Being with the Zabbaleen

The Moquattam slum in the south-east of Cairo is home to 65.000 zabbaleen, who have been running Cairo’s trash collection system for the last sixty years. In this part of the city 80 percent of Cairo’s waste is recycled. Most of the zabbaleen are Copts – besides running the waste business, they are also breeding swine.

Paul Mason quotes in in his book „Why it’s kicking off everywhere“ a 13-year old boy, who describes his daily routine: “ ‚ I go rubbish collecting from 2 a.m. to 8 a.m., and at 8 a.m. I go to school.‘ With free English lessons he’s one of the lucky few, so what are his ambitions? ‚To collect so much rubbish we can pay for another school.‘ “