Since their first footsteps in Egypt, most of refugees consider the land of the Pharaohs more of a second home. They felt the warm feelings of Egyptians which increased their connections with the country, leading them to organise one of the biggest clean-up campaigns in the middle of July.
Dozens of refugees from five countries took part in a local initiative, Verynile, to clean Nile banks in several areas in Cairo. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) provided required equipment for volunteers who spent couple of hours collecting trash.
Veynile, kicked off at the beginning of this year, aims to limit the Nile pollution and find a permanent solution to the problem, so that it cannot be sullied again. The initiative was launched by Bassita, a click-funding initiative known for its social media awareness campaigns, in partnership with Greenish, a business aiming to implement sustainable environmental solutions.
The campaign included 50 volunteers from Syria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Yemen besides 800 Egyptians.
UNHCR quoted number of refugees, who sated that participating in social community work and enhancing the community they are currently a part of, changes the mainstream idea many people have towards them.
Omar is one of the Sudanese refugees whom were quoted by the UNHCR while removing waste from Abbas Bridge.
“It changes people’s perceptions of us,” he said, adding “Today, volunteers will go back home and tell their parents that refugees from different communities helped them clean the Nile, and this will change their understanding of us to the better,” according to the UNHCR Egypt’s official website.
They take part of the campaign which targets revitalising the longest river in the world, and making it healthy again by removing all the trash which has made the river its home for decades, as well as to get rid of all the industrial waste stagnating in it.
The Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, Mohamed Abdel Aty, previously said that plastic waste is severely affecting the marine life and the river’s eco-system. He added that Egypt annually removes 7.5m tonnes of waste from the River Nile. Abdel Aty added that the ministry has a plan to clean all the water resources by 2037, with an allocated budget of billions of Egyptian pounds.