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Keywords: Curriculum, environment, math

Global Regions: Middle East

Countries: Egypt

Universities: University of Texas at Austin

Subjects: History and Social Studies, Mathematics

Resource Types: Curriculum

Time Periods: Contemporary

Instructional Strategies: Case Study

Themes: Culture and Society, Environment

Levels: Middle School (6-8)


People and Place: The Zabbaleen, Cairo's Garbage Workers

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One of 12 lesson plans on People and Place: Human-Environmental Interactions

This case study focuses on the zabbaleen, people who work as garbage collectors and recyclers in Cairo. Students will understand that:

  • the growth of Cairo has had a cyclical effect on the zabbaleen in that the city growth has caused more people to seek work as zabbaleen, many of whom must come from outside the city, thus contributing to urban growth
  • the rise and success of the zabbaleen is a key example of ways in which humans have adapted to the environment (in this case, the urban environment), and in which the environment has been modified by human activity
  • new technology and international support for the zabbaleen’s activity have allowed for efficiency and lowering of pollution levels in Cairo, one of the world’s most polluted cities
  • the planning and maintenance of urban infrastructure varies from city to city, but the basic needs and pressures created by urbanization are similar in all cases

This lesson plan is one of a dozen related lesson plans available as PDF files in the People and Place unit by Hemispheres: The International Outreach Consortium of the University of Texas at Austin. The People and Place curriculum unit includes an introduction and standards alignment page.

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People and Place: The Zabbaleen, Cairo's Garbage Workers

Produced at: Hemispheres: The University of Texas International Outreach Consortium , University of Texas at Austin, Center for Middle Eastern Studies

Year Produced: 2005

Material: PDF

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