Profile of CONTIGO´s partner Almeerath

Supply chain

  • Trading partner: Almeerath, microenterprise
  • Function: Producer
  • Structure: Own production facilities, associated workshops
  • Tradeway: Direct Import CONTIGO


  • Decorative items made of mouth blown glass
  • Decorative items made of wire and beads
  • Decorative items made of clay

Alexandria to Göttingen (Source: Google Earth)


Alexandria, quarter: Roushdy, Egypt – distance to Europe: 2,800km

Founded in 1996


  • 1996: Almeerath founded by Mrs. Nevine Sobhi
  • 1998: First export of Christmas glass balls to a German customer
  • 2007: CONTIGO meets with Almeerath for the first time
  • 2020:
    • March: Egypt government declares state of emergency with restrictions on public life. 60% of Almeerath´s production of beaded work is home-based, so work can continue there. Twice weekly finished goods are delivered and new orders are distributed. Major problem is the decline in orders, precarious income situation of those employed in home work due to the COVID 19 restrictions.
    • April: increasing unemployment as a result of the Corona pandemic (tourism, gastronomy, services). Husbands of home-based workers are affected. 7 families receive a living allowance from the CONTIGO Corona Fund
    • July: the central production site is fully operational again under the necessary safety precautions
  • 2021: Report by Nevine Sohbi on the Covid situation at Almeerath and in Egypt (April)
  • 2022: All permanent employees are health insured (new regulation since March 2022)

Cooperation with CONTIGO since 2007

Why does CONTIGO work with Almeerath:
From the very beginning, we were impressed by Nevine Sobhi’s entrepreneurial personality. Instead of a secure career as a banker, she chose the path of creative self-employment with all the obstacles of setting up her own handicraft business. Through her, women in particular have access to their own income, which is what we appreciate about Almeerath, in addition to the unbroken creativity that finds expression in the ever new glass and bead decorations. CONTIGO has been able to buy one container a year since the beginning of the cooperation.

Structure of the business

Number of employees:

  • Director: Nevine Sobhi
  • 21 full-time employees
  • Over 100 part-time employees (mainly women working at home)
  • Since the founding in 1996, Almeerath has stable cooperations with the following independant workshops:
    • 2 workshops for glass manufacturing in Alexandria (blowing, engraving, colouring and gold or silver application) and one other workshop in El Marg (suburb of Cairo, with the same production phases)
    • Workshop for wire products in Alexandria (2 employees), e.g. hearts, stars, birds and circles made of thick iron wire
    • All workshops only produce for Almeerath, good order situation, they can provide all-the-year volume of business that provide enough income for their employees
    • When ordering Almeerath pays at least 30% in advance (for raw material purchse, wages etc.)
    • As a result of the Corona pandemic (2020-22), material and production costs increased, all of which Almeerath covered (but mostly did not pass on to their customers)

Work environment:

  • Two-storey main building (historic buildung, fenced and guarded), with the following departments:
    • Director´s office / design and product developmentAlmeerath4
    • Accounting and finance
    • Production of gypsum / clay range
    • Warehouse
    • Assembly and finishing department
    • Glass inspection, sorting, finishing and packaging
    • Quality control
    • Packaging and shipping (export)
    • Social rooms for training purposes (teaching new techniques)

Organisation of workforce:

  • At the central workshop:
    • Sorting, counting and prepackaging of the materials for the women who work at home
    • Central production and workplaces for assembly of
      • Beads to wire shapes
      • Beads, decorations and hangings to glass bowls
    • Production of the clay range
      • Preparing the clay dough
      • Cutting the dough with cutters and shaping
      • Drying
      • Assembling / glueing of the single parts
      • Decorating, painting, with glitter
    • Receipt of glass balls, sorting, inspecting and finishing. Then labelling and final packaging
    • Work-sharing production, depending on task
      • Grouped around tables (assembling of the single parts together whether beads to wire or gypsum shapes to wire)
      • Single tables (quality checks, packaging)
      • Blank shapes of wire receive an antirust coating
  • Production at home
    • Mainly housewives and mothers who want to earn an extra income for the family, and single mothers to enable them to send their children to school
      • To some extent they teach family members, neighbours and friends
    • Due to COVID-19 more unmarried women prefer to work from home rather than in crowded workspaces
    • Only subproducts are crafted at home, e.g. wires wrapped around with pearls. The glass balls e.g. cannot be finished at home and they have to be processed at the workplace.
    • Final assembly, quality check and packing of the shapes is done at Almeerath



