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“We provide reliable information for all Egyptians”

Eine jüngere Frau sitzt an einem Bürotisch und lächelt in die Kamera.
Nada Shams is an adviser at the EGC in Cairo.

“We provide reliable information for all Egyptians”

Nada Shams is an advisor at the Egyptian-German Center for Jobs, Migration and Reintegration (EGC) in Cairo and is responsible for its department dealing with repatriation, reintegration and transnational support. In an interview, she speaks about their services – and explains why there are sometimes separate services for men and women.
 

Ms Shams, how do you provide support for returnees?

There are two sides to my work. First, women and men can contact us even before their return. We help them to prepare for returning to Egypt by working closely with the reintegration scouts, our colleagues in Germany. Together we provide information and offer assistance. This helps people to make the best decisions for their own circumstances. We give our clients control over their future path. This also increases their chances of a successful and smooth return to Egypt. And we here in the EGC are sufficiently prepared for their return.

OPEN TO EVERYONE


Who can use your advisory services?

All Egyptians can make use of our advisory services. The ECG is a reliable source of information, advice and support for the local population and returnees.

What do the individual services look like?

We offer counselling sessions, job placements and a wide variety of services. These include psychosocial support and various training courses for people who want to improve their economic situation. We help women and men who want to start their own business and we even offer returnees legal support, help with medical care and material assistance to help them get started. We can also help with finding somewhere to live and getting children started at a school.

How do you see your role?

We provide reliable information for all Egyptians. I try to build a relationship with the returnees that I advise. My aim is also to understand what they need and decide if it’s something I can offer. We start off by drawing up a plan together and discussing the next steps. We treat our clients as equals. This includes a realistic assessment of the plans. After all, some people may have not fully realistic expectations – depending on how many years they spent abroad and the conditions under which they are returning. And there is a very wide range of services for them.

INDIVIDUAL ADVICE


Do you run your counselling sessions in groups or individually?

The sensitivity of the cases means that our counselling sessions are held in private. Lots of other services like training courses can be run in groups.

EMPOWERING WOMEN


Is the advice you give to women something special for you?

Yes, around a quarter of returnees that seek our help are women. That’s more than we expected. Most of them are single women who emigrated in the search of a degree or a job. I can understand what motivates my female clients, even if I haven’t had exactly the same experiences as they have. I’ve often seen that women can be very determined. They’ve struggled a lot and only need a little nudge to put their plans into action.


Have you developed services that are specifically designed for female returnees?

Most of our services are directed at both women and men. But we also develop services that are gender specific. One of our most valuable services, for example, is psychosocial support. Here we offer separate personality development workshops for women and men. We’ve also produced handouts for training and counselling staff, which help them to be proactive in a gender-sensitive way.


Can you explain why it’s sometimes important to have separate services for women and men?

The core issues are certainly always the same: how do I find and keep a job? How should I present myself during an interview? And how can I regain my self-confidence? Many people see self-doubt as a reason for difficulties in finding a job or in the workplace. Yet the causes of a lack of self-confidence are usually different among men and women.

As of: 2/2022

I’ve often seen that women can be very determined. They’ve struggled a lot and only need a little nudge to put their plans into action.
Nada Shams

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