Within an area of Luxor named Al Qurna (within Upper Egypt) there exist a great number of individuals and families living in extreme poverty. For many who are impoverished in this area, charitable donations are the only source of income and way of meeting necessities. While these donations are appreciated, it is far from enough and do not supply an efficient amount of income to dismiss impoverished circumstances. By ethnographically exploring the lives of the poor in Al Qurna using semi-informal interviews and participant observation, I was able to experience firsthand the creative ways they survive with the small amount of necessities provided to them. I was also able to get to know what social factors contribute to creating and maintaining poverty in the region. The individuals that I studied are extremely poor, yet they are able to survive and get by on what little they have available to them. This research offers an in depth look into the fears, social circumstances, creativity, activities, resources, and life experiences of the poor. The realities that were revealed may be considered unimaginable, yet they enable an understanding of poverty as experienced and perceived by the poor themselves

Degree Name

MA in Sociology-Anthropology

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2013

First Advisor

Saad, Reem

Committee Member 1

Hopkins, Nicholas

Committee Member 2

Altorki, Soraya


128 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Poverty -- Egypt.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Egypt -- Social conditions.


The author retains all rights with regard to copyright. The author certifies that written permission from the owner(s) of third-party copyrighted matter included in the thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study has been obtained. The author further certifies that IRB approval has been obtained for this thesis, or that IRB approval is not necessary for this thesis. Insofar as this thesis, dissertation, paper, or record of study is an educational record as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 USC 1232g), the author has granted consent to disclosure of it to anyone who requests a copy.

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item


I first would like to acknowledge the creator of all Allah, without the will of the Omnipotent there is nothing This research would not have been possible without the help of many people to whom I will always be grateful to. Thanks to Dr. Sylvain Perdigon who in the beginning stages of this study helped me find my direction and clarify my research intentions. Thanks to my second reader Dr. Soraya Altorki for her involvement and invaluable insight, I truly appreciate the time and energy that was committed during the undertaking of this study. A special thanks to both my advisor Dr. Reem Saad and my first reader Dr. Nicholas Hopkins for their guidance, patience, involvement, encouragement and understanding. I filly understand how to write a thesis thanks to Dr. Hopkins and I was able to retain my calmness and diminish my nervousness because of Dr. Saad’s reassurance that it all will work out. I would like to extend my gratitude to my colleagues who were with me in course Anthropology 598 thesis writing, they all gave such great feedback that added to the clarity and direction of this study. Filly and always I am grateful to both my husband Ashraf and my mother Sonia, without the support, enthusiasm and love from them both I could of never made it during the course of this degree.