In addition to lifting thousands out of poverty every year, CEOSS strives to empower the women of Egypt, over 50% of whom are illiterate.
Despite Egypt’s significant economic growth in recent years, tens of millions there still live in desperately poor situations. Poverty manifests itself in the unsanitary, crowded and dangerous living conditions of poor rural communities and urban squatter settlements alike. Families in these communities experience high infant mortality rates, and lack of access to health care, schooling, clean water, and sanitation.
These challenges are compounded by soaring rates of unemployment within these communities. Women and children are most affected by poverty. More than half the women in Egypt are illiterate, their education held back by cultural tradition, discrimination and poverty. In a country where even 10-year olds in many poor families must work so the family can survive, it is vitally important to improve the economic prospects of the adults so they can provide adequately for their children.
CEOSS provides small loans to poor individuals so they can start and establish their own micro businesses. Program staff also provides ongoing support to each entrepreneur to ensure the success of his or her enterprise. Such support includes training, counseling, and marketing advice.