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SISTER SARA AND CAIRO’S FORGOTTEN

SISTER SARA AND CAIRO’S FORGOTTEN (60 photos) Send this reportage Send this reportage
Sister Sara has been helping Cairo’s trashmen for more than 30 years now. Since sister Emmanuelle's retirement, her « egyptian sister » has been looking after the Zabaleen (meaning « the people of trash »). For more than 50 years, these men, bended in two, surmounted by a kind of hod, travel through Cairo, an 18 million inhabitant megalopolis. Who are they ? Where are they going ? What are they doing ?
© Ph. DUREUIL./TheReportage.com
Categories: Child, Education, Religion, Social life, Woman story, Social, Woman Interest, Portrait, Big Story
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Everyday, within a very structured organization, they are 40 000 to work to get rid of the City’s domestic rubbish.
Sister Sara has been working for more than 30 years in order for these « forgotten of life » to not fall into oblivion.
In her fight against misery, her strenghth is based on an invincible will but also and mostly on an unshakeable faith…. In mankind.
Encounter with a very unique « woman-teacher ».
The Mokattam is a hill at the south of Cairo and the taxis willing to drive you there are more than rare.
We are standing far away from the pyramids, the Pharaohs or other egyptian touristic clichés.
Here, trash piles up to form pyramids and their constructors are the Zabbalins.
23 000 of them live and work in Mokattam, among the rubbish and surrounded by pigs and rats.
These ragmen live from the collection, the sorting out and the recycling of rubbish that they pick up at Cairenes' homes. On men’s backs, or on old carts pulled by donkeys, these shunks of trash are taken on Mokattam’s hill. In this ignored society, 80% of collected rubbish is recycled against only 20% in Occident.