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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 September 2004, 14:07 GMT 15:07 UK
Egyptian women: Reda
BBCArabic.com spoke to eight Egyptian girls about their everyday lives and hopes for a better future.

Fatmah:
22, university student

Jacqueline:
22, unemployed

Nesma:
15, factory worker

Rana:
16, student
Rawiya:
20, unemployed

Reda:
16, factory worker

Sarah:
18, university student

Walaa:
17, worker

Reda

My name is Reda and I am 16 years old.

I have been working in the pottery factory since I was six, so I will talk about child labour.

Reda
Reda says she once considered running away from her job
Sometimes when we see children coming from school we cry - we can't join school because of our family circumstances.

My sister Mona and me are working. My father is a deaf mute.

I feel very sad when people are addressing him with signs.

We work in the factory all week and we earn 1.5 Egyptian pounds a day ($0.25).

We cannot buy anything that my little sisters crave for.

I once considered running away, but where to go? And who will take care of my little brothers and sisters?

Pots made in Reda's factory are stacked up to go on sale
She says the factory is suffocating and conditions are poor
My father doesn't work because of his disability but he had six children. He should have had only two.

Of course I hate this job. Some nice artefacts may come out of it, but not for us, because we work in terrible conditions.

The supervisor often beats the children and insults them. I hope, God willing, that all the children will go to school one day.

The smoke coming out of the kiln in the factory is suffocating us and the dust in the air is unbearable for the children.

I wish we could leave the factory and move somewhere better.

If I was educated, I would have liked to be a teacher because I love small children and love to teach them.

I am currently attending literacy classes. If I do well in them I will in turn teach children who have been deprived from education.


Your comments on Reda's views.

I am speechless...to think that Egypt offers an almost free education system but yet the ordinary person can't afford it. It is pathetic...maybe Hosni Mubarak should introduce free education to everyone up to grade 12 at least then the children might have a chance to be the captains of their own ships.
Natashiah Jansen, Cape Town, South Africa

Egypt is getting billions in aid from America to build up its arms. Egypt doesn't really have any hostile enemies in the region. Isn't it time the Arab nations/governments with a push for the West stopped thinking and dabbling in jihad and 'glorious' ways to die and started thinking about raising the standard of living for the poor Arab masses?
Jonathan Broder, Beitar Israel

In Cairo and many other underdeveloped Arabic cities there are a growing number of Islamic co-operations in order to benefit unprivileged children and families. Anyone can join them, either to apply for help or to give any sum of money, continuously or once. They work to support schooling and seem to be trustworthy as they function on basics of religious mercy. Going straight to the roots. If only Reda had had one in her area, too... If you have a chance to help, why wait?
Krista, Helsinki




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