Industry: Culture and society
Designation: Social entrepreneur
As Egypt’s leadership has violently chopped and changed over the past four years, various rights activists and humanitarians have changed course or fled the country. But not Jawad Nabulsi. He took a gunshot to the eye to defend freedom during the protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and now wears a trademark eye patch, a poignant reminder of his passionate beliefs.
It was that eye wound that led the well-educated businessman to create Nebny Foundation, now one of the most influential non-government organisations in Egypt. Bleeding profusely, it was hours before Nabulsi could find a doctor who would treat him due to the political sensitivities at the time. Once healed, he started the foundation, which provided medical assistance to 2,200 people injured during the first uprising.
But he realised there were deeper issues of illiteracy, acute health problems and unemployment. Turning down a post-revolution offer to become Minister of Youth, Nabulsi guided the Nebny Foundation to assist Cairo’s slum poor by providing them with education, medical assistance, micro-loans and business advice. The foundation has now impacted more than 140,000 people in less than four years and its work was recognised by the World Bank when it was chosen from 40,000 Middle East NGOs to become one of its donor recipients.
Neby’s illiteracy programme, giving primary school students two hours of lessons a day and a meal for three months, has been adopted by the Egyptian government and the foundation is launching an entrepreneurship centre in June.
Nabulsi also lectures around the world on happiness and leadership and is currently working on his book, entitled “How I became Happy”.