In 2014, Salesian Missions, thanks to support of external donors, began working with the “Instituto Don Bosco” in Cairo to fund scholarships as part of the “Sunrise Project”. This skills training program assists refugees and vulnerable Egyptians in gaining the technical and life skills they need to find employment and support their families.
One of the grantees, Hwaida Eltegany Awaad, is a 48-year-old mother of five and is originally from the Sudan. She created a home-based sewing business with her seed funding. Awaad is the head of her household and responsible for caring for her children and her mothers. The seed funding allowed her to launch her business using her sewing machine, an iron, needles and bed fabrics. She had sewing training in the Don Bosco Institute and is now making bed sheets and pillow covers for her clients. She is also using the leftover fabrics to make sofa remote control holders.
Awaad is promoting her products through her connections to some of the high-class Egyptians in the fifth settlement. She is making excellent profits from the remote holders. In fact, she is making more money from the remote holder than the bed sheets. Now, she is thinking about starting a workshop with other Sudanese women.
Another seed grant recipient, Aldardaa Makin, is a 35-year-old Sudanese mother of two children who is also responsible for taking care of her husband. She launched a home-based business using two sewing machines, colorful yarns and needles, reinforced plastic bags and special fabrics for bags. Makin is creating hand bags, toys and shopping bags.
“The technical training and seed grant program have allowed many participants to increase their skill level and launch their own businesses,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The additional social services provided during this project have also been a real success, ensuring that participants have the health screening they need as well as the nutrition in order to focus their attention on the training.”
The “Sunrise Project” also provides life skills training, health awareness, entrepreneurship literacy workshops, job panels, seed grants, and violence prevention training to help refugees build the skills needed to succeed in the workplace and adjust in their new urban environments. One of the great successes of the project is the additional social services, including transportation vouchers for travel to and from the courses, funded for participants. Those engaged in the training are also provided vouchers to purchase groceries and other items from a local store. This helps to ensure that basic needs like nutrition are met for these individuals, as they work hard to meet the needs for themselves.
Each participant also receives a voucher for a primary care check-up and eye exam with a doctor who comes to the school. Some medicine prescriptions are included, and they receive referrals for secondary care as needed.
Including this project year, the Sunrise Project in Cairo has improved the livelihoods and quality of life of more than 1,300 Sub-Saharan African and Syrian refugees and vulnerable Egyptians.
Source: Salesian Missions