Published: 2018-01-31 15:25
Last Updated: 2018-01-31 17:05
If you want to visit somewhere unusual in Egypt, we suggest that you travel 120 km from Upper Egypt’s ancient city of Aswan, until you reach the “Egyptian Ladies Village,” a village entirely inhabited by women.
More commonly known “El Samha,” the village residents are widowed women, women divorcees, or non-married women unable to make a self-sufficient living.
Located on the West Bank of the Nile, between Esna and Aswan, the village was established in 1998 by the Egyptian government and covers six acres of land.
The aim of the village is to provide a space where these women can make a living.
“There are 303 women living in the village,” General Supervisor of Samha village Hamdy El Kashef told Egypt Independent on Tuesday. “They assigned these ladies to plant some agriculture lands and to poultry farming [in order to] earn a living.”
Not only was each woman given a plot of land by the Ministry of Agriculture, but they received a house each as well, El Kashef said.
The one-storey houses have two rooms each, a kitchen and an animal farm.
The women of “El Samha” have access to healthcare facilities in their village, and the government provides “preliminary” and “preparatory” schooling for them too.
While some of these women find agricultural work too “tough” to handle, which results in some of them selling their piece of land and using the money to live, other continue to earn a living from farming, according El Kashef.
El Kashef did however point out the necessity of providing these women with loans, as well as enabling a “diversification of professions so that they can find alternatives to agriculture.”
During a recent visit from an international organization to the village, the women were “provided with livestock and feed which sought to enable them to find an alternative profession to agriculture,” El Kashef told Egypt Independent.
El Kashef believes that agricultural work requires the physicality of men.
The best part about the village? All its residents live in harmony with one another.
“The ladies of the village are living in a harmony – with the arrival of sunset, they gather to exchange tales and speak of the problems they are facing.” Moreover, El Kashef continued, “every district has a lady-leader who organizes the meetings between other women.”
But what happens if one of the village’s residents decides to marry? She is required to leave the village to avoid “violating” its rules.