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Eight-Year-Old Child Cannot Go to School so He Sells His Drawings on the Stairs of a Cairo Metro

Eight-Year-Old Child Cannot Go to School so He Sells His Drawings on the Stairs of a Cairo Metro

Imagine being told you can not return to school until you have 1000 pounds ($US 128). Imagine you’re just eight-years-old.

Moaaz was discovered by journalist Mohamed Ragab on the steps of a metro station near Cairo University. In a turquoise and yellow ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ jacket, Moaaz shows a diverse sample of his sketches to the journalist.

“Do you sell these drawings?” asks Ragab to the young, wide-eyed boy.

“Yes…for five pounds,” answers Moaaz with a smile. “I only sold three [drawings] today.”

“Do you sell anything else?” continues Ragab.

“Napkins,” says Moaz, pointing to a few packets next to his sketchbook.

Curious, Ragab asks whether Moaz goes to school.

“I used to go,” says Moaz with a hint of sadness. “I was staying with my [paternal] grandmother and then went to my father. He didn’t wake me up for school or give me any pocket money. I stayed a long time there.”

“Then I went back to my grandmother and she tried to get me back to school but they said I was too late and have to pay 1000 pounds because the [school] year has already started,” says Moaz who should have been in the third grade.

Despite having to sell napkins and his drawings on the steps of a Cairo metro, Moaz says “yes” when asked whether he is happy. However, his dream of going to school, a simple basic right for every child, remains unrealized.

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Mohamed Khairat is the Founder of Egyptian Streets.

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