Mai Aini is the largest of these camps and is the size of a small city, where around 11.000 refugees live in shacks that have been built one on top of the other along long wind swept roads.
A Gandhi headquarters can be found inside the camp where a small designated area has been installed with a computer providing the possibiltiy of learning how to comunicate with relatives living far away.
This large space is used as a refectory, school, meeting point for the eldery and organized events.
A Meal a Day Project
Gandhi, using the residents of the camp, has built a structure that houses a kitchen where 850 orphan children, between the ages of 3 and 6, can receive a meal a day. Often this will be the only meal of the day, so we try to make it as nutritionally balanced as possible. The children also receive adequate clothing and a basic education.
The Gandhi headquarters also has a precious drinking water tank, where the children can wash themselves and drink every day and where the women can wash the plates and cups where the food is distributed. This greatly reduces the risk of the infections that the children are constantly exposed to in the camp.
Cereal grains are the main source of the refugee’s nutrition, and are supplied every month in a quantity decided by UNHCR. Gandhi has aquired and runs a mill with an electric generator, essential for making flour.
A group of women from the camp are responsible for the running of the mill, and they coordinate the work so that they can also earn a little money.
Aid for the eldery and sick
Gandhi provides daily assistance for the sick, disabled and the eldery who live out their last years in the camp.
To guarantee them a safer refuge, 50 houses have been built, that allow the weakest people to live in more humane conditions compared to the shacks where the rest of the camp population reside.
Over the last years, at the request of the inhabitants of the camp who are predominantly Coptic Christians, Gandhi has completed the building of a church where the faithful can find comfort in prayer and join in the collective celebration of their religious calendar.
A very important part of Gandhi’s work is aimed at improving the living conditions of the women, supplying them with materials to help them to provide for themselves and achieve economic independance.
For this purpose, Gandhi helps a growing number of women to set up small businesses inside the camps such as hairdresser’s shops or fabric shops, aside from the mulino.