Ain Shams Community Development Centre was established in 1980. Today, it is the largest of EpiscoCare’s centres, serving approximately 5000 people per year.
The centre opened in response to an influx of new residents in the 1970s and 1980s as people from the countryside moved to Cairo in search of opportunity. However, most of these people were uneducated and found it difficult to get a job that would afford them a decent standard of living. This resulted in fast growing poor suburbs in the outskirts of Cairo.
The centre was established with the aim of addressing unemployment, illiteracy, and poor living conditions. It is also a place for people to come together as a community. The centre provides common social space for people from all ethnic and religious backgrounds to gather and learn from each other, building relationships that promote peace.
Today, the centre is full of life, offering a warm welcome the moment visitors step over the threshold. Many women use the centre as a sanctuary from their hard lives because the staff welcome them and take their problems seriously. While the centre has had great success with all of the EpiscoCare programmes, the micro-loan programme has been particularly successful, achieving a repayment rate of 99%.
Ain Shams also has a well-established nursery that serves more than thirty children in three classes.
The vision of Ain Shams Community Development Centre is to improve the living standards of the families living in the area of Ain Shams by offering activities including:
- Awareness lessons in health, environment, human rights, economy, parenthood and society
- Literacy classes and vocational training
- Educational support for children
- Medical support for families, children and pregnant women
- Home improvements
- Financial management seminars
- Micro-finance programmes