How can an ID card help single mothers?

Date: Thursday, November 14, 2019

Sharbat Hassan, beneficiary of  the  “Women’s Citizenship Initiative”

As a single mother, her only goal is to offer her children a life they deserve. Sharbat Hassan, a 38-year-old woman in El Tod village in Luxor who was widowed two years ago, has been facing difficultly in supporting her three children in the absence of a fixed income.

“We used to live on the little amount of money that came to us from my husband’s work as a carpenter, which barely supported us and the children,” Sharbat said, recalling the days when her husband was alive. After his death, the situation became even worse as the family had no income and fully depended on assistance that came from family and neighbors.

One day, Sharbat was approached by a rural woman leader in her village who told her that they are holding an awareness campaign under the “Women’s Citizenship Initiative” and advised her that issuing an ID card will improve her family’s living situation.

Sharbat did not know the benefits of having an ID card, but soon learned that through an ID card she can gain access to health services as well as other financial support such as loans and bank certificates.

As soon as Sharbat issued her ID card, she was able to use it to apply for a programme under one of Egypt’s social assistance programmes that covers medical surgeries financially and she successfully underwent an eye surgery that she needed urgently, free of charge.

Using her newly issued ID card, Sharbat was also able to take a loan to open a small grocery kiosk with a deep freezer where she can store food. The loan is to be paid back in simple installments and with no interest, which will give Sharbat the opportunity to build her business and increase her income.

The ID card also enabled her to get the “Aman El-Masryeen” Certificate (Safety of Egyptians Certificate) for three years. This certificate provides a safety net of life insurance for those who do not have a fixed income.

“As a single mother and after the passing of my husband, this certificate will provide security and stability for my children,” stated Sharbat.

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The ‘Women’s Citizenship Initiative’, implemented in partnership with the National Council for Women (NCW) with technical support from UN Women Egypt, works on enhancing women’s political participation and leadership. This initiative aims to raise awareness of the importance of obtaining ID cards and facilitating the process for women to issue theirs. ID cards enable women to access public services, including health and education for them and their children, receive loans, open bank accounts, and vote as well as run as candidate in elections.

Read in Arabic.