Egyptian actresses trolled over niqab, bikini photos

Egyptian actresses Nelly Karim (R) and Hala Shiha. (Photo courtesy: social media)
Updated 29 August 2017
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Egyptian actresses trolled over niqab, bikini photos

CAIRO: Egyptian actresses Nelly Karim and Hala Shiha have been criticized over pictures they posted on social media, slamming them for what they were wearing.
Karim was recently shamed for posting a picture of herself wearing a bikini on the beach. While this week, former actress Shiha is said to have been criticized after sharing the first picture of her wearing an Islamic face veil or niqab. 
“When actors post pictures on their personal social media accounts, they understand that those platforms are public and thus, should be prepared that a backlash may follow,” Art critic Magda Khairallah said in comments to Arab News.  
Bikini backlash 
Trolls began posting comments aimed at Karim when she shared a photo of her holidaying at one of Egypt’s Red Sea resorts earlier this month. 
Despite a non-provocative pose and showing little of her body, some users said Karim should not have posted the image at all.
 
 

A post shared by Nelly Karim (@nellykarim_official) on


Comments included: “We did not expect that from a star like you,” while another said: “I used to respect you, why did you do this?” and: “why are you wearing a bikini?” 
But some also defended her, saying she was free to wear what she wanted, adding that she “looked beautiful,” and telling her to ignore the criticism. 
Niqab controversy  
Meanwhile Shiha, who quit acting several years ago to focus on religion, shared a photo on Facebook of her wearing the niqab. 
Shiha shared the photo after being out of the public eye for several years, sparking backlash among users who questioned her wearing it.  
Some users began attacking her, saying she looked like a “trash bag.” Others were skeptical about her identity, because her face was covered. 
In response Shiha asked users to avoid the hatred and negativity.
She had quit acting years ago while at the peak of her career. She first decided to wear the headscarf in her 2006 film “Kamil El Awsaf.” 
At the time, fans embraced her new appearance. Later Shiha left the acting scene and traveled to the United States where she preaches Islam.
Public trolling
Art critic Khairallah said actors should be ready to accept all kinds of reactions when sharing posts with the public. 
“Social media for actors would allow them to better promote themselves to reach a wider audience, if done right.” 
“I personally think that Karim’s picture was normal, given that she was wearing what people usually do on the beach,” Khairallah said. 
“But some people are not aware of the fine line between an actor’s lifestyle and beliefs in their private life, and try too hard to force their opinions on them.”   
And the critic said fans may have been surprised by Shiha’s decision to post a picture of her wearing a niqab in public. 
Khairallah said several actresses in Egypt who had quit their careers and were veiled, had since disappeared from the media appearances.  
“People may have reacted that way because they are suspicious towards the message she could be trying to convey through her photo, questioning the timing and the purpose.”
“But throwing impolite comments at her the way we saw is definitely unacceptable.” 


Women bring light to remote villages on islands of Zanzibar

In this undated photo provided by XPRIZE, a child in a village in the Tanga region of Tanzania learns to read from a tablet using open-sourced software that would easily be downloaded by illiterate children to teach themselves to read. (AP)
Updated 21 May 2019
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Women bring light to remote villages on islands of Zanzibar

  • Women are almost twice as likely as men to have no education, and are less likely to own a land or have access to a bank account, according to a Tanzania-wide government survey in 2016

KINYASINI, Tanzania: A s a single mother, Salama Husein Hajja was low in the pecking order in her village in Tanzania and struggling to eke out a living for her family as a farmer.
But now she hopes to gain status and a stable income after being trained as a community solar engineer for a project bringing light to scores of rural villages where no homes are connected to electricity on the islands of Zanzibar.
Grandmothers and single mothers — many of whom have never learned to read or write — are among those being trained under the program which they say could transform lives in their poor fishing and farming communities.
“We struggle a lot to get lighting,” said Hajja, 36, a vegetable farmer and mother of three children from a village on Unguja, the largest and most populated island in the Zanzibar archipelago.
“When you don’t have electricity, you can’t do many things like teaching children. It forces you to use a lamp. The smoke is harmful, the eyes and the chest are affected.
“When the electricity is there, it’s better.”
Life is challenging for women in Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania made up of numerous islands where half the population lives below the poverty line.
Women are almost twice as likely as men to have no education, and are less likely to own a land or have access to a bank account, according to a Tanzania-wide government survey in 2016.
Many poorer and rural families also lack access to electricity, compounding the challenges they face.
The island region’s entire energy grid depends on an underground cable connecting it to the mainland which was damaged in 2009, plunging it into darkness for three months.
Furthermore, only about half of houses in Zanzibar are connected to mains power, with many of the remainder forced to rely on polluting fuel lamps for light.

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“We only use a lamp inside,” said Aisha Ali Khatib, a mother of nine, training as a solar engineer alongside Hajja at the Barefoot College in Kinyasini village on Unguja.
“The lamp uses paraffin ... Buying one spoon of paraffin is 200 shillings ($0.09) but I can go for two days without making 200 shillings.”
Solar power offers solutions to connect rural villages with little prospect of getting mains power and increase resilience and sustainability.
Millions of people across sub-Saharan Africa are getting access to electricity through off-grid renewables, the International Energy Agency said last year, which forecasted strong demand to boost growth in the sector up to 2022.
The solar training scheme offered by Barefoot College, a social enterprise that began in India and is now working in East Africa, also focuses specifically on training women.
The project was designed to address the fact that women are much less able to leave their villages due to poverty and family links while also empowering women in Tanzania’s male-dominated society by offering them decently paid work.
Communities in participating villages are asked to nominate two women aged between 35 and 55 to leave their families and travel to the college to train as engineers.
Many of those chosen lack formal education, but they are recognized as people who can command authority and who are deeply embedded in the life of their villages.
“When you educate a woman, you educate a whole community,” said Fatima Juma Hajji, a solar engineer trainer at Barefoot college in Zanzibar.
“When you educate a man, he will not stay in the village, he will go away but when you educate a woman, she goes back to her village and helps improve.”
Women on the project spend five months living and training at the college, after which they return to their villages and set up solar lighting systems for their family and neighbors.
Households pay a few dollars a month for power – a cheaper option than buying paraffin or electricity from the grid.
Some of the money is used to pay the engineers a salary in return for maintaining the village’s equipment and funds raised can also be plowed back into community projects.
Women on the scheme said they had benefitted by gaining a stable income stream, and a new sense of independence and respect within their villages.
“We have been given a better life because after we leave here, we will be engineers and will go back to teach others,” said Hajja.
“When I go back I will have status. I will be knowledgeable and I will be proud.” ($1 = 2,300.0000 Tanzanian shillings) (Writing by Sonia Elks @soniaelks; Editing by Belinda Goldsmith Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change.