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Ripple Effect: Spotlighting Nemat Madi, Hadeer Maher and Roula El Boraei

Article by Betsy Martin January 21, 2014 //   7 minute read

Despite recent reports highlighting the increasing discrimination against women in Egypt, the Women’s Initiative Fellows are courageously facing these challenges. Building upon the leadership training and skills they received during the U.S. portion of the Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative Fellowship, the Fellows are actively working to improve their communities and country.  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.  Meet Nemat, Hadeer and Roula:

Nemat Madi, Pharmacist


“Launching mobile medical clinics in the pursuit of a healthier, better Egypt”

Nemat Madi dreamed of launching her own NGO, but upon returning to Egypt in April, she encountered numerous challenges due to the current political situation.  Like many social entrepreneurs, Nemat adapted her vision and began actively donating her time and energy to an organization with a similar mission, the Egyptian Cure Bank.  The Cure Bank provides quality health care, free of charge, to impoverished citizens. Since joining the Cure Bank team, Nemat has raised over 250,000 Egyptian pounds, (equivalent of $36,000 USD) to help fund surgical operations. She participated in 100+ procedures, ranging from kidney, liver and cochlear implant transplants to open heart surgery.
Nemat is currently developing a new department within the Cure Bank that funds a mobile clinic.  The clinic travels to remote areas throughout Egypt offering medical services and screenings to those who do not have access to transportation to reach the Cure Bank.  The Cure Bank has successfully funded and executed two mobile medical vans.  

One common issue the mobile van program hopes to tackle is optical problems in school-aged children.  Nemat notes that teachers oftentimes remove students from the classroom, unaware that their learning disability comes from a lack of vision.  The first mobile van targeted this critical issue.  They successfully screened 588 patients, 200 of them were students.  The screenings resulted in the donation of 200 pairs of glasses and over 200 surgical eye operations for adults and children.  Through the mobile van clinic, these children were appropriately diagnosed and fitted for glasses, allowing them to rejoin the classroom and have a second chance at an education. 

Nemat is using her new network and leadership skills obtained from the Fellowship to improve the lives of Egyptians and fulfill her dreams.  Her contribution to the underserved in her nation is developing a healthier and more educated generation of Egyptians and will, no doubt, lead to a stronger Egypt.

Hadeer Maher, Social Entrepreneur


“Women’s empowerment to me is not only about gaining gender equality in the developing societies, but also developing the skills of women who have proven all their life-time to be the backbone of each household, whether through educating her children or helping the family through hard times.”

Upon returning to Alexandria in April following the Fellows’ month-long journey in the United States, Hadeer realized she needed to learn more about how development work can succeed in a developing country.  Hadeer moved to India for six months where she worked for an organization called Magic Bus. This sports-based program educates children, 250,000 at last count, on key issues such as gender equality, physical skills and personal development.  Hadeer was assigned to their sustainability team where she leveraged her skills as an entrepreneur to build concrete fundraising infrastructures, franchising opportunities, and corporate partnerships.  Through her experience with Magic Bus, Hadeer received hands-on experience working with a successful organization.  She notes, “Learning by practice what the social sector is really about is a completely different level than just reading about it in books and watching academics talk about it. And I was lucky to be exposed to such a variety of organizations that gave me a very profound perspective on how to evaluate the impact and the strategies of each of these entities.”

She later moved to a different organization where she helped leverage economic opportunities for women survivors of sex-trafficking from Nepal, Bangladesh and India. She says, “Being thrown into a completely different area as a project coordinator gave me valuable skills (research, community mobilization, developing strategic plans, marketing strategies and social impact assessment) and practical knowledge, but beyond that motivation which I got to work for the people was valuable for me.”

Her international experience in both India and the U.S., along with her various certifications in the field of entrepreneurship and social enterprise have given greater knowledge and practical experience of the social development sector. Her field experience enhanced her understanding of the inner workings of NGOs, social businesses, and the arrays of Corporate Social Responsibility. Propelled by her newfound knowledge and experience, Hadeer plans to focus on women’s economic empowerment and corporate social responsibility platforms for social innovation for women in Egypt. 

Roula El Boraei, OB/GYN


“I hope I could, through my work, help people in any way.”

Roula El Boraei, a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist, currently works for an international non- profit in Egypt. Through her work, Roula provides medical care for underserved women in rural and urban communities.

Since returning to Egypt in April, Roula traveled to Istanbul for training on the effective investigation and documentation of torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment.  Upon conclusion of this training, Roula’s work has expanded to include work with refugees in Egypt who are survivors of sexual and gender-based violence and rehabilitation of torture survivors.  Roula documented over 50 cases of torture of men and women and provided them with medical care and treatment. 

In August, she participated in training Syrian doctors on correct documentation and management of sexual and gender-based violence, a training provided by the international organization Physicians for Human Rights in Amman, Jordan. 

In November 2013, Roula earned a master’s degree in obstetrics and gynecology from Cairo University, and she is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree.  Roula combines her compassion for people and her medical skills to bring hope and save the lives of people across Egypt. 

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