Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | June 17, 2013

A School for the Zabbaleen

Earlier this year I traveled to Cairo to visit people who are called the Zabbaleen. The name Zabbaleen is an Egyptian word that means “garbage people.” For many years, the Zabbaleen have picked up garbage in the big city of Cairo. They go from door-to-door on their donkey carts and pick up the trash that people throw away. But, the Zabbaleen do not take the trash to a garbage dump. They take it to their own homes!

The Zabbaleen dump out the garbage they collect in their homes and then every member of the family looks for things they can sell or recycle ― things like paper and metal cans and plastic water bottles. If they find any food they feed it to their pigs. The Zabbaleen work very hard and only make about $3.00 a day. Because every member of the family must work, the Zabbaleen kids are not able to go to school.

Our missions ministry is helping the Zabbaleen. We want to build a school for the Zabbaleen kids who live in a village called Helwan. With the help of our Vacation Bible School kids this week we can raise the funds to build this school. If the Zabbaleen kids can learn to read and write, then when they grow up they can get better jobs. If they can find better jobs then they will not have to collect and sell stuff they find in the garbage in order to make a living.

Zabbaleen Cover
Parents, please encourage your kids to bring their offering to Vacation Bible School this week to help us raise funds to build a school for Zabbaleen kids. On Tuesday, every child attending our VBS will receive a copy of our latest Just for Kids newsletter about the Zabbaleen. Please take the time to review the newsletter with your kids and encourage them to do the interactive activities. And, please pray with your kids for the Zabbaleen kids and their families. Ask God to protect them and to bless our school.


  1. Pastor Omar, if the children cannot go to school because they are needed at home to sort, are the parents going to be able to afford to let them go to school if we build it? Is Helwan mostly Coptic Christian so that they will be allowed to go to school?

    Thanks for all you do to help us see they world through God’s eyes.

    Marcia Frith

    • Hi Marcia. The school is a part of our larger community development strategy for Helwan. We hope to purchase some key equipment that can help the Zabbaleen work faster and more efficiently thus freeing up time for the kids to attend school a few times a week. And yes, 90% of the Zabbaleen are Coptic Christians. Even so, we are working with a new church plant in Helwan to make certain that the Zabbaleen understand salavation by grace through faith and to help them grow in their walk with God.

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