In a collaborative agreement between the Japanese government and the longstanding Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS), a new factory was established to produce artificial limbs and devices to aid those with paralysis while employing modern technology.
The factory, located in Al-Obour city, is set to provide 200 pieces in 2018. The factory has also thus far employed five people with disabilities.
"The realization of the project does not only expand physical capabilities of individuals with physical difficulties, but also provides them with a wider potentiality as well as hope for their future path," said an official statement issued by the Japanese embassy in Egypt. The factory was supported by Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots and Human Security Projects with $90,908 in funding.
The Japanese Grant Assistance for Grassroots and Human Security Projects is the scheme that provides support to non-profit and non-governmental organizations in order to improve basic human needs, such as education, health and social care. This scheme was launched in Egypt in 1994, and around 160 projects have been implemented to date, totalling about $8 million.
The Embassy of Japan’s Minister to Egypt Kenichiro Mukai, who attended the opening ceremony of the project, stressed the importance of strengthening the ties between Egypt and Japan, and expressed his determination to continue supporting the organization’s collective efforts and hopes that this project would serve as a model case that might be replicated in other areas in Egypt.
Around 10,000 Egyptians benefit from CEOSS's disabilities program annually. CEOSS's efforts push for integrating people with disabilities in entertainment, education and job facilities, turning their homes and public areas into more accessible spaces, teaching families how to deal with disabled family members and launching awareness campaigns about their rights.
In 2010, CEOSS launched a mobile unit for the maintenance of wheelchairs and other devices. "We found that people use the devices for a while then throw them away, when they could simply be maintained," said Margarite Saroufim, CEOSS's Local Development Senior Manager. The service was facilitated by disabled people who were carrying it out "from the heart. They knew what it felt like to have such a need," said Saroufim.
"My work is very rewarding because the gratitude is instantaneous. You see how they go from frustration to hope. People with disabilities are full of potentials, perhaps more so than 'normal'," said Saroufim.
The disabilities program is just one of many fields the NGO covers. Founded in 1960, CEOSS serves two million Egyptians throughout several governorates, including Cairo, Giza, Al-Minya and Sohag.
CEOSS is now calling on Egyptian businessmen to fulfil their social responsibility, wanting to depend more on local funding.
During the ceremony, Mukai paid tribute to CEOSS for its long-standing contributions and efforts to work in the field of social development. The Embassy of Japan has previously collaborated with CEOSS in 2000 and 2011 within the same program to support socially and economically marginalized groups of people.
Qalioubiya Governor Representative Magdy Nagah, Minister Advisor for NGOs and International Funding Isam El-adawi, Head of Health Committee in the Egyptian Parliament Mohamed Elamary and member of Women’s Committee for Special Needs at the National Women Council Heba Hagras also attended the ceremony, which took place on July 31.