Al Amrikiyya Area – A Story of Two Worlds Coming Together
Strolling around 6th October city’s “Al Amrikiyya Area” is like stepping into a little Damascus, hustling and bustling in the heart of Egypt. Life takes on a distinctive Syrian character that is manifest everywhere from storefronts to the hawkers who dwell on the sidewalks.
Situated between the 6th October City Administration Building and “El Hossary” Mosque, Al Amrikiyya is a vibrant mixed-use platform of restaurants and small shops, which are operated mainly by Syrians and Egyptians.
Mohammad Mamdouh, a 24-year-old Syrian, came to Egypt in 2012 after losing his home to the war in Syria. Together with his brother, he opened the first Syrian mobile store in Al Amrikiyya to support their parents and family. “I am very comfortable living here. I am studying Business Administration at Cairo University and was lucky to be enrolled like a local Egyptian back in 2014,” he said.
At Al-Amrikiyya, a diverse community has come to form the core of its social fabric. This feature extends to swathes of Egypt’s 6th October City, which is one of the main urban settlements hosting refugees as well as Syrian business people and workers. It has also become a major economic hub and meeting point.
Ali Emad, an Egyptian who works in a coffee shop at Al Amrikiyya, steps into his neighboring Syrian restaurant to fetch some change. “Syrians are such a warm-hearted community with whom I interact on a daily basis,” he said. As someone who has worked in the area for several years now, he watched it grow, especially since it became a marketplace for both Syrians and Egyptians. “I saw the development of Al Amrikiyya and I am sure there is more it can offer if it gets upgraded,” he added.
Keen on supporting refugees and the host community and mindful of the centrality of the area to all stakeholders, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in Egypt, has decided to fund an in-depth study to upgrade the area before its implementation by the city administration.
The study, undertaken in collaboration with Takween Integrated Community Development, ushered in an area-based development plan to improve Al-Amrikiyya’s physical infrastructure and devise socio-economic support schemes with the different workers in the hub.
The plan was well-received by the 6th October city administration, the apparatus responsible for its execution, in a move which attests to the long-standing cooperation between UNHCR and the Egyptian government.
UNHCR has been operating in Egypt since 1954. Throughout the years, it has supported refugees and asylum-seekers in urban settings residing mostly in Cairo and Alexandria with lesser numbers in other northern governorates. As of 31 August 2018, 235,397 are registered with UNHCR in Egypt. They come from 58 countries including Syria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Iraq, Yemen and others.
Page 8 of 9
Refugee Youth Graduate from UNHCR’s Technical and Vocational Training Programme14 Nov 2018
Courses in the fields of culinary arts, tailoring, car and electrical maintenance were developed to help create opportunities for refugee youth to become self-sufficient and learn new skills.
Refugee Children Find Sanctuary in Art as They Build Imagined Cities23 Oct 2018
UNHCR’s Partner Caritas organizes a colour activity for refugee children and youth to build their own cities.
UNHCR donates medical equipment to Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population12 Sep 2018
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in Egypt, has successfully concluded the donation of USD 1.4 million worth of medical equipment to 19 public hospitals in Egypt.
UNHCR Egypt and Bibliotheca Alexandrina renew their cooperation3 Sep 2018
UNHCR Egypt and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina have been working together to include refugees and asylum-seekers in several activities side by side with Egyptians.
Egypt MFA and UN in Egypt Launch Response Plans to Support Refugees and Asylum-Seekers24 Jul 2018
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and United Nations in Egypt launched the Egypt Chapter in the Regional Refugee & Resilience Plan 2018-2019.
UNHCR Egypt and British Embassy Support Solidarity with Refugees on World Refugee Day9 Jul 2018
UNHCR and the British Embassy joined forces to honour refugee resilience in a reception at the British Ambassador’s residence on Monday.
Refugee chefs get pro-tips21 Mar 2018
A seven-day cooking course funded by UNHCR empowers female refugee cooks in Egypt by teaching them how to sustain their catering businesses.
Sudanese student pursues her dreams in Cairo21 Feb 2018
Nousa is determined to finish school and go to university to help make a difference when, one day, she returns home.
Refugees’ Products from Egypt Make it to Frankfurt’s Ambiente Trade Show12 Feb 2018
For the first time ever, refugee-made products make it at Ambiente, the leading international consumer goods trade show, in Frankfurt, Germany.
Syrian wrestling star grapples with new challenge in Egypt28 Dec 2017
After escaping conflict in Syria, champion wrestler Amir opens a refugee sports centre in Alexandria to train a new generation of competitors.