Menna Farouk profile background image
Menna Farouk profile image

Menna Farouk

Freelance contributor

Thomson Reuters Foundation

Menna Farouk is a freelance contributor for the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Egypt.

July 09, 2024

In a flimsy tent crouched low among the smashed buildings of Rafah, Palestine Bahr felt her contractions begin early one day in May. Her baby was coming but how would she make her way through the rubble-strewn streets to hospital without a car?

She managed to find a donkey cart and rattled her way through the streets of the city in southern Gaza as her contractions got stronger. 

October 04, 2023

Asma Ibrahim, an unemployed woman who lives in a cramped shack in northern Lebanon, has no idea why she was refused a welfare benefit for the country's poorest people - money that would prevent her five children from going to bed hungry.

"People in need are not receiving anything," she said by phone from the deprived Akkar region, adding that she had been calling a government hotline twice a week to ask why she was turned down after applying more than a year ago.

June 09, 2023

Muhammed Bilal used to have to wait his turn outside a money transfer office in the scorching heat of Dubai to send home $1,000 to his wife and parents in Pakistan each month, at a cost of about $7 per transfer.

He has since switched to an app that allows him to send money instantly with no transfer fees, joining a growing number of migrants in the United Arab Emirates using cryptocurrencies and blockchain services to send remittances quickly and cheaply.

April 20, 2023

From soil sensors to AI-powered drones, entrepreneurs in Tunisia are equipping farmers with tech tools and data to help the vital agriculture sector weather the country's worsening water crisis.

The North African nation is enduring its fourth consecutive year of drought - as intensifying climate change affects rainfall in the region - threatening the agriculture industry that is critical for its food security and struggling economy.

March 17, 2023

A decade ago, the Makthar boarding school in northern Tunisia had little clean drinking water or heat, poor food and no electricity for its nearly 570 students.

But now solar water heaters ensure hot water for showers and solar panels produce enough electricity not only to power the school and three others nearby but to feed the national grid, providing a small income toward paying other school costs.

February 22, 2023

The Tunisian coastal town of Ghannouch is home to about 600 fishermen, but early one Wednesday morning last month there was hardly a rod or boat in sight.

Fishermen say as climate change brings ever-rising sea levels, threatening the community's beaches, going out to sea is becoming tougher as rocks damage their boats and fishing nets.

February 16, 2023

Women who mop, sweep and clean homes across Africa are riding a new wave of digital platforms that promise flexible work and fresh opportunity - but critics say the fast-growing apps only expose the gig workers to age-old abuse and exploitation.

They say the women - many of them vulnerable migrants - run a gamut of risks by signing up for gig work on the new apps, from underpay to assault, injury to debt, reputational damage as well as scant benefits and zero trade union representation.

February 14, 2023

When Tunisian lawmakers take up their seats in the newly elected parliament next month, one change will be immediately obvious - there will be far fewer women among their ranks.

Tunisia has been seen as a leader on women's rights in the Arab world, but campaigners say electoral reforms introduced by President Kais Saied ahead of the country's controversial recent election made it harder for female candidates to run for office.

October 31, 2022

For three decades, brothers Ramadan and Mamdouh Othman have grown summer crops of maize, olives and cucumbers on their Nile Delta land in Egypt's northern governate of Fayoum.

But over the past year, the amount of water in the canal that supplies their sandy 3-acre (1.2-hectare) farm in the village of El-Shawashna has fallen 40%.

August 23, 2022

Along the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia's deep northwest, thousands of workers are building a futuristic city that the kingdom says will be like no other.

Out of the ancient sands will emerge a high-tech urban centre called The Line: zero-carbon with flying drones for taxis, holographs for teachers and even a man-made moon.