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This Woman May Have the Perfect Answer To Cairo’s Slums

Some refer to them as a ticking time-bomb: slums are home to an estimated 16 million Egyptians, according to Al Monitor; 35% of them are at risk of collapsing.

But a new initiative may just have come up with the right answer, at the right time: with a growing population of unemployed graduates, why not resort to a collaborative economy?  

Spearheaded by Radwa Rostom, a civil engineer and fellow at the DO School, Hand Over aims to empower architecture and civil engineering students together with slum residents to build sustainable houses in Egypt’s shanty towns.

The pilot project, to begin in Cairo’s slums at Abu-Qarn, will run through an internship program that introduces engineering students with a sustainable technique of construction that has been long forgotten: the rammed earth technique.

“I have been working in slum areas for nine years, but we were always focused on teaching the kids or the elderly,” Rostom tells Barakabits. “I realized we have so many engineering students who can help but lack knowledge and guidance,” she says.

With a similar philosophy to Latin America’s TECHO, the initiative will simultaneously offer local residents training for the implementation of the techniques so that they can build their houses with their own hands.

The initiative stems from the Ezbet project, which was founded in 2011 to develop the area of Ezbet Abu-Qarn in Cairo under the supervision of Egyptian NGO Alashanek Ya Balady.

For more information: Visit the Ezbet project’s website or contact Radwa.rostom@gmail.com to get involved!

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Valentina Primo

Journalist, globetrotter, and determined idealist. Since Valentina left her home country of Argentina, she has searched for ways to build bridges between cultures and foster dialogue. Her previous work in international organizations in Italy and Germany fed her passion for the world of development, while her 8-year journalistic experience in Argentina and Egypt increased her curiosity for everything that challenges the stereotype. She holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Peace Studies with a specialization in Human Rights.

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