The impact of the precautionary lockdown measures in Egypt due to the COVID-19 pandemic has affected girls and young women differently to men.
It has denied girls the opportunity to get involved in activities that were, for some, their only chance to go out.
However, thanks to technology, girls like Abrar, 15, from Syria, can continue to engage in activities such as Plan International Egypt’s Hope Together project.
Abrar came to Egypt from her home country in 2011 and for a long time experienced a sense of isolation and loneliness in her new surroundings. As a result, she found it difficult to cope with the realities of her new life.
"I feel discriminated against because I am Syrian,” she says. “This negatively affected my self-confidence and even made interactions with others very difficult."
Joining a club as part of the Hope Together project has helped Abrar to integrate into her community, develop and learn life skills.
Abrar says, "This was a turning point for me. It gave me the opportunity to interact with Egyptians and Syrians of my age. I made friends and even enjoyed fun-filled, entertaining activities.
“I also learned new concepts. I am now able to set goals and distinguish between dreams and goals, and I attended trainings on how to spend and save. The sessions cover very useful topics."
Overcoming lockdown via online sessions
Initially, after the COVID-19 lockdown, Hope Together project sessions were suspended due to the restriction on social gatherings. However, project facilitators were able to continue the sessions using online platforms.
Abrar says, "Throughout the lockdown, we have participated in online sessions. I am very happy for the continuity during this challenging period.
“It made a big difference that I could be with my friends in the sessions. We could interact and even take part in joint activities. I hope to return to the face-to-face sessions as soon as possible."