Jessica Kahawaty in Egypt visit for people with disabilities

Ahram Online , Thursday 21 Jun 2018

Kahawaty auctions Egyptian designers' pieces to empower people with disabilities and raise awareness about inclusion in workforce

Photo by: Ahmad Tarek El Sayed
Jessica Kahwaty.Photo by: Ahmad Tarek El Sayed

Jessica Kahawaty, renowned Lebanese- Australian lawyer, model, and TV host visited Egypt to empower and raise awareness for people living with disabilities, in June endeavour where fashion and style met a worthy cause.

Kahawaty's move came in collaboration with Cairo-based fashion agency Maison Pyramide, to raise funds for Egypt's Helm; a non-profit organisation founded in 2014, which works to break social norms and remove obstacles for people with disabilities.

Helm aims to promote the full social inclusion in all aspects of life of people with disabilities, whose number in Egypt is estimated at around 15 million, with a special emphasis on facilitating their presence and participation in the workforce.

The organisation’s efforts have been internationally recognized since they won first prize in a competition in MIT in 2013, as well as the RISE Egypt fellowship from Harvard University in 2014.

"We made our academy into a safe space where people with disabilities can learn and practice what it would be like to work in an actual workplace, because yes, they have a bigger struggle than everyone else, and that’s where the academy's role is," said Amena El Saie, Helm co-founder and CEO.

Kahawaty is an international charity worker and fashion model of Arab origin, who has used her public profile as ambassador for some of the world’s most famous brands to shed light on various causes, and to advocate social change and development.

She has participated in various charity endeavors spanning several countries, among which were India, Rwanda, Lebanon, and now Egypt.

In June, Kahawaty, together with Egyptian celebrities Lara Scandar and Tara Emad, visited Helm foundation, where they listened to the experiences related by the institution, which Kahawaty described as "eye-opening and inspiring".

A gala event held by Helm and Maison Pyramide was a major part of the campaign, including a silent auction in which some of Egypt's famous names donated signature pieces to be sold for the benefit of the cause. The donors included Azza Fahmy, Dina Targam, Dima Jewelry, Kojak, Vartan, Mohamed El-Sagheer, Okhtein and others.  

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