From Helpless to Fruitful


At age 42, a man's age of peak productivity, Fatma's father lost his left arm, left eye, right thumb and almost his right eye too when he tripped on a landmine left from World War II. As a result, his life got drastically messed up especially with nine children.

According to Egypt's State Information Service Egypt has 23 million landmines, almost 20% of the world's total number. Over the past 25 years, about 7,923 people were victimized by landmines, including 3,200 dead and 4,723 injured.

Hilights

  • According to Egypt's State Information Service Egypt has 23 million landmines.
  • Over the past 25 years, about 7,923 people were victimized by landmines, including 3,200 dead and 4,723 injured.
  • 25% of Egypt’s potential natural resources are located in the North-West Coast.

Fatma Ali is a 27 years-old divorced woman from Dabaa at Matrouh who had to drop school at seven years old due to her father's accident.  Almost illiterate yet with a strong spirit who believed she can change her difficult life having no income and having to timidly share in the few pounds of her father's pension for those disabled.  

The North West Coast Development Plan and Mine Action project implemented by the Government of Egypt with UNDP support has been overseeing de-mining activities based on clearly identified humanitarian and development needs since 2007. 25% of Egypt’s potential natural resources are located in the North-West Coast. The project aims to free up this potential by clearing contaminated fields and supporting surrounding communities’ living conditions.  It also conducts mine risk education and victim assistance activities such as rehabilitation services, creating income-generating initiatives and providing microcredit loans for mine victims and/or their direct relatives such as Fatma.

Fatma heard of the microcredit loans in August 2013 from a Mine Victims CSO in Matrouh and  contacted them concerning buying her a sewing machine instead of providing her with the cash that would get spent on family expenditure. Sensing her potential, she was immediately assisted.  She started to work efficiently generating an average net profit of 150- 200 EGP (approximately $20 -28)  per month after paying her loan on monthly installment basis over eighteen months (around 165 EGP per month).  Fatma feels empowered, self-reliant, and in control supporting herself and family.  

Set free of her traditional constraining cultural setting and painful tragedy, Fatma is determined to succeed.  Fatma is dreaming big and says " I hope one day I will have my own outlet to sell my products and am planning and hoping for an embroider machine to expand my work and profit.  I want to develop myself and become productive rather than being a burden."