Saiedah's story

Sayyda: What I learned at ADEW changed my entire life

My name is Sayyda, and I'm married with 4 children. My problem started when my husband got married to another woman. I started to lose my self-confidence, and became very aggressive and violent with my children.

One day, I attended a conference in the Helwan Cement Club where I met an employee from ADEW who talked to me about the programs and services provided by ADEW, among which was the Community Mobilization Program. The CMP's activities seemed the most attractive to me, so I decided to join its different sessions which covered the topics of health awareness and political awareness, among others.

Through these trainings, I learnt about leadership and the different roles a leader should be playing in her/his community, as well as how to communicate with the public in general and with officials, in particular. The political awareness classes were very useful, as I got to know the difference between the single member district elections system and the electoral list system. Later on, I took part in the referendum and the elections, and I encouraged my family, friends an neighbors to also go and vote.

The knowledge and skills I learnt at ADEW changed my entire life; they helped me get past my personal problems, and taught me that my children were not to blame for my problems. I also started paying more attention to my community's issues, such as the problem of the Medical Center in Ezbet El-Walda, which I had talked to the administration about to no avail. Medical examinations were made orally, without using stethoscopes, there were no medications offered, and the center used to close on non-official timings and days.

However, when I attended the district committee organized by ADEW with government officials, I presented this problem with other natural leaders, and we were informed by the officials that we needed to collect signed petitions by as many residents of the area as possible. So we wrote a complaint, which was signed by a large portion of people from the district, and raised it to the officials. Later on, when we went back to the Medical Center, we all felt a difference in the way the staff was communicating with us and the other patients. Their medical examinations were done in a more professional way, and they even included X-rays in the regular check-ups we did, which wasn't the case previously.

Another problem the community faced was the trash accumulation and the insufficient number of trash bins in the area. When we met with the officials in the district committees, we presented this issue; to which they responded immediately by increasing the number of trash bins in Arab El-Walda & Ezbet El-Walda areas, and increasing the number of trash collectors in both areas.

Indeed, without ADEW's sessions, I would have never approached the government officials, nor have been able to identify the community problems, let alone, be part of their solution.

Community Mobilization