In Egypt, Nebny’s Blueprint for Job Skills, Community Hope
In post-revolution Egypt, one group of young Egyptians, mainly led by activist and entrepreneur Jawad Nabulsi (see video below), decided to rebuild Egypt through a different sort of NGO. Their vision was to create a youth-centered community development foundation the dual goals of building a sustainable economy, while simultaneously cultivate a sense of national identity and belonging. “Nebny” the Arabic verb for “to build,” was thus founded with a long-term, diverse vision in building Egypt both economically and socially.
Nebny Foundation is widely viewed as successful model for a youth civil society organization model in post-revolution Egypt. The foundation focuses on training youth for employment opportunities and community development, specifically those who are from unprivileged communities or slum areas. The foundation is funded by local Egyptians and the diaspora as well as various collaborations with the private sector such as a notable real-estate company Emaar Misr.
Nebny Foundation works on community infrastructure and renovation as a parallel approach in engaging underprivileged youth in society. One major slum area Nebny is working to develop is Manshiet Nasser, an informal district slum area in Cairo with a population of around one million. Manshiet Nasser is known as “The City of Garbage” as it is home to the garbage collectors in Cairo and thus causes many environmental problems especially with regards to water and air pollution, and poor infrastructure as it is located nearby a rocky hill. The foundation hopes to take advantage of the residents ’s skills’ in recycling and handicrafts and making it a potential spot for a cultural touristic attraction and also establishing a youth, cultural, and medical centers to provide proper educational training and services to Manshiet Nasser community.
In July 2011, the foundation, along with the Ministry of Tourism, hosted a festival known as Egypt. Now Festival. The motto was “youth for freedom,” and sought gather further funds and promote tourism while encouraging the local economy post-revolution Egypt. The festival featured local music bands, art exhibitions, an open bazaar of local handicrafts and an outdoor cinema for Egyptian films that focused on the 18 days of revolution.
There are several other events that Nebny is creating for community outreach such as clothes exhibitions at affordable prices in Manshiet Nasser and events like “Soccer Without Borders” and “Manshiet Nasser with Colors,” which use soccer and art to unleash children and youth leadership potential and personal growth. Nebny Foundation is working on several long-term projects, such as a center for entrepreneurship that will mentor and motivate youth to start and lead their own businesses.
Nabulsi recently shared his experience in the Egyptian revolution. He discusses the goals fo the Nebny Foundation later in the video (around minute 7).