People in SEKEM: Mahmoud Gamal

SEKEM has been his companion for 25 years – 25 years, that is Mahmoud Gamal’s age. He is an IT specialist at SEKEM. “Although I could work somewhere else, I chose working here,” he explains with a sharp and a confident look. His father, Gamal El-Sayed, had joined the SEKEM School as an Arabic teacher in the 1980’s, even before Mahmoud’s birth. Today his father is working as SEKEM School Director. However, that is not the reason why Mahmoud decided to join SEKEM, too. “SEKEM has grown deep inside me. I feel it is my duty to develop SEKEM more and more and carry its message of respecting humans and nature wherever I go,” the nature lover states.

ِِAn ethical dilemma

Mahmoud Gamal, who lives in a village near to the SEKEM Farm close to Bilbeis, used to go to the SEKEM School when he was a child. However, after completing school, he had to go to Cairo for his studies: Computer Science and Information System, since he always liked technology and computers. In Cairo, he began to struggle. “To adapt to the surrounding pollution and to selfish personal behavior happening around me, was not a matter of choice to me, yet a challenge,” he reveals. “I was raised at SEKEM School with the principles of living in harmony with nature and the values of art and beauty everywhere,” says the IT specialist. “That is why it was not easy for me outside of SEKEM. For instance, I rather walk for hours searching for a rubbish bin, than just dropping my litter by the side of the street.” For him, this is a dilemma. “We are those who throw the trash intentionally on the streets, then complaining about the growing mountains of garbage everywhere,” he continues with an ironic tone.

Career development actions

After his graduation and the one-year compulsory military service, Mahmoud started his job as Enterprise Resource Planning specialist at SEKEM in 2015 when he was 23 years old. He is the youngest at his department. “This does not mean that I should stop developing myself,” he explains. This continuous willingness to learn and to develop himself is what characterizes him: On a voluntary basis, Mahmoud attends educational certified courses, such as English proficiency courses, in Cairo on daily basis.

Besides, Mahmoud enrolled himself in an Oracle software system training course. “Through which, I am certified as an Oracle software administrator,” says the thoughtful and considerate SEKEM co-worker. He recently also has received a SAP certification. “SAP is an acronym for Systems, applications and products. It is a German software, which is globally implemented in the companies auditing systems.”

“Be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. It is a sign that you will soon be showered in roses,” Shams Tabrizi

Although or particularly because Mahmoud’s profession is quite technological, he is fond of arts. “I learnt to play violin at SEKEM School. SEKEM has imprinted the love of arts in my soul,” says the former SEKEM pupil. SEKEM also entrenched the idea of serving the community deep inside his beliefs. “Be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. It is a sign that you will soon be showered in roses,” Mahmoud cites a quote of Shams Tabrizi, a Persian scholar and spiritual instructor of Rumi. “I believe in this and always recount it when I look back at SEKEMs history,” he says while referring to the SEKEM founder, who was called to be crazy for having a dream of building up a sustainable community in the desert.

Similarly, Mahmoud dreams of running computer educational centers in every village in Egypt. “I would start with a small center in my village and build trainer teams to run more branches in the surrounding villages. Hence, I could educate as much people as possible”, says Mahmoud. “In addition to developing people’s technological skills, I would ask them to take action against the current challenges like pollution and water scarcity.”

Mahmoud believes that it is not easy to confront and tackle such challenges, yet it becomes a mandatory role, which everyone should realize – a joint social responsibility. “Illiteracy can hinder development and progress. It is not limited to the lack of reading and writing abilities, but also the technological ignorance,” the ambitious SEKEM co-worker tells, not surprisingly for an IT specialist maybe. “However, I see that the most dangerous ignorance is the lack of awareness towards our social and environmental responsibilities,” he adds.

Noha Hussein

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