Egypt’s Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine El-Kabbaj said, on Sunday, that protective measures for girls at the country’s orphanages and care centres have been tightened, following recent sexual assault cases that were widely reported on social media.
In a televised interview, the minister said, “We are working with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to install advanced surveillance cameras in orphanages and care centres, following recent rape cases.”
She noted that cameras will be installed whilst preserving the privacy of children, adding that, whilst this is a potentially expensive measure for the ministry, but “keeping children safe is the priority.”
“It is a little expensive, but we have already started it in some institutions,” El-Kabbaj said.
The minister referred to the sexual assault case involving several girls at the “New Woman Mubarra” orphanage in Old Cairo, in which a cook at the orphanage has been accused.
In a statement on Saturday, Egypt’s Public Prosecution said that an employee at a Cairo orphanage had been arrested over allegations that he sexually assaulted two girls, aged 11 and 14, at the orphanage.
The two girls were contacted and were provided with psychologists, the ministry said, adding that they were repeatedly sexually assaulted by the defendant.
The two victims told the prosecution that the defendant offered them money in exchange for remaining silent, and that they were scared to resist his assaults.
The case gained traction on social media, with allegations appearing from 27 August onwards after the two girls told peers at the orphanage about the incidents. The two also informed their supervisors. One of the girls’ peers, who knew about the incidents, reported the allegations on social media.
Two social workers at the orphanage said they were also told about the incidents by the two victims.
The cook has denied the allegations, saying that he merely hugged the two girls and kissed them on the head with good intentions, the prosecution’s statement read. The two girls will undergo forensic medical examinations, the prosecution said.
The cook was fired and the police were called after two of the institution’s administrators were informed about the incident, the prosecution said.
The minister pointed out that a large sum has been allocated for the development of orphanages at all levels. El-Kabbaj noted that her ministry is preparing a campaign to increase sponsorship of orphans.
She indicated that the Ministry of Social Solidarity has already started the expansion of procedures to sponsor orphans. She noted that many applications have been received from many families, which are currently being considered.