EYouth Visits Tosa West

Members of the Egyptian organization EYouth visited Wauwatosa West on the morning of September 30th to talk about civic education in Egypt and America.

The visit was organized in part by the US State Department. Five members of EYouth visited: Rana Roshdy Eldeeb, Alaa Elsaqa, Mohamed Mahmoud Mahrous, Radwa Mohamad Aly, and Mohammad Omar. The five members of EYouth, which stands for “Engaging and Empowering Egyptian Youth,” are in America to learn about American political culture and civic education.

Seniors Kaitlyn Hembrook, Max Sebastian, Marena Leisten, and Carly Grant, former members of APPSE from Unit 6, answered questions about American political participation, following the format of the We the People competition. The seniors talked about how people in America can participate in the government, as both adults and minors.

According to Mohammad Omar, the Head of Media Team for EYouth, the organization is relatively new.

“The project had its origin before the Egyptian revolution,” said Omar, “but we created EYouth in 2011, after the revolution had begun.”

Since then, the organization has grown.

“It started as a small idea, but it got bigger over time,” said Alaa Elsaqa, of EYouth’s Logistics Team.

According to Rana Roshdy Eldeeb, EYouth’s Head of Facilitators Team, the organization has two main goals.

“Our goals are to develop the community’s political and civic knowledge and involve the community,” said Eldeeb, as well as to “help people become entrepreneurs in Egypt.”

“Some of our work is helping less privileged families sustain themselves,” said Omar.

EYouth has worked a number of projects, including helping villagers bring their goods to market in the cities of Egypt, and helping less advantaged families sell mushrooms for an income.

EYouth also held a weeklong camp for Egyptian youth. The camp’s organizers narrowed down an initial pool of 1200 applicants to a few hundred and then divided this remainder into groups. During the weeklong camp, EYouth helped the youth teams develop plans to benefit their community and the larger Egyptian society. The most promising ideas were given grants and implemented.

“We’re changing the minds of young people in Egypt,” said Omar. “We’re helping them become future leaders of their community and their country.”

EYouth’s goals also include increasing political awareness and participation in Egypt.

“The main idea is to teach the idea of democracy,” said Elsaqa. “This way, people can take this knowledge back to their families and spread it throughout the community.”

According to Omar, sometimes EYouth’s efforts surprise the community.

“Some parents didn’t expect their kids to come up with all the ideas they did [in the weeklong camp],” said Omar.

With the ongoing political changes in Egypt, including the Arab Spring revolution and ouster of Mubarak as well as the recent military takeover, the members of EYouth noted that change in Egypt won’t be as rapid as they may wish.

“The situation in Egypt will not improve in a day,” said Radwa Mohamad Aly, of EYouth’s Reporting Team. “It will take time.”

But ultimately, the members of EYouth expressed optimism for the future of Egypt.

“Unlike before, I can now influence the future of Egypt, said Elsaqa. “Things will get better.”