“One day I’ll buy a big car and take my family, my friends and colleagues on a nice road trip!” says Ahmed Saeed, Packaging Assistant at SEKEM’s Company iSiS Organic. “First, I will invite my parents and then Madam Hanan,” he tells with a smile referring to Hanan Abdelghany his former teacher at SEKEM’s School for Children with Special Needs. His long-standing teacher still plays an important role in the life of the 22-years old.
Ahmed Saeed’s SEKEM story started at SEKEM’s Special Education Program. Today he is employed at SEKEM’s biggest companies for Organic foodstuff, in particular at the production line of iSiS Organic Honey. There, Ahmed is currently labeling the sealed jars under the supervision of his manager and with the support of his colleagues. “I love all the people of iSiS. They teach me a lot and help me all the time, just as Madam Hanan did for me at school. That’s why I love her the most.”
At the age of 5, Ahmed was enrolled at SEKEM’s Special Education Program by his mother. “She knew about it by coincidence when visiting SEKEM’s Medical Center for a check-up on Ahmed,” Hanan Abdelghany recalls. It was a difficult time for his family back then; Ahmed’s mother had been informed that she will not be able to have more children. “However, destiny had other plans. Ahmed is now blessed with two young sisters and they enjoyed playing together every day,” Hanan the longtime companion to Ahmed’s family states.
“Ahmed still loves to paint. Sometimes he draws people, trees or flowers during his break times.”
In SEKEM, Ahmed did not only learn how to read and write, but he also received agricultural knowledge. He took part in the Chamomile Children Project at SEKEM’s Community School. This initiative offers education to children that are searching for work. After doing some easy field work, accompanied by social workers, in order to receive a salary, SEKEM integrates them into school. There, Ahmed learned team-working with his colleagues while harvesting chamomile and calendula flowers. “This activity also developed his connection to nature, which is shown in his hands’ craft or paintings,” Hanan recounts. “Ahmed still loves to paint. Sometimes he draws people, trees or flowers during his break times.”
Although the Egyptian Labor Law commits public and private sectors to employ 5% disabled workers of the labor force, disabled people still face difficulties to improve their living conditions and support is rare. SEKEM tries to integrate people with special needs into all its institutions and activity fields, as SEKEM is convinced that all people have the same capabilities to develop potential if they receive adequate support.
Hence, besides his drawing talent, Ahmed started to love bicycling. Last August, he even joined a Para-Cycling Championship that was organized by the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports. Although he didn’t win a medal, Ahmed says with a great sportsmanship and trust: “Next time I will do more effort to win. And however, I still have my dream to buy and drive a big car and do a nice road trip!”
Let's Seed the Future: SEKEM pupils from the Special Education School do handicrafts for Egypt's future