2018-07-23 17:17:46date was

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  • Operation Summit: Rebuilding Rural Egypt One Roof at a Time


    For a long time, charity, doing good, paying it forward or whatever else you might want to call it, meant donations – money is an easy measure for most. But in Egypt right now, more and more initiatives and NGOs are finding more efficient, productive and direct ways of helping those in need, none less more than Operation: Summit, headed by Galal Zekri Chatila.

    Chatila, who you may know as that guy that cycled 7000km around Egypt alone on 2015, took on a different kind of challenge this year by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the first of seven summits he’s aiming to conquer over the next six years, to raise funds.

    Chatila isn’t working alone, though, having managed to team up with foundation, Yalla Nebda2, to provide the execution of the project – one that has already seen volunteers build roofs for homes in places like Fayoum, Sohag and Wadi El Natrun with their own hands.

    “I want people to be involved,” founder of Yalla Nebda2, Ahmed Daaour, told us as we joined him, Chatila and a group of around 30 volunteers early on a Friday morning on the way to Fayoum.

    operation-summit-body-3(Photo courtesy of Mahmoud Hussein)

    The group was divided into teams of four, everyone was given a hammer and after Daour gave us tips on how to interact with locals, we set off to work.

    Beginning with a house owned by widower with two children, the heat was unrelenting; but Daour quickly reminded us why we were here.

    “Other than the heat that these people have to cope with, roofs are often made with palm leafs and could carry snakes. There was an incident were a little girl died from a bite,” he explained.

    operation-summit-body-1(Photo courtesy of Leila Sherif Saed)

    Yalla Nebda2 has slowly but surely making an impact since opening in 2012 and so Daour understands the potential roadblocks ahead. Galal’s involvement, on the other hand, owes to his own sense of wanderlust and yearning to discover more and more of Egypt and its people.

    “Egypt is a diverse country, full of places that we don’t get to see,” he told us in an interview in May last year after completing his trip across the country. He went on to talk about wanting to encourage adventure travelling and internal tourism,  but meeting so many people and seeing a very different side to Egypt struck a chord with him.

    “For every 10 miles I climb, hopefully one roof will be constructed,” he told us with a steely determination; one that left neither us, nor the volunteers, in any doubt that he can indeed achieve the remarkable feat.

    operation-summit-body-4(Photo courtesy of Leila Sherif Saed)

    To donate or volunteer, check out Yalla Nebda2 and Operations: Summit on Facebook.

    By Mahmoud Hussein