign - Photo from the official account of the Union
Part of an economic market organized by the Palestinian Women's Union in Cairo as part of a campaign of support and advocacy (social networking site)

Al-Agha added that the union has a “spending” project based on the adoption of a Palestinian family with limited income by a capable Palestinian family, receiving a monthly salary to cope with the burden of life, especially those who have recently come to Cairo, as well as providing assistance to the people of the Gaza Strip who are trapped in the Gaza Strip with their families, both in terms of education and life, together with the “Sunflower” choir, an artistic group that includes both Palestinians and Egyptians, with the aim of curbing talent and supporting the cause.

Palestinian immigrants in Cairo created many challenges, proof of existence and simple successes in small projects after the fighting began. Al-Aqsa Flood On October 7 last year, according to a follow-up report by Al-Agha, she believes that these experiences still require support, assistance, legalization of living conditions and opening more doors for integration into society until the aggression ends.

The president of the Palestinian Women's Union added bitterly: “It is inappropriate for teachers and their families to work in a project selling pastries, while they can provide successful experience in their professional field, but cannot complete some administrative procedures in Egypt.”

One of the psychological support activities for Gaza children in Cairo - Cairo Palestinian Women's Union Official Facebook Account
One of the psychological support activities for Gaza children in Cairo (social networking site)

Determination and achievement

Egyptian society has witnessed great success of Syrian refugees in the food, confectionery and furniture sectors, especially in the 6th of October city in Egypt's Giza governorate, close to the capital Cairo.

The young Syrian man, “Samer,” a food store manager in 6th of October City, has struggled to find work since arriving in Cairo in 2013, which helped him achieve financial stability until he was able to successfully get married recently, he told Al Jazeera.

Although he was concerned about what he described as hate speech in some social media, he confirmed that the Syrians' persistence in achieving success in various fields has won them strong support from their Egyptian brothers and Arab brotherhood.

The latest data from the International Organization for Migration shows that Syrians make up 17% of the refugee population in Egypt, and they have made an effective contribution to the Egyptian labor market, with about $1 billion invested over the past period through 30,000 Syrian investors registered in the country.

Yemeni refugee Walid Al-Zariqi from the Yemen Existence Initiative Foundation, which supports refugees, while honoring him at the American University in Cairo - the university's official Facebook account
Yemeni refugee Zarich, founder of the “Wojoud” initiative, receives an award at the American University in Cairo (social media)

Honored by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

In a report released late last month, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Egypt confirmed that Cairo is full of “refugees' stories of success and hope, of determination and achievement.”

The UN refugee agency has honoured Yemeni refugee Walid Ali Al-Zariqi for his success in serving refugees of different nationalities, the UN refugee agency and some of his counterparts said at a ceremony at the American University in Cairo last month.

Al-Zariqi launched the “Wojoud” initiative in 2019 with a group of members of the Yemeni community in Egypt, caring for the affairs and rights of refugees as well as their health, legal, educational and psychological services, especially for those Yemenis living in Egypt. Due to the ongoing war in Yemen since 2015, the organization's activities have also expanded to include some Sudanese families as well as Syrian and Eritrean families.

The latest data from the Yemeni Embassy in Cairo shows that Yemen's investment in Egypt has exceeded 50 billion pounds in recent years, mainly in real estate investment, herbal medicine shops and restaurants.


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