Feature: Egypt's low-price school supplies fair offers parents relief from rising costs

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Saturday - 3 September 2022


CAIRO, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- As the countdown to the Egyptian new school year has begun, a fair that features discounted school supplies is being held in the capital Cairo to offer parents some relief from rising living costs.
"I bought some notebooks, pens, water bottles and other supplies for my two children. The prices are lower than the outside market and it's such a relief amid price hikes," said Sayyid Magdy, an Egyptian father coming to the "Ahlan Madares" (Welcome Schools) fair with his 12-year-old boy.
The annual fair is held during Sept. 1-9 this year at the Cairo International Convention Center by the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade.
"We have now more than 200 exhibitors, featuring shoes, leather products, outfits, stationery, schoolbags, glasses and foodstuff. We have also six banks providing solutions and installments for buying school supplies and paying school fees," said Sherif Yehia, one of the fair organizers and board members of the Cairo Chamber of Commerce.
Yehia pointed out that exhibitors don't have to pay anything to join the fair and the only thing they have to offer is a discount of at least 30 percent for customers.
"Discounts sometimes reach 50 percent or more without affecting the quality of products. Therefore, as you can see, the turnout of customers is very high," the organizer told Xinhua, noting this is the sixth consecutive year to hold such a fair.
At one of the booths, parents and their children were buying pens, pencils, rulers and notebooks with colored covers.
Salesman Mostafa Saad, a worker at the booth, said the fair offers real opportunities to buy school supplies at low costs ahead of the school year that starts in early October.
"The fair makes it very easy for parents and offers them big discounts. This can be seen in the non-stop selling and the high turnout of customers. I will have to ask our factory for another batch of notebooks because they are selling very well and running out," the young man told Xinhua.
The fair comes as a relief from the rising prices for many Egyptians amid the current worldwide wave of inflation prompted by the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
Rania Ibrahim, a doctor who was shopping at one of the stationery booths, described the fair as "excellent," after she bought a writing board, several pencil cases and notebooks for her children.
"The fair has everything we need. So, it doesn't only save money but also saves the time of going to different stores to buy different school supplies," the mother said.