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A Great Story Behind

KL is a 17 year old Syrian adolescent who moved to Cairo after the war took place in Syria.

As all Syrians who were forced to leave their homes, remembers the exact date in which he left his home on 13 November, 2012.

When KL moved to Cairo, he was only 14 years old.

As he moved with his family and without his father, KL began to earn his family’s living by working in parking lots, supermarkets, grocery stores and hairdressers.

“I had to work, though I faced many problems to find a job, Some days I returned home with 2 pounds and this was all I succeeded to get”

In 2015, His mother saw an announcement on Facebook for an “Interactive Theatre” asking for volunteers by CARE in a CSO near their house.

“Though I was a little bit not sure that this is a true training, I gave myself a chance to have something new!”, He added “I felt at the beginning that I do not belong neither to the place nor participants and that I am a stranger as I always feel”.

But this feeling has been dramatically changed after the third session of the training.

“This spirit I have felt in the group brought back the same feeling I used to have with my friends back in Syria”.

During the first stage of the training in which the trainer helped the participants to get closer to their personalities and memories, many hurtful memories were passing in KL’s mind.

KL remembered the sexual harassment incident he faced when he was 8 years old. As he described, a man took him in a hidden place and forced him with a knife to take off his clothes.

KL mentioned that the perpetrator threatened him that he will be killed if he told anybody about what happened.

That was not the only memory that crossed his mind, KL also remembered his two close friends who died in front of his eyes in Syria.

“I became accustomed to scenes of blood and murder, I need help!”

After some sessions and getting involved in acting, KL’s character has completely changed, He became more optimistic about his future.

His smile began to appear for the first time since he came to Egypt as he mentioned.

He found new friends and his talents appeared. Moreover, He became a defendant for the cause of the project and combating Sexual and Gender Based Violence.

“I became more close to problems that Syrians face and I feel I have a role in changing my community”.

The interactive theatre training has helped him overcome his inner pain and awful incidents he faced in his life.

KL, as per the trainer’s evaluation, has a great potential in acting and in interactive theatre.

The trainer and his colleagues always encourage him before and after the performance.

The young man’s scenes are met with loud applause from the audience every time he conducted theatre performances.

“I have retrieved my dreams and I have a role model, our theatre trainer”.

KL offers help in many scenes in case of absence of his colleagues. He has been a co-trainer for a new theatre group for women in the same project.

Moreover, he was recruited as a theatre trainers in a Syrian local NGO working in Egypt. KL’s dream is coming true.

He described the “Interactive Theatre” training as a turning point in his life and apparently it will be.

NB: KL is not the real name of the young man as per her request due to the sensitivity of the incident he faced

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Nesma Ramadan from marginalized divorced woman to successful entrepreneur

Once married ten years ago, Nesma was a
housewife. After a three-month marriage, Nesma
got divorced. Since that time, she did not have
anyone to support her financially. Her father
passed away. Her brother helps but he still needs
to meet the needs of his children. “Even the
EGP 300 divorced pension I used to receive was
stopped due to some employee’s mistake,” she
explains. “We used to argue a lot. He slapped me
many times. When it was all over, I felt very down.
Yet, I had to do something with my life”, she says.
Nesma, now living with her mother, in Dayrout
El-Sherif village, Assiut governorate, started with
a grocery store; however, it did not work out well.
“It was not lucrative enough. Moreover, when my
mother got sick, I had to leave everything for her,”
she says. “But how can we live with my mother’s
four-hundred EGP pension?”
At that time, the project facilitators were reaching
out to local communities in the targeted villages
of both Assiut and Beni Suef. When the facilitator
reached out to her, Nesma did not have income
at all. “I like sewing a lot. Since I was a little girl, I
remember that I loved watching my aunt sewing.
I even learnt it at school but it was not enough.
I dreamt to have my own income. I did not want
to be a burden on my brother anymore. I want to
generate my own income just like he does”, she
underlines.
Marwa Hussein, Agriculture and Natural
Resources Program Director says, “We believe
that development of Upper Egypt is highly
intertwined with women empowerment. For
this reason, CARE, Egypt works on promoting
income-generating activities to create selfsustained
businesses for women. Women in rural areas still are not actively participating in
economic activities. Lately, with CARE efforts,
women are more engaged in income-generating
activities which has led to better positioning for
women in household decision-making and better
livelihoods for their families.”
The association provided training to accepted
applicants. Nesma received a training on sewing
before handing her a sewing machine. “I started
with sewing two bed sheets. I paid EGP 200 for
the fabrics and the association gave me the
sewing machine worth of EGP 1000”, she says.
“I sold the bed sheets, then made more and more.
I started selling to my sister and neighbors. One
of my neighbors took me to the school where
she works to sell my products to her colleagues.”
Since then, Nesma expanded the network of
her clients and went to several exhibitions to
display her products. “I can earn up to EGP 1000
per month. I am now more experienced when
it comes to buying fabrics and bargaining with
traders”, she adds.
“I dream of expanding my business, building-up a
good reputation around the neighboring villages
and maybe start marketing my products online to
penetrate new markets”, Nesma says.