At Egypt’s ‘Garbage City,’ a nonprofit organization trains kids to recycle.


As a child, Teresa Saeed spent her free time in the Cairo slum Manshiyat Nasser. It is often known as “Garbage City,” where she found paper and creative tools amid the waste.

She is now 34 years old and leads a charity. They teach local children the importance of exploring their environment and recycling.

Many streets and homes in Manshiyat Nasser, a district of unpainted brick buildings east of downtown Cairo, are piled high with waste that has been collected from all over the city and, in some instances, unofficially treated or repurposed.

“The objective is to ensure that young children are constantly exposed to recycling. Instead of just instructing people to recycle, why not demonstrate how to do it in a way that benefits everyone?

Mesaha is the Arabic word for “space,” and Saeed’s nonprofit hosts’ weekly recycling activities for 150 to 200 children aged 6 to 15 years old.

The children had made works of art, musical instruments, and piggy banks out of recycled materials. Those materials range from plastic bottles, twigs, cardboard, paper, and cans at the conclusion of the two-day seminars.

Saeed said, “These activities help children connect with their environment and think creatively.” “Instead of moaning about my community, what can I do to improve it?”

Saeed intends to expand the program to other regions of Egypt.

She believed that these children would become “change agents” in their industries or communities.


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