No one is certain exactly how many children live on the streets of Egypt, but estimates range from 200,000 to 2 million.
What is certain is that without healthcare, education, protection or other support systems, the country's street children are extremely vulnerable.
Since the Arab Spring, streetchildren have been scapegoated – labelled as instigators of violence and unrest, and as carriers of disease. Street life is particularly perilous for girls and young women, who face the risk of trafficking, violence, sexual abuse and spurious arrests by police.
Banati Foundation was established in 2010 with support from the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development to improve the lives of the girls, young mothers and their children who live on Cairo's streets.
The organisation works on prevention, rehabilitation and social reintegration, engaging the public, government bodies, NGOs and the private sector in advocacy campaigns to promote child rights in Egypt.
Banati Foundation runs two shelters and one drop-in centre, providing food, clothing, healthcare, education, legal and psychological support for children and their families. Banati has helped more than 300 children to leave street life.
Nearly 350 children and young mothers have been reintegrated into their families and communities with assistance in finding accommodation and job training opportunities.
Through Banati's shelters, more than 2,000 children and young mothers have been provided with food, clothing and health care as well as legal, psychological and economic support. Banati Foundation took part in drafting the Child Protection Article in the Egyptian Constitution, and is now working with the government on developing quality standards for the country's care institutions.
Photos: Mosa'ab Elshamy