The Zabaleen waste collectors | Eighteen Rabbit Fair Trade


The Zabaleen waste collectors

by Louise Davies | July 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

I'm part of Fairtrade Hay, which promotes Fairtrade in the town and encourages Fairtrade shopping. We've also been selling some ipad cases and purses made by the zabaleen people in Egypt, via one of our member's connections with an NGO in Egypt.


The zabaleen are waste collectors in Cairo. They go door to door collecting waste and recycle 85% of it. They've had a difficult time of it over recent years, when Mubarak's government brought in big businesses to handle waste, removing income from the zabaleen. To make matters worse, most of the pigs that they kept to consume the organic waste were slaughtered during the swine flu scare.


Since the change of government, things are looking up for the zabaleen. It has been acknowledged that the corporate waste management system failed, and the government are now looking to formalise the zabaleen's role as waste collectors. This will mean better wages, training, uniforms and government vehicles - as well as open lines of communication to officials. However, there is still a long way to go to properly integrate the zabeleen into society, ensuring access to education for children and the avoidance of child labour.  

Tagged: zabaleen

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