Ezbeth Al-Nakhl is a slum in Cairo and in this place, waste and garbage accumulate to the sky. The atmosphere is heavy and the smell is nauseating. Among the garbage, around 5 000 ragpickers live, eat and sleep.

Sister Emmanuelle

These ragpickers are generally despised, because, unfortunately, there are usually flea-ridden; they come to collect garbage and sadly, no one wants to have anything to do with them. They're often accused of being thieves, smokers, hashish dealers and even killers.

Besides, they breed pigs, and these animals are considered unclean animals by Muslims. All of this is enough for them to be the most despised people in Cairo. One priest described how he was revolted by this perception of the Christians of Cairo and so with the permission of his superiors he went to spend a day and a night with the ragpickers, to share their lives and to prove that they were full citizens, that they were men.

Slums began to appear in Cairo in the 1950s for reasons related to the internal migration of Egyptians seeking better living conditions, the expansion of the capitalist economy, overcrowding and high birth rates.

The daily life of nearly one in two people in Cairo is to go through the waste and to sort it out over and over again. They sort plastics, metals, papers and even the cotton of used diapers. 80 000 ragpickers fuss in the rubble for long hours each day. These people live in a very precarious situation. The ragpickers start each day at 5 a.m. The roam through the streets of Cairo, depending on the areas allocated to them and return at around 12 am that night. All of this they do for an average salary of 2,35 dollars per day.

We can even see women sorting out plastic spoons and plastic forks. Even their basic needs are not provided for. To fight the stabbing poverty of the Ezbeth El Nakhl neighbourhood, SOS Chrétiens d’Orient is launching an economic development program.

With your support the ragpickers can become financially independent. Approximately thirty small support projects for local artisans have been launched. They will allow a hundred ragpickers to live and go to school. Please support the carpenters, hairdressers, taxi drivers, street vendors... with just $117, you relaunch a business activity.



Volunteering is a commitment for a defined period. The volunteer is committed to a mission to serve others. To volunteer at SOS Chrétiens d’Orient you must:

- be older than 18 years old

- stay for a minimum for 1 month

- being in good physical shape

- have parental agreement for a possible departure

"I ask you to be revolutionary. Have the courage to go to counter-current. And also have the courage to be happy!" Pope Francis, July 28, speech to the volunteers of the WYD, Rio de Janeiro.

"I ask you to be revolutionaries. Have the courage to go against the grain. And have the courage to be happy!"

Pope Francis,

July 28, speech to WYD volunteers, Rio de Janeiro.