December 11, 2018
Latest News

Homeless people on Egypt's streets given helping hand, place to stay

Cairo, Dec 4 (efe-epa).- People living on the streets of the Egyptian capital Cairo are being given housing and aid by a growing number of charitable non-profit organizations, EFE reported Tuesday.

Since 2014, one such organization called Together to Save a Human has helped some 80 persons reconnect with their families, and currently hosts many others at its three care homes in Cairo.

Elderly homeless people are particularly vulnerable to harassment and disease, people like Mustafa, whose rescue from a park before the onset of winter was documented by an epe-efe journalist.

Mustafa had to be carried in a volunteer's arms out of the park, and a medical exam at the organization's nursing home revealed a large decubitus ulcer - commonly known as a bed sore - on his back due to lack of movement.

The team also cut Mustafa's hair and shaved his beard as a way to clean him and remove lice.

Epa-efe photos showed him smiling and in much higher spirits than he had been a few hours earlier.

The organization grew out of an incident in which one of its founders tried to find help for a person he met living in a major Cairo street, but was unable to get them into a nursing home due to overcrowding.

Now, Together to Save a Human also has a women's center, where a young woman named Menna - abandoned by her family after becoming disabled in a car accident - has recently gotten engaged to a young man named Hamdy, who had also been living unhoused.

Her fiancée Hamdy was left on the streets by his family, but now works as a staff member at the care home and receives a monthly salary.

Not all those who receive help are able to make a new start - some will spend their final days in the organization's care.

Volunteers told EFE that Mohamed Shehab, 60, was close to giving up on life when they found him, but was convinced to come to the nursing home.

Soon afterwards, he stopped eating or drinking until he died, and volunteers solemnly carried his body wrapped in a white shroud to be buried.

Around two million people are homeless in Egypt, according to a recent local survey, out of a total population of 97 million.

A 2005 estimate by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) put the number at 1 million.

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