When we pick up a toy at a store, most often we look to the future. We ask ourselves, Will my
son/daughter/niece/nephew/grandchild like it? Will it be safe? Will they treasure it for years to come?
At Under the Nile, we believe that a toy’s past is just as important as its future.
That is why we chose to be a part of The 13 Villages Project—because every toy has a story, and we’d like to make it a
Our story goes something like this….
In a far away land called Egypt, in a remote rural area on the outskirts of Cairo, there are 13 villages. These villages were once known for widespread unemployment, poor living conditions, and drug abuse. It seemed like there was no way up, and economic opportunity was just a whisper of a dream.This all changed in the year 2006, when a project was formed by SEKEM, our partner in Egypt, to help. Based on a vision for sustainable human and societal development, this project laid out a two-step solution for the problems faced by these 13 villages: The first was to create awareness around hygiene and better health; the second was to create economic opportunity.
In training the inhabitants of these communities in water and waste management, and in providing free health and dental care, the villages began to transform. Through life skills coaching, the people learned what it meant to put thought into their work and to take pride in what they do.
Then, through the distribution of microloans, many of these villagers were
able to start their own businesses. Some liked to cook, so they started
their own restaurants. Some liked to build, so they started their own
carpentry shops. The success rate was so high that 98% of all loans were
paid back, and more loans were given to expand their businesses. Some
of the women who had a penchant for sewing began to sew toys for Under
the Nile. We started to send our fabric and raw materials to them in order
to be sewn into fruit or veggie toys, and paid them fair wages for their
work. As a result, they started become more independent, more confident
Today, we are happy to say that there are 540 new enterprises in these villages.
This is the story of the project we have endearingly come to call The 13 Villages Project. It is the story behind every fruit and veggie toy you pick up at Under the Nile.
Note: All toys created through The 13 Villages Project are produced with adherence to the same strict guidelines for health and safety as the rest of our products.