  • Exports (100%) to Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Scandinavia, UK, Ireland, Japan, USA, South Korea and Canada


  • To create secure incomes, especially for divorced or widowed women or single mothers who can only work from home
  • To create more employment opportunities
  • To expand the international customer base of Almeerath
  • To offer an annual work trip for employees to visit museums in Cairo
  • To ensure competitiveness despite the restrictions caused by COVID-19 and the effects of the Ukrainian/ Russian War (February 2022)
  • To ensure maintaing a stable business volume despite the present economic restrains inside and outside Egypt

Special features

  • When hiring new employees, widows and divorcees have priority
  • One extra month is paid to all employees as profit sharing (condition: Almeerath achieves a profit in the business year)
  • 2.5% of the owner total networth is distributed each year as ZAKAT ALMAL, a form of religious obligation aiding the poor and less fortunate citizens


Fairtrade classification

FTA = Fairtrade Approved


Fairtrade aspects

Almeerath complies with the following Fairtrade Principles:

No child labour

No discrimination

No discrimination due to gender, disability, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political orientation, or infection with HIV

Fair wages

  • Minimum wage in the region of Alexandria, handcraft sector: EGP 2,400/month (EGP=Egyptian Pound)
  • Salaries at Almeerath:
    • EGP 1,500.00 to 1,800.00/month for unskilled temporary workers, and in training period (3 months)
    • EGP 2,400.00/month as start salary (after traning perdiod)
    • Fixed salary for full-time employees
    • Women working from home are paid by piece
  • Salaries are paid out in cash at the end of each month, pay slip is handed over to each employee
  • Profit share is paid to employees (equal to one month of salary):  1/12 of this bonus is paid out every month (condition: Almeerath achieves a profit in the business year)
  • Due to increased fuel costs Almeerath pays transport allowance to all employees (fixed amount added to salary)
  • Bonus payment for religious festivals
  • Overtime is paid in double the normal pay per hour

Humane working conditions

Working hours:

  • 8 hours/day (from 8:00 a.m. – 4 p.m.: early end of work to get home safely)
  • 30 minutes break
  • 6 days/week (Friday is the weekend)

Social benefits:

  • Paid holidays (21 days plus official holidays)
  • Continuous payment of salary in case of sickness or accident
  • In case of need Almeerath pays hospital bills or surgical costs (also for family members)
  • In order to strengthen the team spirit Almeerath organises an Iftar meal and gathering at the end of Ramadan, with all employees, home workers and employees from the external workshops (The gathering was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19)
  • During the two pandemic years (2020-2022) all employees kept their jobs and no jobs were cancelled. No salaries were discounted either. In case of sickness Almeerath bore all medical expenses
  • All permanent employees are health insured (new regulation since March 2022)

Educational opportunities:

  • Teaching different production steps takes place every Sunday / all year round.
  • Annual training for two employees on safety regulations and use of fire extinguishers (certificate is given by the Fire Brigade Authorities)

Occupational safety:

  • All safety and healthy standards are met
  • Working uniforms and protective clothing are provided by Almeerath and yearly replaced
  • Since COVID-19 Almeerath has strict precautions: providing sanitizers in all rooms, face masks and gloves when needed. Fewer employees work in all rooms (more home work)


  • Work contracts are available
  • Payroll is available
  • Pay slips are available
  • SAR (Self Assessment Report) was duly submitted to CONTIGO



  • Personal visit in Alexandria (2017)
  • Feedback interview during several visits in Germany


Country information

See Encyclopaedia Britannica: Egypt



Nevine Sobhi visits CONTIGO in Göttingen (September 2018)


Visiting Almeerath by a CONTIGO-employee (August 2017)

Tischgruppe Ofen Gips Drahtrohlinge Draht_Perlen


Pictures from Almeerath



Author: Janina Lange on 30. April 2022

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