Egypt

Young people in my country are very intelligent and creative by nature, but all of them face a very bad situation in education and in life in general after they finish their studies. There is little chance to get good work and create your own career. That is why they try to get a good chance outside Egypt. Governments do their best and efforts to overcome obstacles through implementing projects, which are the first step for citizens. But each one of us has to have a role to share in that establishment. This shared effort should be for citizens, not for governments. That is why voluntary work had an important role in countries years ago. By the use of informal education which we try to do in our organisation we let young people trust themselves to do their best, to be what they want to be. We learned this through the training courses and meetings which we attend to within the Youth Programme.

Dreaming. This is the most suitable word to describe youth. They are dreaming about tomorrow and the better future that they long to have. I know that all of us in the world have problems. But each nation has its own. Ours are unemployment and drug addiction, although this is not crucial. Youths know that it is their destiny to be here, to face and fight for better careers. Every young man on this land knows that he must be great like his grandfathers, like the great pharaohs who were full of power. This power is the power of their dreams.

Young people in Egypt suffer mainly from poverty and joblessness.

Most of the young people here in Egypt did not have the chance to practise anything or to learn anything because from childhood they were going to school and learn some material that did not give them any benefit. They study it for succeeding in their examination, then going to university and try to finish it quickly to get a chance to work. But after that they discover that there is no work for them because thousand of students graduated every year before them. Then they think that they are supposed to get more knowledge and more experience to use it in this time. So I think that a programme like ours is very good because we learnt a lot from it and helped us to get work because we are qualified. Also, the government tries to introduce money to Egyptian youth to make a small project to solve this problem, or trying to fix the desert as some solution. Even the association makes projects like those I worked in to solve that.

We are 70 million people in Egypt, and in Cairo only there are 20 million persons. So we are suffering from many kinds of problems like unemployment, and a variety of environmental problems, especially air and water pollution. Furthermore, we are living only on 10% of our land. The other 90% is free land with deserts. So we are suffering from bad organisation. We hope that one day we will find a solution and work together to overcome this bad time.

I am working with young people between 17-26 years old. They are studying in different universities and have different needs and dreams for their future but we face many problems. For example it is not easy to find a good job after they finish their studies. Otherwise they have free time but do not know how to spend that time and organise it to their advantage. We used to develop workshops and meetings with young people periodically, every two weeks, to talk to them, help them in their problems at university and schools and try to meet their needs from the organisation with some activities such as trips from time to time for one or three days, or ask them to work as volunteers. We organised sessions based on self-learning, and some cultural and scientific events to improve the scientific and cultural level among youth.

From my point of view, young people in Egypt are not involved in intercultural exchanges. I mean that cultural exchanges are somehow in a closed circle of young people but the majority of youngsters are away from it. They are only interested in their studies and holidays. Also many youngsters do not participate in the political life although they understand it well and are able to talk about it. They have moderate interest in sports and religions. They are very motivated when they are encouraged by the authorities. During holidays one can find many volunteers. Our youngsters like social relations and they are looking for them in any field.

Ambitious, talented and enthusiastic. However, they need to be open to the world around them and have more communication facilities with others.

The Egyptian youngsters are more than 35 million, representing 50% of the Egyptian people. Young people in Egypt are very active and work diligently. They have a very rich cultural heritage from many thousands of years. Thus they are very creative but they need an opportunity to make their ideas and views real. The main factors affecting the action of Egyptian young people are emotions, religion, customs and tradition. Young people in Egypt want to be given a chance to meet others from different backgrounds, share universal issues and to learn new techniques and methods of non-formal education, as this will improve their perception of an international context and understanding. The Egyptian young people like and believe in volunteerism. They want to give their effort and time to build the Egyptian community but they need the right chance.

In this section I shall talk about Egyptian youth and myself, as being one of them. It is so hard sometimes to describe yourself. But I see respect in the eyes of Egyptian youth towards each other. I see in every Egyptian youth something special. Natural talents need a little help to be expressed. Egyptian youths are very motivated towards knowing more and enhancing new creative ideas, towards a real change for the better, towards learning and interaction. They are also very friendly and have the will to do and take action. I see in them part of the problem and I see in them the solution.

There are active people looking for more care because the government does not help them with jobs. It is very usual to see a doctor working as a doorman. We need more democracy, as our young people have great minds, but they need a chance to advance.

There are a lot of free universities in Egypt which are encouraged by the government. Up to 80% of young people in Egypt have a university degree. However, the education level is not good due to a huge number of students and no money in the universities. And the problem that young people face is that there are no jobs and you can, for instance, find a young man that is graduated from the faculty of medicine working as a taxi driver because he did not find an appropriate job. Young people in Egypt and all Egyptians are kind and generous. This is due to the fact that Egypt is a tourist country and all people treat tourists in a very kind way. Young people in Egypt do not know a lot of languages, enjoy having fun and like their country a lot.

Within the Government, the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports – Ministry of Youth coordinates the national youth policy of Egypt together with other youth serving ministries and youth NGOs. Set up in 1965, the Council had 1,340 affiliated member organisations as of 1990 and serves as a planning and programming body which lays down the policy of youth welfare in the various fields (cultural, social, artistic, etc.) It also sponsors youth camps, competitions, and study-travel projects. All citizens aged 18 and over are eligible to vote. The government recognises the right of national youth movements to organise on a non-governmental basis for political and/or non-political purposes. The youth policy in Egypt devotes special attention to disabled youth, rural youth, as well as youth in areas with particular difficulties. In the mid 70′s the Government established the Higher Council for Youth to co-ordinate training activities in the respective sectors with ministries of education, health, employment, social affairs and industry. One example has been the legislative and financial support given to industries prepared to produce sports wear and entertainment products for youth. There is also concern for devising mechanisms which clearly guide how the implementation process will be undertaken at national, sub-regional and local levels.

I Education: The continuing presence of illiteracy covering 68 million people, 60% of whom are females, and the presence of 11 million children out of school. The deterioration of the quality of education. Most syllabuses depend upon memorising and ignoring the understanding of the child. They never have enough time for training on how to use their minds.
II Unemployment: Varies between 16 and 20% of the total labour force which is estimated at 28% of the total population, whereas it reaches 45% in industrial areas, a fact that reflects the high ratio of dependency per person. It is an important problem facing youth as jobs nowadays are not sufficient to take all graduates. Thus youths must achieve excellent skills to be distinguished from any of their colleagues to win a job. This problem also helped in decreasing wages and the abuse of employers, as they force employees to do many jobs. In addition to this there is a state of psychiatric instability as most employees are threatened to be fired. Some of the brightest migrate with others, forming a group of emigrant brains. Their countries lose their experiences while they give all what they can offer to other countries appreciating their thoughts.
III Gender: It is important to know that Egyptian women suffer more than man. She is not given her full rights in education. She is limited to the same jobs.

Young people here are very interested in their studies, so much so that most of them have a university degree. I know that most of them may have a great interest in international relations and youth exchanges but did not participate much because of an inability of youth organisations to reach them. In a political way they are aware of the political issues and have great emotions which appear in demonstrations. But they do not participate in political life as in elections. This could be because of the absence of trust. They have a lot of interest towards sports especially football among boys. They can do much if they are encouraged.

A lot of problems can be mentioned when we speak about youth in Egypt. Youth participation in public life and mainly political life suffer a lot from the absence of democracy and pluralism in Egypt. Inside university the government puts legal restrictions before students’ participation and freedom of expression, in which I am interested a lot. The government interferes in the structure that represents students and impedes its work. The cultural sphere, which is injected by fundamental and religious ideas, affected the orientations of young people, their political choices and values. Another concern can be raised related to the economic situation in Egypt. High level of unemployment and lack of efficient education chances helped the idea of immigration become widely spread among youth.

I will speak from my point of view because really I am very depressed from the youth mentality in my country, because the only thing youths can think about is fashion and the accessories of life such as mobiles, cars, parties and everything that can be useless to them, and the government helps them to get involved in these things more and more to keep them far away from the thoughts of the social establishments. So we must make our voices loud so that they hear us and we get them in the correct way.

Challenges faced by Egyptian youth are not simple. They deal with a situation that entails flexibility and translocation of the community, employment and capital. There are three elements which are essential to develop life projects inspired by sustainability: the social aspect, highlighting that community represents the establishment of links; employment rescues both knowledge and action, understood as a whole process; and capital includes the productive aspect, translated into tools, resources and abilities for process management. Our current challenges also represent opportunities and ethic imperatives for the future. Youth must promote sustainability, and in this process, the Earth Charter may be both the guidelines and the means for meeting the goals. Egyptian youth are so active when they feel that there is importance for their efforts and activities. So we can say that there is general realisation with the facts in Egypt.

They are fine, but they need opportunities to make real development.

Our youth is full of enthusiasm to change, and looks for the better through exchanging culture and education, looking for more involvement in decision-making and empowering its roles for its society development.

We, the young people in Egypt, are very active, intelligent and we love our country very much. We are waiting for any chance to serve our beloved country Egypt. Of course, we face a lot of problems but these will not affect us.

I can arrange a text about young people in Egypt and in the Middle East before and after the 11th September.

There is no doubt that youth is the pillar of development. Youth in Egypt is open-minded and encouraged, although they need a legal and more liberal path to go through and achieve their ambitions and hopes. The government tries to solve the barrier of unemployment to set them free from bad circumstances, but although these efforts are appreciated, they cannot cover all youth sectors and standards. These programmes and services focus on highly educated youth. At the same time they ignore the middle standard educated youth and the illiterate people who endeavour to achieve. They are in urgent need to have systematic and disciplined organisations and programmes which can provide them with the basic requirements for life. Through this way we can guarantee that they never turn to violence or terrorism in order to punish the world which deprived them from their rights.

Young people in Egypt suffer from lack of motivation and capabilities to change the critical economic, social and political situation in their country. The ministry of youth does not substantially have a national action plan directed towards young people to address their main concerns such as employment, health, education, development, culture and all the sectors of society. Youth organisations in Egypt lack autonomy versus their relations with governmental institutions. Their work is limited in certain fields and they are unofficially forbidden from expressing or belonging to any political party or discussing certain issues. Yet the government is not responsible alone for the current difficult situation in Egypt, but also youth themselves who prefer their personal interests to the general or national ones. The lack of human resources is one of the greatest obstacles to the efficient work of youth organisations in Egypt. Also, the lack of financial resources is one to be seriously considered. At last, there is also a lack of management and technical capabilities. All these factors influence young people’s activities in the Egyptian social society. It prevents them from becoming active and engaged citizens, aware of the challenges ahead of them and conscious of the solutions for them. Young people are unfortunately seen as part of the problem while they may hold the answers in their heads.

They are not well-educated. But they are enjoying high humour manners. They really need many requirements such as good education, proper nutrition, cultural promotions and employment. Many of them have great energy but it is unexploited. They really need to appreciate themselves and to learn how to listen and to co-operate in team work.

More than 20% of the total population in Egypt is youth. Youth plays an increasing and important role in all fields of life in Egypt. They express themselves and their cases freely and in a democratic atmosphere. They like to share their knowledge, culture, and tradition with other young people from different countries. Youth in Egypt faces serious problems due to the economic situation of the country. Topping the list of problems are the high unemployment rates, lack of social mobility and unequal distribution of income. The Egyptian community is confronting a huge discrepancy between the per capita income of the upper economic classes and the middle and lower income brackets.

Egypt’s population today contains the largest cohort of adolescents in the country’s history, with more than 13 million boys and girls aged 10 to 19. Rural adolescent girls are by far the most disadvantaged subgroup of Egypt’s youth. They are at risk from malnutrition, early marriage and poor pregnancy outcomes. Adolescents in Egypt are typically shielded from information about reproduction and sexuality due to religious traditions and cultural taboos, yet many Egyptian girls are expected to enter into early or forced marriage in which pregnancy occurs almost immediately after their union. One fifth of girls aged 16 to 19 in rural Upper Egypt are married, and more than half of ever-married adolescents report having had a previous pregnancy. As a result, these girls face marriage and their first pregnancy with little or no information or skills to prepare them for their reproductive roles, placing them at risk from poor reproductive health. Also threatening the reproductive health of young girls is the practice of female circumcision (also known as female genital mutilation or cutting), which is widespread in Egypt. According to the Demographic and Health Survey, in 1995 88% of unmarried adolescent girls aged 13-19 in Upper Egypt were circumcised. In the education arena, Upper Egyptian rural girls are not faring any better. A needs assessment in Upper Egypt demonstrated that school access for rural girls aged 12-19 has lagged significantly behind that of the rest of the country. A strong disparity in boys’ and girls’ social access to their peers and to public spaces begins in childhood and is exacerbated in adolescence. While the gender gap in primary school attendance is closing for the younger ages, data from the 2000 Demographic and Health Survey shows that 54% of rural Upper Egyptian girls aged 13 to 15 are not enrolled in the formal education system, compared to 11% of boys. Girls in this region are also more likely than boys to drop out of school.

