Both politically and culturally, Egypt has always played an important role in the Middle East. Widespread protests in 2011 eventually led to the beginning of a new era when long-term president Mubarak decided to step aside. Political unrest has continued in spite of the "Spring Revolution" and numerous problems remain. Unemployment is still high and many people suffer social exclusion and poverty.
Alexandria, Egypt's most important Mediterranean harbour is located on the western fringe of the Nile Delta. With a population of more than 4 million people, it is the second largest city in Egypt after Cairo. The people in both cities who have come from rural areas and are living in poverty have grown in numbers in the last few years, and the resulting population growth rate is double that of other cities in Egypt. The job markets have not been large enough to offer work to all the new-comers, and the available living quarters have also been insufficient. The financial and social situation of those coming from rural areas has become increasingly difficult and precarious, and the number of orphaned and abandoned children has continued to increase. These conditions were what moved SOS Children’s Villages to build the first two villages in those cities.
The SOS Children's Village Alexandria was built on a beautiful green terrain, 33 km outside the city, on the road leading to Cairo. It comprises 11 family houses in which up to 90 children can be cared for, a house for the Village Director, accommodation for SOS aunts (SOS aunts take care of the children when SOS mothers are on leave), an administrative and a service block, and various adjacent buildings housing a laundry facility, a workshop, and a clinic.
The SOS Kindergarten which is part of the SOS Children’s Village is also attended by children from the neighbouring community. It comprises five classes in which 110 children are cared for, an outdoor playground and an administration room. In 1987, the SOS Hermann Gmeiner Primary School was opened, and it is presently providing approximately 425 students with an education. It is run as a private school open to the public, and school fees must be paid. For 2012 ISO certificate is envisaged to obtain. The school consists of ten classrooms, three laboratories and an administration room. In order to help teenagers become independent, five SOS Youth Facilities for boys and two girls youth houses were built in Alexandria. As soon as youths reach the age of about 14, they move to one of the three SOS Youth Facilities, where they are taken care of by a youth leader. Being admitted to an SOS Youth Facility means taking responsibility for themselves and is synonymous to making a big step towards independence. Being fully aware of this, SOS mothers, the Village Director and a psychologist prepare them carefully for that change. Usually, youths stay up to four years in an SOS Youth Facility. They may stay longer, however, if they are looking for work, completing professional training or studying at a university.
The SOS Children's Village in Alexandria includes several bungalows so that children from other SOS Children's Villages in Egypt can enjoy the beautiful beach on which the village is located. Every year, a summer camp takes place there, and this is an exciting event for all.
The SOS Social Centre has been established in 2007. Its progammes ensure that up to 300 children have access to essential services (e.g. educational, nutritional, health support) for their health development.The Family strengthening programme supports families to build their capacity to protect and care for their children (e.g. income generation, parental skills). It also strengthens support systems for vulnerable children and their families within the community and work in collaboration with local authorities.