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EGYPT: Mother of 4 from Sudan starts tailoring business thanks to Salesian Missions project in Cairo


(MissionNewswire) Nawal, a 47-year-old Sudanese single mother of four children, now has a small tailoring business thanks to a scholarship she received for training from a project funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) through a Salesian technical and vocational training center in Cairo, Egypt.

Before accessing the training at the Salesian center, Nawal worked as a maid, and she faced many hardships and challenges. She wasn’t able to cover the expenses of her children and struggled to find a job in her new community. Nawal started her course in 2018, and when she finished, she looked for a job in her field. First, she worked in a factory as an assistant, but after gaining more experience, she started her own business tailoring and making clothes.

Nawal now has an income that can cover her expenses and her children’s expenses. She also learned a lot from the life skills taught through the project. The life skills training helped her to deal with her children in a calm way. She also learned how to motivate herself and communicate with people in an effective way.

Nawal said, “People working in the center gave me faith in humanity all over again. They treated me like a human being and were professional in delivering the courses.”

Salesian missionaries offer vocational and technical training to assist refugees in gaining the skills needed for employment in their new host countries, which for many is particularly challenging due to labor laws and a lack of established social and professional networks.

In addition to the technical training, the project also provides life skills training, health awareness, entrepreneurship literacy workshops, job panels, seed grants, and violence prevention training to help refugees build the skills needed to succeed in the workplace and adjust in their new urban environments. One of the great successes of the project is the additional social services, including transportation vouchers for travel to and from courses, that are fully funded for participants. Those engaged in the training are also provided vouchers to purchase groceries and other essentials from a local store. This helps to ensure that basic needs like nutrition are met.

Each participant also receives a voucher for a primary care checkup and eye exam with a doctor who comes to the school. Some medicine prescriptions are included as are referrals for secondary care as needed.

The project was first funded through Salesian Missions in 2014. To date, the project has improved the livelihoods and quality of life of more than 1,300 Sub-Saharan African and Syrian refugees and vulnerable Egyptians.

Egypt serves as both a destination and a transit country for refugees and asylum seekers. More than 221,675 people of concern from over 60 countries are registered by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)—a population increase of over 44 percent since 2016. Syrians comprise 57.8 percent of the total number of people of concern. Of the rest, 49.5 percent are from South Sudan and Sudan and 36.5 percent are from other countries in the Horn of Africa.

The vast majority have fled wars and conflict in their homelands and have come to Egypt seeking shelter and safety before moving on to their next destination. Many end up in Cairo’s slums without the means to make a living due to restrictive national labor laws for refugees and discrimination by Egyptians. Many of these refugees are women and children who have been forced into poverty with little means to provide for themselves.



Photo courtesy of Salesian Missions (contact for usage permissions)

Salesian Missions

UNHCR – Global Focus Egypt

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