Egyptian sisters, Howeyda and Heba Ezzat were born and raised in Helwan city. Not only do they share the same DNA, but also brilliant minds with political knowledge and astonishing communication skills, and dedication to their beloved city.
As their town is full of green spaces and parks and tourist attractions, including the botanical garden, the King Farouk Museum, and the Japanese garden, the sisters usually called it “Garden city”.
Unfortunately, the once-green city full of parks has turned grey and gloomy, as a result of construction, pollution, and overpopulation. That is why the two sisters decided to put an end to the air pollution and loud traffic noise; they joined forces and started an organization called “the Japanese Association for Environmental Development in Helwan”, in hopes to raise awareness and encourage people to take action.
In 2008, the President of the Japanese Association for Environmental, Howeyda Ezzat was able to get 10,000 votes to become an acting member of the local council, followed by a promotion to lead the city’s environment committee. Her position enabled her to gain extensive knowledge of environmental development and make strong connections.
As for her sister, Heba, she was the networking expert who was able to connect to people from all the districts and call attention to the international organizations that administer remote, environment-related projects.
was extremely skilled in reaching the most remote areas in Helwan and establishing strong connections with the people in each district. Due to her skills in communication and networking, she helped the association become a key focal point for other international development organizations that are implementing environmental projects in remote areas, like the German development agency “GIZ”.
Influenced by her fondness for the Japanese garden in Helwan, Howeyda teamed up with her sister and used her connections to build their own organization, as her term at the local council approached its end. Currently, there are 13 people involved in the association, including volunteers, staff members, and board directors.
In agreement with the ministry of environment, they conducted training sessions, to share their knowledge, and educate people about environmental development. These sessions discussed practical ways to preserve electricity, water, and even food.
Moreover, they started several activities such as tailoring for stay-at-home moms, camps for children to teach them how to save water and protect the environment, as well as bringing plumbing experts to provide tips on how to install faucets and avoid leaks and minimize wasting water. Additionally, the organization was behind the removal of a huge load of waste from Al-Khashab, Al-Rashdan, and the Japanese garden, by arranging several clean-ups.
The sisters’ future vision is to promote the use of green building materials. They also call out for more people and local organizations to join their cause to attain water-efficient technologies, carry out more environmental development activities, and reinstate the city’s green nature.