Partnership Report




Egypt, Middle East

EGY03 - NCEC Poverty Relief Programmes





Report Date: May 5, 2018

Report from BHW Egypt Partnership Facilitator 21st April 2018

local streets

 

Recent Events

This partnership only began early in 2018 so the impact of the funding has only just begun. The funds go into a pool of funds that has been set up and has been operating since 2011. There has been a huge increase in poverty in Cairo in the past few years and an increasing number of people are struggling to survive. 

In April I visited, talked with the key people and spent some hours visiting three members of the loan programme. It takes a long time to visit people in Egypt. It’s hard to move around the city, long distances and clogged roads. Also, when you get to the place there are no street names so it’s hard to find the house and then when you get there, in every place you have to have a meal!

H, M and I travelled to the area and met the local pastor, W. The loan programme is pushed out into communities through small, local churches. The pastor led us around the streets to find his people (above photo). 

good paperworkAt the time of receiving a loan, each person gets 12 chits (depending on the term of the loan). Each is filled out with the amount they must repay each month. The chit is then handed in with the payment. They are also given a receipt to sign for the full amount of the loan. The local church must send a reference to the team. Most loans are for a 12 month term, there are a few exceptions. The average size of a loan is EGP5,000, around US$270. 

Before a loan is issued, and from time to time after it is given, the team meets with the beneficiary. They pray with them, encourage them and assess their proposal. Each recipient has a file including their photo. None of these people would qualify for a bank loan and if they could get one it would be with a minimum of 16% interest. Here it is 8%. They encourage people to develop businesses that are manufacturing rather than just trading, they want them to be productive.  

 

Personal Stories

real hopeWe visited three beneficiaries to get an idea of how the project works, the type of things people are doing and to try and understand the issues they face. 

Number 1 is a man. We went to his apartment where he and his wife make women’s garments for sale. They have had a number of loans to get started and then to grow their business. He is very happy to have been given the opportunity. They make about 100 garments per week and sell them wholesale. They make no more than US$1 / garment. However, with the income they have been able to purchase the apartment they work out of. He was very proud and showed us all the gear he has and the garment he was working on. He has two children and is able to survive with this small business. Their business is in the middle of a huge, permanent market place with hundreds of shops selling garments.  

making a difference


Number 2 is a lady who lives in a little apartment with her husband and three boys, 14, 12 and 10. She is Jordanian married to an Egyptian. Their eldest son has some difficulties and he causes them a lot of grief and expense. Her husband works as a driver but gets very little income on a daily basis. He doesn’t get work every day. She got a EGP4,000 (around US$200) loan and purchased an electric sewing machine. She uses it to make clothes for her family and for other people as well. She doesn’t make a lot as she is paying the loan back but once the loan is paid it will be a very good supplement to their income. 

 

making a difference


Number 3 is a lady although her husband is the one with the loan. He was out working. He used the funds to put towards purchasing a tuk tuk so he is out all day trying to make some money. It’s tough and some days doesn’t cover costs. His loan was only a small percentage of the total amount he had to pay. He borrowed from others in the family and friends and the interest on those loans is very high. He has been repaying for 9 months so only has another 3 months and that will free up some more funds. She was very disappointed as we only had a cup of tea, not a full scale meal!

 

Overall they were very happy. It meant their children were able to go to school. They were eating more regularly and did not get sick as often. And, they could see a way out of their circumstances over time. They were very powerful testimonies. 

 

Partnership's Influence within the Community

As we moved around the community people came requesting loans, many people came. There is a long list of people wanting assistance. This is one of the reasons we became involved. In the house of number 2, there are four floors of Christian people, all related. One family out of 10 or 12 is getting assistance and all of them really need it. 

 

Current Issues and Challenges

The biggest challenge is the increasing poverty in the communities. The economic pressure is very intense and worsening. 

 

Prayer and Praise Points

1) That this programme is meeting real needs.
2) That there is a great process in place for people to apply and obtain loans.
3) That there is 100% repayment. In 11 years they have only had one failure and that was eventually repaid.
4) That there is a great team of people committed to making this work well and that through the network of churches there is access to people in need. 
5) That local churches are engaging with their people in holistic ways and empowering them. 

 

Comments

My first impression (first visit since commencing this partnership) is that this is a great project. It is meeting real needs and enhancing the impact of the good news. The team is very committed and passionate and know what they are doing. They have great processes in place, it’s hard to fault. 

There is almost unlimited room for expansion here. Later in the year we’ll get some more stories. 

 

 

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