Forty-four years ago, the European Union and Egypt started paving the way for some modest advances in the EU–Egypt relations. It was challenging as the region required a typical response but they managed to turn these challenges into opportunities and achieved International and regional developments. As SEKEM has always been interested in taking part in this union so we invited Ambassador Christian Berger, Head of the EU Delegation to Egypt, and he kindly accepted the invitation to visit SEKEM and learn more about its dynamics and beliefs.
The tour started at SEKEM farm, where the ambassador was introduced to the SEKEM community by Mr Helmy Abouleish. During the tour, they conducted a discussion on the challenges that SEKEM has faced to achieve a community-based organic and sustainable lifestyle and how SEKEM has succeeded in delivering organic products at an affordable price They also talked about the two essential principles of SEKEM’s community; education and health.
The ambassador visited SEKEM school and got to know its different approach in teaching students and helping them unfold their potentials at a young age through different activities like handicrafts, pottery, carpeting and a lot more rather than depending only on the traditional methods of learning and memorizing. There, Helmy Aboueleish expressed his preference to visit the school a lot.
The ambassador also checked SEKEM companies and the entire production process; starting from the raw materials to the final products, and witnessed the making of the solar panels SEKEM uses in its own farms. The tour also included exploring the health services SEKEM provides for its employees through different clinics.
After that, the ambassador headed back to Cairo with Helmy Aboueleish to visit Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development. There he learned about the university’s system and checked the entrepreneurship centre and its ongoing projects. And accepted the University’s shield and wrote a message in the HU Memorial book.
After the tour, when we asked the ambassador about what surprised him the most during his SEKEM visit, he expressed his fascination with SEKEM community saying:
“I was surprised by the size of SEKEM, and that people don’t give up, people had a challenging start, but they succeeded and I think they are well received by the population of the places around. The area of the SEKEM farm is really huge and people really like it. There is a bond between the people and the farm.“