We speak to the founders of Ihlam Ematah, an NGO whose young team works to renovate streets and buildings across Egypt, doing everything from fixing roads to painting schools.
Egypt has been locked in political and social turmoil for the most part of Mubarak’s rule, reaching an all-time low following the 2011 revolts which evidently lead to the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to presidency and parliament. Historically, we have never seen Egyptian society decline to such a degenerate void. The government today, under the rule of president El-Sisi, are perhaps overwhelmed with a vast amount of ventures at hand under the current, delicate time of political reform, while the nation itself has become accustomed to chaos and despair. Nevertheless, and due to the long drawn out lack of progress, more and more youth activist groups are emerging with the goal of tackling social and community issues that the government is having a hard time dealing with all at once.
Ihlam Ematah is a registered NGO and DIY initiative in the field of social, environmental, architectural and structural development. “We’ve heard it all before, slogans dedicated to change, but with our effort, and the efforts of anyone who would like to work with us, we will renovate and clean developing and deteriorating neighborhoods around the city,” state the team behind Ihlam, “We believe that every human being has the right to live happily. Living happily starts by having a safe, hygienic, unpolluted, colourful, enjoyable, relaxing and humane environment.”
Taking small virtuous steps towards a much greater good, the young team of males and females established three core projects to achieve their goals. Tari’aak Akhdar are dedicated to repairing and renovating one street at a time around the city, and country. Lawenha aims to paint and refurbish various places including schools and housing. Both projects select locations with a priority for those in need of most repair, and are of course open to suggestions, proceeding accordingly by requesting permission from those responsible for the locations in need of repair. And finally Dawar focuses on recycling. Creating products from recycled materials to sell in order to fund their organisation, or to give away for public use. They also collect recycled clothes for those in need.
“We are also looking to make use of abandoned spaces around the country. Create sports fields, green fields and small workshops to help engage our community creatively and productively. Provide educational facilities with a safer, cleaner environment. Better the image of our society. We have to all know that we matter, that our efforts and ideas matter, and that we can take it upon ourselves to change and better the condition of our society.”
Ihlam welcome all ideas and requests related to projects, workshops and renovations. Feel free to contact Ihlam via Facebook page here.
Photo Credits: Ihlam Ematah