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 beads 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 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
    • 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)

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
  • 18 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:
    • 8 workshops for glass manufacturing in Alexandria (blowing, engraving, colouring and gold or silver application)
    • Workshop for wire products in Alexandria (2 employees), e.g. hearts made of thick wire are produced here (blank shapes)
    • All workshops only produce for Almeerath, good order situation, they can provide all-the-year workplaces and income for their employees
    • When ordering Almeerath pays at least 30% in advance (for raw material purchse, wages etc.)

Work environment:

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

Organisation of workforce:

  • At the central workshop:
    • 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
      • Pouring figures and cut (after pattern)
      • Drying
      • Assembling / glueing of the single parts
      • Decorating, painting, with glitter
    • Work-sharing production, depending on task
      • Grouped around tables (assembling of the single gypsum parts)
      • 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
    • Final assembly of the shapes is done at Almeerath



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


  • 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

Special features

  • When hiring new employees, widows and divorcees have priority
  • 2.5% of annual profits are donated to a poorhouse (ZAKAT AL MAL, a form of alms-giving to the poor, a religious obligation, due to the Five Pillars of the Islam)


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 1,200/month (EGP=Egyptian Pound)
  • Salaries at Almeerath:
    • EGP 1,200-1,300/month for unskilled workers
    • EGP 1,500-2,000/month for skilled workers
    • Fixed salary for full-time employees
    • Part-time employees and women working at home are paid by piece
  • Salaries are paid out in cash at the end of each month
  • Profit share is paid to employees (equal to one month of salary):  1/12 of this bonus is paid out every month
  • 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:

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

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)

Educational opportunities:

  • Teaching different production steps, all-round applicable
  • Annual training on safety regulations and use of fire extinguishers

Occupational safety:

  • All safety and healthy standards are met
  • Working uniforms and protective clothing are provided, 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 13. April 2021

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