A key priority for the U.S.-Egypt Higher Education Initiative (HEI) Public University Scholarships program and Amideast is providing equitable access to higher education and promoting the inclusion of students with disabilities. We do this through:
Awarding scholarships to students with disabilities
Partnering with universities to establish Disability Service Centers for their students
Seven percent of the 673 scholarships awarded are to young men and women with disabilities. These students met university and scholarship selection criteria and participate fully in all scholarship components. Amideast provides the students with assistive technology, and the university faculties provide the students’ needed accommodations, with support from Amideast when necessary. Ten of our visually impaired students are funded by the Egyptian Housing and Development Bank. As with all scholarship students, the goal is employment. Our first graduate with a disability was employed within 6 months. As more students graduate, we look forward to more successes.
By drawing attention to our students’ capabilities, and cooperating closely with the universities, our visually impaired students were the first to be accepted to study in the Faculty of Commerce special programs in Egyptian public universities (Alexandria University and Mansoura University). One of our students was also the first visually impaired student to be accepted to the Faculty of Mass Communication English section at Cairo University.
DISABILITY SERVICE CENTERS
Following the release of the Egyptian government’s new disability law (2018 Law 10), Amideast and our partner Helm Consulting for Inclusive Solutions, supported by our five partner universities (Cairo, Ain Shams, Alexandria, Mansoura, and Assiut Universities), worked to establish Disability Centers on their campuses. In June 2022, we were pleased to begin working with 15 more public universities to establish centers at their institutions over the next two years. The 15 universities are Tanta, Zagazig, Helwan, Suez Canal, Beni Sueif, South Valley, Fayoum, Sohag, Damanhour, Damietta, Suez, Sadat, Arish, New Valley, and Luxor.
The disability centers support students with disabilities by:
- Establishing and advocating for university-wide policies, procedures, and activities to ensure equal access to higher education in line with Egypt’s February 2018 disability law.
- Coordinating and supporting existing efforts as well as provide new practices, services, and equipment to remove physical, cultural, and social barriers.
- Providing training, workshops, social activities, and access to services that promote and support inclusion and empowerment of students with disabilities; and
- Supporting faculties to accept more eligible applicants with disabilities.
The centers work closely with university leadership, faculty representatives, and existing units that support students with disabilities, and have the support of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. Each university selected a central location and work on renovating it according to Egyptian and international accessibility standards.
Building on that, the universities select staff for the centers, who received training in disability services, accessibility, and center management through a Study Tour in the U.S. and training in Egypt.
VISIT THE UNIVERSITY DISABILITY CENTERS ONLINE: