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Executive Director: Myrna Atalla
Establishment: 2004
Type: Multi-purpose Fundraising Foundation
Focus Region: Egypt
Sectors: Early Childhood Education, Economic Empowerment, Health Care, Awareness, Social and Human Right


Alfanar is the first venture philanthropy organization focusing exclusively on the Arab world. Started by Tarek Ben Halim in 2004, Alfanar provides financial grants and capacity-building guidance to strengthen grassroots social enterprises that economically empower women and improve the standards of children's education in Egypt, Lebanon and Libya.      


Alfanar aims to improve the quality of lives of women and children in the Arab world's most deprived communities through investing in and strengthening the capacity of local social enterprises to serve their communities and move towards financial sustainability.


Through investing in grassroots social enterprises that work to improve the standards of children's education and economically empower women in the Arab world's most deprived communities, Alfanar will play a role, in partnership with local individuals and organizations, in strengthening Arab civil societies.


To increase the capacities and financial sustainability of social enterprise organizations that improve the lives of marginalized groups in the Arab world, particularly children and women, specifically through their work in the following areas: early childhood education, microloan programs, financial literacy and vocational training.


  • The Future Lights for Development Organization: in 2007, with Alfanar’s seed funding and management support, the Future Lights for Development Organisation (FLDO) established a model Montessori preschool in Cairo which doubles as a training centre for teachers and assistants from preschools.
  • Bedayaat Foundation: Alfanar freed the organization to focus on strategic planning to achieve programmatic and operational sustainability, and also gave staff the opportunity to receive further training.
  • Al Mawred El Thaqafi: the Darb Al-Ahmar Arts School (DAAS), established in 2011 is a project for educating youth between the ages of 6-18 in Cairo’s Darb Al-Ahmar district in artistic disciplines that can lead to future employment opportunities as performing artists.
  • Shomoo Association for Sustainable Development: in addition to providing counselling for victims of domestic violence, Shomoo offers literacy classes, vocational training and microcredit for women in rural Egypt with the aim of building women’s resilience to address domestic violence.
  • Future Eve Foundation: through Alfanar’s support, the Future Eve Foundation piloted the Amal Project (which means ‘Hope’) in 13 rural villages in Minya that provided vocational and financial literacy training, microloans and project support for widows to launch and run their own businesses. The Amal Project also equipped widows to start their own social lending funds, giving women training in how to borrow from and lend to one another.
  • Ana Aqraa: Since 2009, The Ana Aqraa’ Association has worked with high-risk children in underserved Lebanese public schools to boost their literacy schools in a broader effort to encourage them to stay in school. Exponentially increasing its ability to reach students most in need, Ana Aqraa’ began training teachers and administrators in the organization’s curriculum in 2011.
  • The Nawaya Network: Launched in 2011, The Nawaya Network matches Lebanon’s underprivileged and at-risk youth with positive adult mentors. Through mentorships with adults who share similar interests, children develop their talents, learn skills and are exposed to income-generating opportunities and networks that will help lift them out of poverty.
  • The Women’s Program Association: serves nine out of 12 Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, including the Burj Barajneh Camp where the organisation provides education and vocational skills training for women as well as offering microloans to members of the community.

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