Ezbet Khairalla: not only one of Egypt’s largest unplanned communities, but also one of its most severely unserviced. Located in the southern part of Cairo, the impoverished neighborhood is home to almost 650,000 people, many of whom live without basic public works, including sewage, trash pickup, education, health services and social services.
When a community is high in population density, but low in income and public service attention, it becomes the perfect hotbed for crime, even unrest, both undesirables for a community trying to make the most of the very little it has.
Which is why Egyptian blogger Mahmoud Salem joined forces with the local nonprofit Khair Wa Baraka (Peace and Plenty) to launch a Twitter campaign that not only raises global awareness of Ezbet Khairalla, but also generates funding so that Khair Wa Baraka can continue to provide the community with outreach programs such as medical caravans and educational centers. With the help of 20 “power-Twitter users,” who collectively represented around 25,000 followers worldwide, Salem’s initiative, @tweetbackevent, generated over $330,000 for Ezbet Khairalla, with donations still pouring in.
The fundraising campaign is only the first step, Salem wrote on his blog, calling it “the first of its kind and aims to give back to Egypt by utilizing the power of social media at the time when the country is in most need of companies and individuals.”
With this project, Salem plans on expanding @tweetbackevent so that foundations and donors can choose from various NGO and development projects currently underway in Egypt. “More of these initiatives will only happen if you show support for this very first one, which by virtue of the timing, and novelty, is in desperate need for your sponsorship.”
Photo from David Evers via flickr