A couple of months ago we told you about an eye-opening documentary called Garbage Dreams, which chronicled the lives of a few Egyptian teenagers working with their community to recycle the seemingly endless amounts of trash generated by Cairo’s 18 million residents. The three boys profiled in the film were involved with a non-governmental organization called The Spirit of Youth Association, which offers training in the collection and reuse of trash through its community-based Recycling School. The organization also works to disseminate information about waste segregation, recycling, and renewable energies; in addition, it advocates for Cairo’s vast garbage collectors community, known as the Zaballeen.

At the International Sustainability Conference recently held in Cairo, 

Melanie Walker, Senior Program Officer for Special Initiatives, Global Development Program of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced a $1 million grant in support of the Spirit of Youth Association. 

Spirit of Youth executive director Ezzat Naem Guindy responded, “We are honored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for honoring us as Zaballeen… We will use these funds to build the capacity of our team, the capacity of our people, and to spread income generating projects and awareness such as the source segregation campaign… So that Garbage Dreams becomes a reality.”

Photo (Ezzat Naem Guindy, Melanie Walker): Spirit of Youth Association