Young people (15-24) in Egypt comprise about 25% of the population. Until recently youth in Egypt have been marginalised from actively participating in public life. However, a few years ago young people started to get really involved actively in the third sector and have shown interest in taking part in community development. Though this is still not very high it has increased tremendously. Quite often, young people were not taken seriously, and their points of view were not included in society. Moreover, we have to admit that young people in Egypt face a number of problems including the fact that there is still a high illiteracy rate: about 61.2% for males and 36.4% for females (2000 consensus) with a high rate of unemployment. All these are challenges that address Egyptian youth and that need to be taken into consideration in order to understand fully the problems and solutions. However, we cannot deny the fact that there has been a positive change in recent years.

There are 1.7 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world today, the majority of whom live in developing countries. For many it is a period of discovery, of dreaming, and of hopes for the future. Adolescence is that transitional phase between childhood and adulthood when attitudes are consolidated, long-term skills are acquired, and life courses charted. Yet in many settings, adolescence is a time when the world expands for boys and contracts for girls, and the gender disparities in opportunity and expectations become particularly pronounced. Girls may have narrowed social networks. There are few collective spaces in which they can gather to meet with peers, receive mentoring, support, and acquire skills. Girls’ lives become increasingly restricted to the domestic sphere, nominally in order to protect them. These young people face tremendous challenges to their healthy development, as most lack access to the information, skills, services and support needed to make well-informed, responsible decisions. Egypt’s population today contains the largest cohort of adolescents in the country’s history, with more than 13 million boys and girls aged 10 to 19. Rural adolescent girls are by far the most disadvantaged subgroup of Egypt’s youth. They are at risk from malnutrition, early marriage and poor pregnancy outcomes. Adolescents in Egypt are typically shielded from information about reproduction and sexuality due to religious traditions and cultural taboos. Yet many Egyptian girls are expected to enter into early or forced marriage in which pregnancy occurs almost immediately after their union. One fifth of girls aged 16 to 19 in rural Upper Egypt are married and more than half of ever-married adolescents report having had a previous pregnancy. As a result, these girls face marriage and their first pregnancy with little or no information or skills to prepare them for their reproductive roles, placing them at risk from poor reproductive health. In the education arena, Upper Egyptian rural girls are not faring any better. A needs assessment in Upper Egypt demonstrated that school access for rural girls aged 12-19 has lagged significantly behind that of the rest of the country. A strong disparity in boys’ and girls’ social access to their peers and to public spaces begins in childhood and is exacerbated in adolescence. While the gender gap in primary school attendance is closing for the younger ages, data from the 2000 Demographic and Health Survey shows that 54% of rural Upper Egyptian girls aged 13 to 15 are not enrolled in the formal education system, compared to 11% of boys. Girls in this region are also more likely than boys to drop out of school. Short of attending school, girls in rural Upper Egypt find themselves restricted by close family supervision, lack of access to peers, and norms severely constraining their mobility. Conversely, boys’ lack of supervision can lead to inappropriate or dangerous behaviour and exposure to physical risks and accidents. Adolescent girls in this context are noticeably absent from public spaces and have limited social networks. This restricted mobility deprives the girls from many social and cultural opportunities to learn and grow as self-confident and productive members of the community. Identifying effective strategies to increase girls’ mobility within their community is an enormous yet important challenge.

In Egypt we give a great concern to youth in various ways, such as the economic, social and political spheres. We have a separate ministry for youth which has many activities regarding the youth sector, such as youth parliament, future youth associations, youth centres, and science and technology clubs. The Future Generation Foundation gave direct support and training to more than 5000 recent graduates from Egyptian universities, including many from economically under-privileged backgrounds. These young people represent the hope and the potential for future prosperity, and with our help they can be prepared to enter the marketplace, ready to meet the standards of any international organisation. Egypt’s youth is its future. In my view, there can be no better way for us, as engaged and responsible citizens, to contribute to economic growth, than to help prepare young people for success. By showing our support for future generations we are voting for a more peaceful and prosperous future.

Most of the young people in Egypt wish to travel abroad (Italy, France, etc.) by illegal immigration to reach their goals.

There are a lot of poor young people here in Egypt due to the absence of money. This leads them to commit crimes, to steal money and also leads them to leave their schools, resulting in an increase in the number of ignorant people. Also absence of money leads them to many bad habits such as smoking, taking drugs as cannabis and marijuana. Of course one might ask how do they get money for such things. As I told you before, from stolen money. So they become thieves and drug dealers. However, there is a large number of young children who live a very good life with their families. We want the first type of adolescents to be like the latter ones.

Some are very impressive and some are not. But those who are impressive can really amaze you. So we try to make those who are not like those who are.