|With consumers cutting back and exports on the decline, local workshops have had to shut down|
Al Jazeera is following the effects of the global recession on five towns across the globe – find out more about how residents are coping.
Bahaa Khalil, 28-year-old woodworker
|Bahaa worries about supporting his family|
Bahaa is married and has one son.
He has been a carpenter for 15 years, specialising in carving refined details for table and closet sides.
However, making a living these days from his craft has been tough.
He used to make around 250 Egyptian pounds each week, but now pulls in around 140.
“How can we support our families?
“We have rent to pay for the workshop, for the apartment, how can we afford all these expenses anymore?” he asks.
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As a skilled craftsman he used to get hundreds of orders.
Now, he is lucky if he even gets a fraction of that – and at half the price.
After almost all of the workload at the workshop diminished, Bahaa had to also let go four of his craftsmen.
|El Sayyed El Kharrat, 38-year-old carpenter|
|El Sayyed fears job cuts will mean more crime|
El Sayyed is a married father of four.
He has been making furniture items such as hangers and chairs for 22 years.
He used to make around 600 Egyptian pounds a week, but now he says he cannot even afford to pay his electricity bills.
Sayyed complains especially about importers resorting to importing cheaper wood that is of poorer quality.
“My workshop is on the verge of collapse. What’s the point of getting wood at lower prices but of terrible quality? We dump more raw material than we use.
“The stuff we’ve been getting the last few months isn’t processed properly. It’s no good for our business,” he says.
For El Sayyed and his colleagues, refusing to buy into cheap production means sitting at the coffee shop during working hours instead of producing inferior work they fear will only damage the reputation of Egyptian craftsmanship.
|Youssef Zeyara, 42-year-old carpenter|
|Youssef Zeyara had to shut down his workshop|
Youssef is a married father of five.
He has been a carpenter for 32 years and owns a workshop that has a wood-cutting machine.
He used to make around 300 Egyptian pounds each month but he has now been forced to shut the workshop.
Youseff says he has not not made any money for the past four months.
Pointing at the idle machine in his workshop, he tells Al Jazeera: “Four workers were dependent on this machine. Now, I can’t afford hiring anyone. How can my children and I live?”
Already in debt to the butcher and the grocer, Youseff says he has not been able to afford school tuition fees for his children for the past two months.