Sudanese Displaced By Conflict Strive To Rebuild Lives In Egypt

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Xinhua

Cairo: Sami Mahmoud, a Sudanese obstetrician and gynecologist, lived a comfortable life in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, before the outbreak of the armed conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on April 15, 2023.

With a big house, three cars, four household helpers, and everything, Mahmoud said his wife "was living like a queen in Sudan."

However, their fate took a dramatic turn after the conflict. After over 60 hours of bus trips, the family of seven members made it to Egypt with 10 pieces of luggage.

Sami Mahmoud, a Sudanese obstetrician and gynecologist, receives an interview with Xinhua in Cairo, Egypt, on April 5, 2024. (Xinhua/Sui Xiankai)

"Now, my wife is like a handyman for the family," Mahmoud told Xinhua near his rented apartment in Easy Life Compound in New Cairo, east of the Egyptian capital Cairo.

Displaced by the civil war in Sudan a year ago, asylum-seeking Sudanese citizens have been trying to rebuild their lives in neighboring Egypt, but the task is by no means easy.

"We could not withdraw any deposit from the banks before we left, so we started over in this apartment with money from better-off friends and relatives in other countries," Mahmoud said, recalling the gloomy days in the new home upon their arrival.

Life began to improve after he resumed his cooperation with the Chinese medical device provider Mindray. In Sudan, he had been offering consultancy services and providing training for young doctors through the partnership for several years.

Retaining the job in Egypt, which provided him with income to support his family, Mahmoud expressed confidence that "life will be back on the right track."

Since the outbreak of the conflict a year ago, more than 500,000 Sudanese have fled to Egypt, according to figures released by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in March.

A Sudanese man sells clothes at the Al-Sufi neighborhood in downtown Cairo, Egypt, on April 16, 2024. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)

Despite the challenges they face, Sudanese refugees in Egypt have formed resilient bonds, with those who are more financially secure providing assistance to those in need.

Having served two terms as secretary-general of the Sudanese Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society and currently holding the position of president-elect of the African Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Mahmoud has reached some 1,000 Sudanese doctors residing in Egypt.

Many of these doctors are unable to practice as they lack Egyptian licenses.

"Thanks to the sponsorship of Mindray and our Egyptian counterparts, we had a successful seminar last year where we updated our knowledge in the medical industry," Mahmoud said.

The 53-year-old doctor also coordinates support groups, where they can share information about affordable rental apartments, accessible schools, job opportunities, etc.

People fleeing from Sudan are pictured at a bus station in Aswan, Egypt, on April 25, 2023. (Photo by Radwan Abu Elmagd/Xinhua)

"Sometimes, we provide financial support to the most needy, as relief from charitable organizations is very limited. We also offer free health services at bazaars organized by Sudanese communities," he said.

To help their peers, 38-year-old Sudanese refugee Maysoun Abdel-Salam and her husband are working hard to keep the Future Generation Center for Education (FGCE) operational.

With a three-storey building in Giza province near Cairo as its base, the FGCE, founded in 2017, offers education to about 350 students aged from two to 20, many of whom are newcomers from war-torn Sudan.

"The pressure increased significantly after the influx of refugees, exacerbating our problems of insufficient school materials, teachers, and funding since the opening of the center," Abdel-Salam said. "Now, with the soaring prices of rent and food in Egypt, the situation has become even more difficult."

However, although Abdel-Salam and her husband had seriously thought about leaving for a place of lower cost, they finally decided to stay for the sake of other refugees. She said they did what they always asked the students to do "to work really hard and carry on."


The Peninsula

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