Here’s how Twitter is helping an Egyptian television producer save millions of lives

In 2011, Mohammed El Garhey, a well known producer for a news talk show on Egyptian television, received inspiration to contribute in alleviating the sufferings of his fellow citizens following the revolution of that year which toppled Dictator Hosni Mubarak and ended his 30-year rule in Egypt. El Garhey has been raising funds via social media since 2012 to restore the system in his own ‘little’ way. His contribution is the 25 January Hospital, located in El Shabraween, a village to the east of the capital city, Cairo. The hospital is still under construction, and El Garhey meets there with other volunteers every weekend to discuss plans to move it forward.

Egypt’s healthcare system remains an evident victim of neglect since after the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, which accounted for thousands of lives lost in violent protests, as well as an ensuing political and socio-economic instability which Egypt still experiences till date. Around 14 percent of Egypt’s population have been diagnosed with Hepatitis C, and 17 percent of the country’s adult population suffer from hypertension and diabetes.

Following the uprising, El Garhey and a team of like-minded individuals got together and compiled a list of residents’ problems and needs, asking for a year to produce noticeable results. The needs included a medical centre, among other things, but funds were hard to come by. El Garhey decided to try his luck with social media, and tweeted that he would be accepting funds for a medical centre in El Shabraween, with the hashtag “The Goodness Taxi”. The results were highly encouraging, as El Garhey managed to raise $510 in two hours.

Since then, the charity cause has received about $636,000 over the course of four years through the help of ‘callouts’ on Twitter, and the progress was reflected in the change from El Garhey’s initial dream of building a medical centre to building a fully-fledged hospital. Besides raising funds, publicising the project on Twitter, it also aided the process of overcoming several of the challenges that El Garhey and his team were faced with, including a previous government injunction to limit the hospital to three floors.

El Garhey’s achievements is just one of many ways Twitter and other social media platforms proved to be very useful tools in shaping the organisation and direction of the Egyptian Revolution in 2011. Over 50 percent of Egypt’s entire population regularly use the internet, and throughout the entire course of the revolution, most of the reports or news about the crisis was usually posted on Twitter.

According to El Garhey, the hospital is for everyone, whether or not they support the vision of the January 25, 2011 revolution. It is set to open on the anniversary of the revolution next year.

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