Big Heart Foundation Egypt
Sharjah's Big Heart Foundation delegation headed by Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF visited the garment factory last week. The factory was established by the foundation in rural area of Qena Governorate in Upper Egypt to provide employment to underprivileged women.

Cairo: The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF), a Sharjah-based global humanitarian organisation dedicated to helping people in need worldwide, has changed the lives of more than 500 underprivileged Egyptian women and indirectly benefited more than 2,300 people through a women-empowerment project.

TBHF’s Ready Made Garments (RMG) Factory was launched in 2019 in rural area of Qena Governorate in Upper Egypt. It currently hires 426 female employees (142 full-timers and 284 part-timers), in addition to 80 staff members who work in a vocational training centre that provides relevant training and skills for women to enter the workforce. It aims to enhance women’s participation in the labour market.

Self-sufficient factory

The factory is self-sufficient and covers its entire operational costs while also allocating a percentage of profits to develop training programmes, implement safety measures, and acquire new machinery to enhance the quality of its products that are currently distributed across several Egyptian governorates. Going forward, the RMG Factory plans to market its high-quality products to neighbouring countries in the emerging markets of Asia and Africa.

Big Heart Foundation Egypt
The Big Heart Foundation delegation headed by Mariam Al Hammadi with women workers during their visit to the garment factory established by the Foundation in the rural area of Qena Governorate in Upper Egypt. Image Credit: Tawfiq Nasrallah/Gulf News

Call for donors

While stressing that 100 per cent of donations are allocated to supporting all those in need, particularly women and children, the foundation urged all donors and philanthropists to join hands and help change the lives of underprivileged individuals, saying it welcomes donations from all around the world.

Big Heart delegation

A high-level delegation from the Foundation led by Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF visited the factory last week. Saleh Alsaadi, Deputy Ambassador of the UAE to the Republic of Egypt; Reem Bin Karam, Director of NAMA Women Advancement, representatives of diverse UAE media institutions, and members of the Egyptian media, accompanied the TBHF Director during the visit.

The Big Heart Foundation had launched the $605,000 RMG Factory in Upper Egypt on a 500-metre square area as an extension of its ongoing development efforts in the area since 2017, including vocational training programmes to equip women with relevant training and skills to be able to enter the workforce. The project was implemented by the Egypt Network for Integrated Development (ENID) under United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Humble start

The factory commenced operations with 30 female employees only in 2019 and has since developed its training programmes and advanced its operations to cement its success and today, indirectly benefits more than 2,300 individuals, including families and extended relatives of employees.

Located in close proximity to the homes of its female workers, the Ready-Made Garments factory is the first of its kind in the Upper Egyptian District of Qena Governorate to manufacture export products. Launched to provide a source of sustainable income for beneficiary families, the factory provides a favourable work environment where the health and physical conditions of its workers are prioritised, and societal customs and traditions of the area are adhered to.

The opening of 12 nurseries near the factory to care for the children of employees has further attracted more females to work in the factory.

Big Heart Foundation
The Big Heart Delegation with women factory workers during a visit to Egypt Image Credit:

Vital contributor

Commenting on the visit, Mariam Al Hammadi, Director of TBHF, said: “We are proud of the outstanding efforts made by the RMG Factory in creating a sustainable economic enterprise within three years, and firmly establishing itself as a model for investment development projects. The fact that the factory’s growth and expansion have been facilitated under the leadership of Egyptian women gives us more reasons to be proud of this project.”

Ambitious idea

TBHF Director added: “Founded on an ambitious idea to utilise the energy and capacities of Egyptian women and the community, the factory has bolstered its status in the Egyptian market by meeting the local demand through long-term contracts, something which reflects the quality of products produced in the factory, and its commitment to becoming a vital contributor to the Egyptian economy.”

Al Hammadi added: “We hope that the success of the garment manufacturing business will lay the framework for the development of similar economic projects to expand the scope of our humanitarian efforts across rural areas of Egypt in line with the vision of Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of TBHF, to empower women, develop their skills, and support them to help advance the local communities.”

Bilateral relations

For his part, Saleh Alsaadi, Deputy Ambassador of the UAE to Egypt, said: “The enduring bilateral relations between the UAE and Egypt have become a model for Arab-Arab relations. This distinguished relationship based on mutual respect has flourished since the founding of the UAE and under the leadership of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Today, it continues to prosper under President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and their brothers, Their Highnesses, the Rulers of the Emirates.”

He added: “What distinguishes the humanitarian approach of the UAE, apart from its broad global appeal, is that it stems from pure humanitarian considerations and reflects the authentic nature of the Emirati people and their leadership, and their commitment to Islamic principles and values. Underlying the humanitarian values of the UAE is its vital role in strengthening relations with various countries and peoples of the world.”

Humanitarian support

Lauding TBHF’s initiatives and projects in Egypt, Alsaadi emphasised that Egypt looks upon any Emirati humanitarian support to any sector or region in Egypt as “brotherly support”, and added that any investments in the scientific, creative, and artisan-led economy in Egypt are investments in the development of the people of a country that is widely considered to be a key player in ensuring the stability of the Arab region.

TBHF efforts across Egypt

Over the past years, TBHF’s focus to deliver services and implement projects in Africa increased, particularly in Egypt. TBHF was able to broaden the scope of its services as well as development and humanitarian projects in cooperation with many strategic partners like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Egypt Network for Integrated Development (ENID), Magdi Yacoub Heart Foundation (MYF), National Cancer Institute, Ahl Masr Foundation, among others.

The Foundation’s mandate is to protect and empower vulnerable children and their families in vulnerable situations across the world. Since then, TBHF has provided health, education and emergency aid services — among others — to almost 4 million people in need more than 25 countries.