The Recycling School

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© AL CAHEN/SIPA

Each day Cairo produces nearly 14,000 tons of garbage. At the foot of Mokattam live the vast metropolis’s trash collectors, known as “zabbaleen”. Living from the income of the garbage they collect, this “cast” in their own right lives excluded from society. The Association for the Protection of the Environment (APE) strives to improve their living conditions and, more importantly, to restore a certain dignity to them by transforming their work into an actual business. Today, recycling is an important industry. The Recycling School gives children the necessary basic education, health recommendations, and practical training to turn recycling into a genuine trade.

MAIN EDUCATIONAL INTERVENTIONS

  • Literacy programmes, learning mathematics and hygiene.
  • The acquisition of practical and commercial skills relating to recycling.
  • The Recycling School has educated over 350 children.

 

REPORTER

 

ANNE-LAURE CAHEN

"In Cairo, I was touched by the trash collector community. The Zabbaleens are proud of their role in society. Despite the dirt and harsh conditions of their work, they understand that they are an essential part of the recycling process, and this is the case from an early age. The children are actively involved in the sorting stage of recycling. Access to education allows them to envisage a better future, less painful and more rewarding work, but for many it is out of the question to leave their neighborhood."

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Theme: 
Cities
Education
Waste Management