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Ripple Effect: Spotlighting Esraa Fathy

Article by Betsy Martin August 20, 2013 //   3 minute read

Despite the troubling news and rising concern about Egypt, the women who make up the Women’s Initiative Fellowship are making strides toward improving their society.  The George W. Bush Institute is proud to launch a blog series that spotlights the courageous and innovative Egyptian women who are members of the 2013 Women’s Initiative Fellowship class.  Over the next several months, the Women’s Initiative will highlight the accomplishments of these remarkable women.  The first in this series celebrates three women who are contributing to the betterment of their communities amidst the unrest and extremely challenging circumstances they are facing in Egypt today. Building upon the leadership training and skills they received during the U.S. portion of the Fellowship, the Fellows are furthering the development and advancement of Egypt and leaving a significant mark on society.  

Esraa Fathy, Owner and Senior Fashion Designer

Esraa is the talented Owner and Senior Fashion Designer of Ostora Manufacturing Company, where she promotes the artistic talents of women who reside in the slums of Cairo.  Esraa believes that providing underserved women with the right training and job opportunities will help them escape poverty and significantly improve their living conditions.  She has been featured in many successful art exhibitions in Egypt and has received a number of awards in Egypt and Saudi Arabia for her work. 

Since returning to Egypt in April, Esraa successfully designed and launched “The Ramadan Collection.”  This collection features a variety of abayas (a garment that covers the entire body with the exception of the head, hands and feet) and dresses dedicated to prayer during the Ramadan holiday.  With over 300 pieces, the collection was widely distributed to retail outlets throughout Egypt.

Esraa is looking to expand the sale of her products by creating a strong online presence in addition to collaborating with retailers outside of Egypt.  Through her creative efforts, she affords women the opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their families.  She embodies what the Fellowship was designed to promote – a ripple effect.

Photos of her Ramadan collection, sketches and other work can be found below. 

In the midst of Egypt’s unrest, it is heartening to hear reports such as these.  We believe these women will continue to play a powerful role in effecting change in their communities and are proud of their accomplishments.  Individually, these women are strong; as a class, they form a resilient circle with a powerful vision for the future of their beloved country.