Indonesia in the Heart of Cairo

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Cairo’s Al-Azhar University attracts many students from Asian countries including Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and China who come for Islamic studies as well as secular subjects.
Most of the students live in the Nasr City district where some establish small businesses to earn money to pay for their education.
Ardy Manda Putra is one of these students. He arrived in Cairo a year ago from Indonesia and joined a few friends to open a small Indonesian restaurant. He goes to classes three days a week and works at the restaurant every Thusrday, where he earns two hundred Egyptian pounds per month.
Ardy wants to complete a masters degree before returning to his homeland to serve as an Islamic preacher.


  1. soundbite (arabic)
    Ardy, University Student, Restaurant Co-founder: 00:55 -01:20 My name is Ardy Manda Putra, I’m from Indonesia and I’m 20 years’ old. I came to Cairo a year ago for studying in Al-Azhar university. I enrolled the university a year ago and I study at the religion assets college in Al-Azhar University.
  2. soundbite
    01:32 -02:20 I’m not a worker here in Egypt, I’m Indonesian student at Al-Azhar University Thursday is off, so I work in the restaurant to earn money to buy a book or to pay the house rent. From Saturday to Wednesday I have to go to the college, Thursday I work in the restaurant and Friday off so maybe I play football with friends.
  3. soundbite
    02:46 -03:25 I earn 50 Pounds everyday work. I work in the restaurant every Thursday. 4 days per month, so I earn 200 pounds per month. I spent it on buying books, drinking tea or chill out with my friends.
  4. soundbite
    03:40 -03:49 I have many friends here in Cairo, we all came from Indonesia to study in Al-Azhar university.
  5. soundbite
    04:05 -04:22 Universities are very expensive in Indonesia. However In Egypt, Al-Azhar university is very cheap. Secondly, 'our direction to pray is Mecca, our direction to study is Egypt'.
  6. soundbite
    04:51 -05:08 I didn’t earn a scholarship from Indonesia or Egypt. My mother sends to me 800 or 900 Pounds per month.
  7. soundbite
    05:20 -05:50 My family lives in Indonesia in the Sumatra island. My mom is called Rosyidah and my dad is Firman Hamzah, and I have three sisters Risky Fitra Firmanda, Helna Manda Hayati and Nabila Manda Zafira.
  8. soundbite
    05:50 -06:25 I usually don’t fly back to Indonesia in the vacations or even in the feasts. The flights are too expensive; it may cost more than 3.500 pounds. During the vacation in Egypt, I go to Alexandria with friends or any other city.
  9. soundbite
    06:45 -07:31 I'm cooking grilled chicken, we call it “Ayam Bakar”, but here in Cairo, it’s called grilled Chicken. This is fried chicken with chili sauce. It’s delicious. This one is “bakso” it is soup with liver and cow bones and this is chicken soup.
  10. soundbite (Arabic)
    Ibrahim, University Student, Client: 07:31- 07:48 I love “Fifa Resto”, the food is delicious and cheap. I eat here every day.
  11. soundbite
    07:49 -08:16 The Indonesian restaurant is cheaper than any other restaurant in Cairo. With 10 pounds only, you can eat rice, chicken and drink tea.
  12. soundbite
    08:17 -08:27 I love football very much, I’m fan of the Egyptian football team “Al-Ahly”
  13. soundbite
    08:40 -09:11 This is my first year in Al-Azhar university, after graduation, I want to earn a master degree in Al-Azhar university or in Cairo university. Then I want to back to Indonesia and work as an Islamic preacher for a year or two, then go for a Ph.D. in politics in the UK.
  14. soundbite
    09:22 -09:38 I love my work here it’s good and Halal