Social Innovation Fellows: Habiba Sugich, RISD '15

"I strive to ensure women in Aswan have the means to attain a sustainable income."


Meet Habiba

Hometown: Cairo, Egypt
Concentration: Industrial Design
LinkedIn 

All throughout my life, I’ve been surrounded by two constants: design and women. Growing up in Cairo, I’ve experienced all sorts of life. My mother works with many women from low-income families and used to have her design production workshops in one of the poorest areas in Cairo. She has developed a strong relationship with these women and helped them achieve a stable income. In turn their homes have been opened to us. I’ve always been a strong believer in the women of Egypt. They are motivated to change both their families and their country for the better.

Brought up by example from both my mother and aunt, I’ve always been enthusiastic about working with women. Merging both my passions, design for social impact has continuously been a passion of mine. With Aswan being one of the most culturally enriched areas in Egypt, I instantly fell in love with the city and its people when I first visited it back in 2010. This venture will allow for me to research, develop, and implement a means to an end for the women of Aswan, through design and social impact. 

El Nuba

Aswan, Southern Egypt

A region and culture long ignored by historians and archaeologists alike, Nubia (El Nuba) came under the international spotlight in 1971 as it was disappearing beneath the backwaters of the High Dam at Aswan, causing the forced resettlement of 56,000 inhabitants.

The aim of the proposed project is to find an optimal solution that allows for Nubian women artisans to be well compensated for their work to the extent that they can be financially independent, while also preserving the craft and heritage of a slowly diminishing culture.Through a series of workshops with both local and foreign designers, desired outcome is to encourage and develop Nubian craftswomen create design-conscious products and ensure they receive fair compensation.