EGYPT: Helping refugee women to fend for themselves

IRIN – Thursday, 15 March 2012 (originally published 12 Mar)

Woman displays handcrafted earrings that she sells
Soleman teaches refugee women in Cairo how to make and sell handicrafts. Image: Andre Fecteau/IRIN

CAIRO, 12 March 2012 (IRIN) – Fatma Soleman’s small table at a special International Women’s Day bazaar in a suburb of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, was a bustle of activity as visitors admired handmade jewelry, colourful bags and gold-embroidered wallets on display.

For the past 12 years Soleman has been teaching hundreds of refugee women in Cairo how to create handicrafts and successfully sell them. “I teach women that they can do it,” she said. “I’m working to help refugees become self-reliant.”

Egypt is a signatory to the Geneva Convention for Refugees, but it bans them from seeking lawful employment, posing a survival challenging for the refugees . . .

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