“’Hand by Hand’: how an EU-funded project is supporting the livelihoods of vulnerable migrants and refugees in Egypt

March 23, 2023
Share on

Funded by the European Union Trust Fund North of Africa and Caritas Egypt, the “Hand by Hand towards a better future for migrants and communities in Egypt” project has become an important point of reference for vulnerable migrants and refugees from all nationalities in Egypt since the start of its implementation. Via social, medical and emergency assistance, the project aims to strengthen the resilience of communities and allow vulnerable groups to maintain a dignified life in Alexandria and the North Coast of Egypt. The project also provides seed funding to small livelihood businesses. Read below the story of Risala and Aesha, two of the project’s beneficiaries.

Risala is a single mother of three, feeding three hundred. She left her country, Sudan, due to the situation; her children were missing school repeatedly and also became sick. Risala was unable to treat them and afford the necessary care, so she moved to Egypt in the hope of securing a better future for her family. In Alexandria, she found out about the EU-funded “Hand by Hand” project’s livelihood grants. Since Risala loved to cook, she decided to start her own patisserie business from home. “If it wasn’t for the project, I wouldn’t have thought about saving money aside and increasing my capital in order to support my childrens’ education,” she said. The “Hand by Hand” project granted Risala seed-funding for the purchase of her equipment to launch her business. Via Whatsapp, she increased her customer base, with her children assisting in deliveries of meals and pastries. Her products received lots of success. Risala was hired by a Sudanese coffee shop to cook, where she now has her very own spot in the sale of her home-made products. A local school also invited her cook meals for over 300 children.

Aesha has been the only caregiver of her sister’s son, Al Sadek, since he was 8 months old. Al Sadek suffers from cerebral palsy, restricting his motor ability and his balance. Aesha arrived to Egypt in hopes of finding better treatment for her nephew and her elder parents. As time passed, Aesha struggled to proceed with Al Sadek’s expensive physiotherapy. This is when she was oriented towards the EU-funded “Hand by Hand’s” project. Thanks to it, Aesha received a financial grant to support and sustain a decent life with her family, burdened by the costs of the treatment. Caritas also covered the medical treatments of Al Sadek. Today, Al Sadek is getting better, capable of sitting and standing. Aesha was also included in various cohesion activities such as the Nutrition Day or the Covid-19 awareness sessions. She also enjoyed various fun days out with Al Sadek for a change.

Besides Risala and Aesha, the Carita’s project has reached 2,232 migrant and refugee families so far, covering 7,329 individuals living in the North Coast of Egypt. It continues to receive an average of 100 new arrivals each month and continues to expand its scope.