A spacious playground, a computer lab, a library, a 150-seat theater, and an art room, all located in a colorful school in the middle of Cairo’s informal slums. This is just one of Tawasol’s accomplishments to date.
With the help of Egypt’s Ministry of Education and generous donations, Tawasol built a community school for dropouts and children who never attended school. The school offers free quality education and an elementary school certificate certified by the Ministry of Education. Today, more than 91 students have graduated from Tawasol, and received this certificate.
In 2020, Tawasol built a new community school to accommodate a larger number of students, and accordingly, attend to the community’s needs.
In Egypt, philanthropic work is the most common form of giving. Stemming from a sense of community and togetherness, Egyptians are often at the forefront of providing for the less fortunate. From the idea of reaching out to the community, Tawasol (‘communication’) was born.
Founded in 2008, Tawasol for Developing Istabl Antar NGO (Tawasol Egypt) was developed as an NGO registered with the Ministry of Social Solidarity to serve the low-income communities in three of Cairo’s informal settlements: Ezzbet Khairallah, Istabl Antar, and Batn El Baqara or Dar Al Salam.
In Ramadan 2005, like many Egyptians, Yasmina Abou Youssef collected money to distribute food to impoverished communities. After which, she realized that while distributing food is a wonderful cause, those who are unemployed and those who are uneducated remain as they are. Realizing she had to do something about it, she founded Tawasol.
Tawasol provides jobs for low-income families, gives vocational training, academic education, and arts, and offers health awareness sessions and services.
Meanwhile, Tawasol’s Vocational Training Center provides women and youth an opportunity to learn Egyptian craftsmanship and handicrafts, such as woodwork, metalwork, embroidery, crochet, and sewing.
Through this center, members of the Tawasol community from low-income families create products that are handmade and sold to financially support themselves and the community. From clothing to home decor, the proceeds are given back either as wages or to support community development projects.
To differentiate themselves from other NGOs, and as part of their efforts to give their students a creative outlet, in 2012, Tawasol launched a performing arts program for students to develop their skills and talents in circus arts, theater, choir, and Egyptian folklore.
Additionally, Tawasol provides health checkups and treatments at its clinic, and aims to increase the number of clinics in the area.
With multiple arms, Tawasol is a holistic and comprehensive community development NGO, and this is what differentiates it from like-minded philanthropists.