About Us

A.P.E. works with the informal garbage collectors of Cairo known as the Zabbaleen (literally meaning garbage collector in Arabic). Our aim is to help this traditionally marginalized group find innovate ways to support the environment and aid themselves. Our focus is on developing environmentally sound waste management and recycling techniques, which help to build the human capacity of the Zabbaleen communities, to "recycle and re-use". Our 25 years of experience working with the Zabbaleen is proof that environmental, social and economic development can go hand in hand. Through the many programs of A.P.E., women especially, have become empowered to build better lives for themselves. Our income generating programs have helped generations of women improve their circumstances.

Cairo is an immense city of 20 million inhabitants. Yet despite its enormous size, the informal sector of Zabbaleen garbage collectors is able to handle at least 40% of the city’s waste. The Zabbaleen do not simply collect and dispose of garbage, rather they are able to recycle nearly 85% of it, a diversion rate that is much higher than most cities in Europe and North America.

A.P.E. is proud to be working with the Zabbaleen towards the goal of Zero Waste.

The Zabbaleen: A History

The Zabbaleen are descendents of subsistence farmers who started migrating from Upper Egypt to Cairo in the 1940s.

Success Stories

Mariam Safwat
Mariam works in Katameya in the sewing division, sewing uniforms for companies. She has been working in Katameya for 6 years and began working while completing her studies.

Read More

Samia Wadeeh
Samia has been at A.P.E. for 23 years; she was 22 years old when she arrived at the organisation. She rose up the ladder and now heads the department in Moquattam.

Read More

Samia Shenouda Nassif
Samia’s story is truly inspiring. She has been at A.P.E. for 22 years, having come to the organisation at the age of 9 years old. She began by taking in work at home and training with A.P.E. from home.

Read More

Awards and Recognition

In its more than 25 years working with the Zabbaleen community, A.P.E.’s work has been repeatedly recognized by the international community.