Al Samaha is an all-women village in Egypt. It is currently home to around 303 single women, and men are strictly prohibited. Any woman who gets married is immediately asked to leave. It is located in the city of Edfu, around 120 kilometers from the southern city of Aswan.
The village was dedicated by the government to widows and divorcees, and includes plots of agricultural land to allow them to raise poultry and livestock as a source of income.
“The village project began in 1998 when the Ministry of Agriculture decided to allocate two new villages to divorced women and widows only’’, says Hamdi Al-Kashef, the village’s general supervisor to Al Arabiya.
He reaffirmed that the women only live with their children, without any men. Each family is granted a house and a six-acre plot of land in addition to further assistance by the project founders and international organizations.
The women are provided with furniture and agricultural essentials and are granted several short-term loans. The single-storey houses in the village have been financially subsidized by the government, allowing the woman to repay them in instalments. When the women get married, the land and house are withdrawn, says Al- Khashef. All crops can be grown with the exception of sugar cane, and in case of violation, the lady will no longer be given fertilizer.
The project aims to preserve the future for those who lost members of their families, and to help support the women who have now become the sole breadwinners for their children.