Sitting on the streets in the neighbourhood of Ard El-Lewa, near Giza, and waiting for those who want to shine their shoes, Om Hassan spends her days not knowing any other place to gain her income. Risking harassment from those who might verbally abuse her for being a woman working in a socially labelled male profession, she never cared and persevered to earn enough money to raise her five children who depend on her.
For 16 years, Om Hassan has been working as a shoe shiner. Since her husband died, she found no other source of income other than this job, which does not need any educational diploma or qualifications. It started when she asked her neighbour to borrow EGP 50 to buy a box of shoe polish and went into the streets, looking for people who want their shoes to be polished.
Now that all five of her children kids have graduated from college, Om Hassan is considering pursuing an education to be qualified enough to join the Egyptian parliament in the future.