Thursday, March 3, 2011
Egypt’s poorest families are suffering in the weeks following the uprising which began on January 25. Millions of workers have been hit hard by the lack of day-work and many are being made redundant as the stagnant Egyptian economy forces the closure of businesses.
Sa’daia lives in Ayyat, in the 6th October Governate. A mum of four and a widow, life is extremely difficult without the government pension that helped support the family before the uprising.
“My family could survive and eat two meals a day,” Sa’daia said, “But due to the current circumstances, the pension has stopped. I am borrowing money from my neighbours, although I know that their circumstances are no different from mine. I am so embarrassed to be a burden on them.”
When Sa’daia’s husband died, her son left school to help provide for the family. However, the family now struggle without even the small salary that Ahmad, 14, earned in the vegetable factory.
“The factory has been closed for three weeks now, so Ahmad is staying at home.” said Sa’daia. The unemployment rate in the town was 20% before the unrest began. Now, it’s thought that the figure could have tripled. With Ahmad unable to find any other work, even for a small amount of money, the family’s savings are running out, fast.
“Our emergency reserve is all used to buy food when the prices soared very high,” said Sa’daia “It consumed our entire budget. Don’t ask me if we will sleep with a full stomach tonight, or what will happen if one of the children falls ill, or the expenditures of the next school term, or even when it is time to repay my neighbours.”
Islamic Relief has been helping poor and vulnerable families in Egypt for more than a decade. We are appealing for your help to support and improve our work in the country, and in the wider region. Please donate to our Middle East and North Africa appeal today.