Association for the Protection of the Environment (A.P.E.)
Little Girl on a Donkey, Blanket, 1995
Textile factories waste, H 103 x W 103 cm
Photo: Frank Kleinbach, © ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen)
Fabric: The design of the patchwork blanket made of textile factories waste is also of local relevance to where the artwork is created: in the garbage collector’s area (Zabbaleen) in the city of Cairo.
The Association for the Protection of the Environment (A.P.E.) is an NGO that works with the informal sanitation collectors of Cairo known as the Zabbaleen (literally meaning garbage collector in Arabic). The Zabbaleen do not simply collect and dispose of garbage; rather they can recycle nearly 85% of it, a diversion rate that is very high even if compared to cities in developed nations.
For over 25 years the NGO has been developing environmentally sound waste management and recycling techniques, which helped build the human capacity of the Zabbaleen communities, to “recycle and re-use”. The quality of the work produced and the number of people whose lives have changed due to the initiative is a testament to the fact that environmental, social and economic development can go hand in hand. Through the many programs of A.P.E., women especially, have become empowered to build better lives for themselves. A.P.E. is an award-winning initiative recognised globally. Their aim is to keep working with the Zabbaleen of Cairo towards a zero-waste city.