Let’s Break the Patterns

Smiling faces, bright eyes and confident girls: It was the Girls’ Day, the huge event, which SEKEM traditionally holds every March 8 on the occasion of the International Women’s Day. The event took place at SEKEM School’s theater, especially to honor the female SEKEM pupils, who attended workshops at SEKEMs Vocational Training Center (VTC) and experienced technical professions commonly occupied by men.  

Not solely for girls

Because the Girls’ Day is about gender equality and diversity, SEKEM honored eight boys from the SEKEM School for interning at SEKEMs Kindergarten and the School for Children with Special Needs  this year. Together with the event organizers, SEKEMs teachers awarded them next to 20 SEKEM girls, who received certificates for their participation in different vocational workshops, such as carpentry, mechanics, electricity and agriculture.  

“I was thrilled with the breeze of peace and love which the girls created at the carpentry workshop.” Gamal El Sayed

“At SEKEM, we got used to girls breaking into male-dominated professions by getting involved into vocational workshops”, said Gamal El Sayed, the chairperson of the SEKEM Development Foundation. “But for me, this year was special. I went to see the girls at the carpentry workshop every day, because I was thrilled with the breeze of peace and love which they created there.” The five SEKEM pupil girls, who Gamal El Sayed was talking about, participated in the carpentry workshop at VTC for one month.

A SEKEM pupil speaking about her experience with learning agriculture.

SEKEM women as role models for the young generation at SEKEM school

Not only special to Gamal El Sayed, but this year’s celebration was also special to SEKEM, since the year 2017 is ‘the year of the Egyptian woman’ on the national level. Hence, the event was enriched by two female SEKEM co-workers, who spoke about their struggles in their career life and how they overcame them.

One of them was Noura Nasser, the former SEKEM student and today’s SEKEM teacher at SEKEMs School for Children with Special Needs. “Every person has his own potentials, but the question is how to develop them”, said Noura, who is handicapped by birth as well as a government champion in weightlifting.

“If you want to change the world, start first by yourself”, said the other speaker of the event, Samar Balasy from ATOS Pharma, SEKEMs company for phytopharmaceuticals. The 32 years-old pharmacist occupies the leading position of the Quality Control section at ATOS Pharma. With passion and motivation, she exposed to the young pupils what struggles and challenges she had faced during her studying years. “Never stop learning as long as you are alive,” Samar advised them.

Music: the traditional highlight at SEKEM

Musical performances, such as flute, trumpet and Tablah drums pieces, framed the event. However, a highlight was when the audience sang the last phrase of a song performed by a SEKEM female pupil as a choir saying: “Break down the walls between us.” They sang it all together with the same voice, as if it was an emphasis on SEKEMs vision that has been fostering equality and diversity between all its members for 40 years.

Noha Hussein

Check out SEKEMs Girls' Day 2016
Learn more about Noura Nasser, the teacher at SEKEMs School for Children with Special Needs
SEKEMs Gender Strategy for a balanced society