The first step in the process: The rice straw is steeped in water in a large basin.
Bata heats the straw in a simple water vessel and boils it for about an hour. Bata, who is deaf-mute, has worked at El Nafeza for 6 years.
The result is a black, pitch-like pulp.
Bata removes the straw pulp from the vessel ...
... fills it into a mesh bag and then cools the pulp with cold water.
The filled bag is cleaned by plunging it into a tub of water.
Mona removes the remaining water by stomping on the cloth bag.
The boiled straw mixture is ground into a fine fibrous slurry in a mill. Pigment is subsequently added.
A workshop for children and young people from poverty-stricken rural areas.
Children busy making paper.
The framed wire screen is submersed completely in the vat and then drawn through the straw slurry.
Manal moves the wire screen carefully in all horizontal directions in order to distribute the layer of paper fibers evenly.
Correct screening techniques are discussed intensely.
The screening frame is rested against the edge of the basin and the upper section then carefully removed.
The paper is pressed against the wall with the frame ...
... and a wet sponge used to apply pressure against the wall.
Drying time depends on air humidity and the outdoor temperature.
Anschliessend werden die Papiere für die Herstellung der Endprodukte zugeschnitten.
Artistic imprints are applied in the finishing process.
The employees and trainees manufacture finished paper products from the sheets of paper.
Children enjoy working with their hands, making individual greeting cards.
A great variety of colors.
Finished end products - book covers, gift boxes, photo albums, ...
... decorated lamp shades and paper bags.

How is hand-made paper manufactured?

El Nafeza - an example of a social entrepreneurship project. El Nafeza is a center for the production of genuine hand-made paper. It was founded in Cairo in 2005 by the Egyptian artist Mohamed Abou El Naga. In founding this project he had the following objectives:

  • The revival and preservation of traditional paper making methods.
  • The creation of new training opportunities and jobs for women, young people and disabled persons from poverty-stricken rural areas.
  • Environmental conservation through use of waste materials from agricultural production (e.g. rice straw and banana bushes)


Galleries overview