Old is gold

Mai Samih , Tuesday 5 Sep 2023

The second phase of an initiative targeted at the elderly has been launched.

The elderly are receiving increasing attention from the state
The elderly are receiving increasing attention from the state


The second phase of the initiative Al-Omr Al-Zahabi (The Golden Age) was launched by the Ministry of Social Solidarity last week.

The plan aims to implement the vision and policy of the ministry in providing all types of care and services for the elderly, reintegrating them in society, and changing misconceptions about their role. This is to be achieved by providing cultural, religious, and recreational activities and highlighting the talents and abilities of the elderly by encouraging them to take part in artistic activities, including plays and learning handicraft, and spreading community awareness about elderly issues, said a ministry press release.

Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine Al-Qabbaj launched the second phase of Al-Omr Al-Zahabi last week Wednesday in Daqahliya governorate with the participation of 200 senior citizens from elderly care homes and social clubs from the Qalioubiya, Daqahliya, Sharqiya, and Gharbiya governorates. 

According to Director of the General Administration for Elderly Care at the ministry Mahmoud Shaaban, four governorates — Suez, Ismailia, Port Said, and Damietta — participated in the first phase of the project which was inaugurated in June. The initiative was carried out in partnership with the Egyptian Red Crescent and the Ministry of Culture represented in the young theatre groups from the cultural palaces in Damietta. 

According to Shaaban, the Addiction Treatment and Abuse Fund also took part in the enterprise. Volunteers delivered lectures to raise people’s awareness about the dangers of drug addiction and smoking.

The event also featured a fair in which handicraft made by seniors who are beneficiaries of the initiative were sold. In addition, there was a cultural competition for the participants.  

The strategy is part of a series of programmes to provide the elderly with proper services. Last year Al-Qabbaj launched Al-Hayat Amal, (Life is Hope). “This year it has a new name with new activities and new policies that target different people from this age group to reach as many of them as possible and provide them with more services,” Shaaban said, adding that the next stage will be inaugurated in Alexandria. 

The elderly are receiving increasing attention from the state. The National Human Rights Strategy, created in September 2021, included the rights of the elderly. The ministry also guarantees the social, economic, cultural, and recreational rights of the elderly. It also provides them with appropriate pensions that guarantee a decent life. It is also preparing a national strategy for the elderly. 

According to a 2022 report issued by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics, the number of elderly people in Egypt has reached 6.9 million, 6.6 per cent of the population.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 7 September, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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