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Young Egyptian Street Vendor Shatters Stereotypes and Inspires Social Media Users

Young Egyptian Street Vendor Shatters Stereotypes and Inspires Social Media Users

يوسف بائع ” الفريسكا ” يقلب موازيين وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي ويضرب المثل لكل شاب!!#اخر_النهار

Posted by Al Nahar on Friday, December 18, 2015

With little to no improvement in Egypt’s struggle with unemployment, many young Egyptians face a rough start as they venture into their independent lives due to the lack of sufficient job opportunities. According to the latest statistics published by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAMPAS), 12.9 percent of Egyptians aged 15-64 are unemployed, while the rate increases to 26.3 percent for the age group 18-29.

However, despite what most Egyptians consider a bleak situation, 26-year-old Youssef, a street vendor who has grown popular in Cairo, and whose story has gone viral across the social networks, reminds young Egyptians that there always is a silver lining even if they have to make it themselves.

“[Selling] freska is quite a normal thing to do, but the important thing is for you to add your own touch to it,” says Youssef in a report by Akher al-Nahar TV show. “When you love something, you’ll find yourself giving it more than you expected you could.”

Freska, the Egyptian version of wafer stroopwafels, is traditionally sold by vendors who roam Egypt’s shores especially during summertime. Born in the coastal city of Alexandria, Youssef learned how to make freska from his father. However, unlike coastal cities, selling freska in Cairo is not seasonal.

“Most people comment that there are no job opportunities, and that the country [isn’t doing well], but have you searched for a job? Have you tried selling lupini beans? Where’s the shame in that?”

Iconic for his fashionable demeanor and the English songs that play out of the speakers he has attached to his “box of sweets”,  Youssef comments on how embarrassed he becomes when people stare at him or scan his outfit. “Just because you’re a vendor doesn’t mean that you put on anything; this is how I usually dress, I’m not making anything up.”

Similar to many youths, Youssef dreams of buying his own apartment and getting married. “I work so I can help my brother and mother.”

While many people may look down on jobs such as being a street vendor, Youssef reminds the youth that “what’s really shameful is being idle, and not helping yourself or your mind grow.

“Don’t just sit at the cafe, this won’t do you any good. Do anything, play a sport, just don’t be idle.”

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