El Nafeza (The Window)

Thematic areas: Environmental and unemployment Sector.

 Country: Egypt

In Egypt, economically disadvantage urban and rural dwellers suffer from a severe lack of employment opportunities both in urban and rural areas. While the negative impacts of unemployment weigh heavy on Egyptian society, the country also faces significant environmental problems, some of which are attributable to the disposal of plant waste. Farmers, unable to rid themselves of plant refuse such as rice straw, banana stalks and river flowers, resort to burning these goods, which contributes to the overwhelming problem of pollution. Overall, there has been little effort to reform this practice because village communities lack environmental awareness and knowledge of alternative uses for agricultural refuse. Therefore, the projects of developing papermaking centers are to address, in creative and integrated way, the issue of unemployment and environmental pollution from agricultural waste.

In 2005, El Nafeza (Window) center revived the traditional of making paper using plants refuses, sun and natural colors. Its innovative approach at the same time engage people in the development of their communities, introducing creative ways of dealing with the environment and unemployment.

The Cellulose and paper industry uses around one third of total production of industry wood and this proportion is increasing. Two third of the fiber used to make paper comes from virgin fiber and the rest comes from waste fibers. Between 5% and 10% of the derivatives of the cellulose are produced based on fibers that do not come from wood.

Argo-industrial fibers come from the waste of processing common agricultural industrial products. Eco papers, specifically come with waste from bananas, mango, coffee, rice straw and wheat straw. Research is currently involved into studying new fibers from pineapple, orange and palm hearts.

Eco-paper Advantages:

  1. It is an original product.
  2. It is an attractive product: its beautiful design shows hours of dedication.
  3. It is an environmentally friend product.
  4. It is of very good quality and elegant.
  5. It is a new concept.

El Nafeza is an Egyptian non-profit foundation legally registered as a charity since 2005, working in the field of craftsmanship and social development. It was identified as a leading social entrepreneur for its innovative solution to social problems and the potential to change patterns across society. El Nafeza foundation, finds its inspiration in both traditional techniques used by an ancient Egyptian and modern paper techniques from India and Japan.  By working to expand the traditional profession of papermaking, El Nafeza is helping people in struggling rural communities in Egypt improve their living conditions. Through the center, (El Nafeza), there is a trainer of trainer’s program in which communities suffering from high rates of unemployment are endowed with the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully embark on professions in papermaking. Using low cost equipment and trained craftsperson to aid with the training, which is helping a new generation of people start their own business. El Nafeza also aims to reduce pollution associated with the disposal agricultural waste by using it to produce saleable, environmentally friendly products.


The programme Achievements:

  • El Nafeza Success in adjust products prices, so that they can cover their costs and also meet the demand. This happened through El Nafeza’s participation in more training workshops (Example: for schools, corporate team building outings, Embassies community days…etc)which are another important sources of income for El Nafeza.
  • El Nafeza has trained hundreds of people since its beginning who wished to learn about the technique of paper making and trained them in silk screen printing on paper to produce beautiful and very fine stationery items.
  • Today, there are about 15 workers working in the workshop, 80% of which are deaf and mute.
  • To be able to expand and grow, El Nafeza is working on a large scale, which including its presence in shops, hotels locally and also its presence in a lot of different workshops allover Egypt.
  • El Nafeza is currently export its products to Germany (Boesner Company) and Canada (Saltmatters.com).

Website: www.elnafeza.com