Zakareya: 12-year-old entrepreneur (Egypt)


Zakareya is a 12-year-old entrepreneur, who lives and works in the Ezbet El Asker area of Aswan City.

Previously, Zakareya was a street vendor, selling Koshary (a traditional Egyptian dish) on the streets, where older boys frequently harassed him. Zakareya did not have the knowledge or awareness to understand that this constituted a work hazard; nor did he have the skills or tools to resolve this problem. Moreover, Zakareya’s mother is a widow, raising 3 school aged children – their family income was low, all 3 children were working and attending school, and they suffered poor nutrition: their school performance suffered as a result.

Zakareya tells us that Promoting and Protecting the Interests of Children Who Work in Egypt (PPIC-W) has helped him in a lot of ways: he now has a broader understanding of business principles, a greater awareness of workplace risks and hazards, of Gender Equality principles, and of problem-solving techniques.

Moreover, with the help of an Egyptian Association for Community Initiatives and Development (EACID)/PPIC-W loan, Zakareya’s mother was able to apply for a business loan, and establish a kiosk from where young Zakareya sells his Koshary. In this way, he is able to avoid many of the problems and challenges he faced when he worked on the streets.

Since the Kiosk has helped to raise the families income, Zakareya is now able to pay his school tuition feels, and has been able increase the quality of his nutrition, meaning that his school performance is increasing.

Impressively, it is Zakareya himself who is responsible for running the kiosk – ordering and acquiring inventory, selling the goods and the Koshary, and managing the kiosk all fall to Zakareya. As Zakareya ages, he would be exactly the type of young entrepreneur PPIC-W would target as a candidate for Direct Youth Lending. Indeed Zakareya has become a successful entrepreneur, able to deal with different people and to act on his own.

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