People in SEKEM: Marwa Tohamy

“Every man and woman needs to find their sense of purpose, and I have found mine in SEKEM.”

Marwa was born in Zagazig, a city in the eastern Nile delta, surrounded by beautiful nature. Her father is a Dr. Professor in the Agriculture Research Center and her mother is a teacher of Agriculture; so it’s only natural that Marwa grew up to love and respect the environment. “Nature taught me to ask questions and my parents encouraged that. Some of my favorite memories from my childhood take me back to moments in nature with my family,” recalls the passionate teacher.

Learning by doing

In 2016, Marwa became a teacher of handcrafts in the SEKEM School. She was not only excited to work in such a beautiful, natural environment, but was also fascinated by the different educational approach applied in the SEKEM School. Marwa had to learn a lot about needle work to teach it to her students, and she loved that challenge. “It’s wonderful to see how handcrafts and arts can teach the children mathematics in a fun way. It also teaches them valuable characteristics, such as patience, perseverance, attention to detail, and rhythm; all of this while ending up with beautiful and rewarding results.”

Marwa with one of the first pupils of the SEKEM Wahat Farm

Marwa has a Master’s degree in pedagogy, drawing, and storytelling. She feels a great responsibility not only to educate her pupils but also to build their character and broaden their horizon. She explains: “It is up to today’s children to become the innovative leaders of tomorrow. Hence, it’s important that they develop a sense of awareness and responsibility towards each other and their surroundings from an early age.”

Stepping into new lands – Why SEKEM Wahat?

Marwa first visited the SEKEM Wahat Farm in January 2019. During the one week that she initially spent there, she engaged with the workers through arts and crafts as part of the Core Program. Marwa was captured by this newly arising community and she could only too well understand what it must have been like when Ibrahim Abouleish founded the SEKEM initiative back in 1977. This first visit was followed by many after, until she decided in September 2020 to move there permanently. For many, this would most likely be a difficult decision and an unwanted challenge, but not to her. She explains: “SEKEM Wahat is a miracle in the making, and I want to be a part of that miracle.”

Marwa during her work on the SEKEM Wahat Farm in the desert.

Before her permanent move, Marwa stayed in Wahat for two weeks, during that time she started a literacy program and educated the workers during their break time. She also helped with the harvest in the cotton and jojoba fields, and additionally helped in the maintenance and cleaning of the guesthouse. After those two weeks, she returned to the SEKEM School to help train her replacement teacher. Now, Marwa has settled in Wahat long-term.

Believing in the community

“Every man and woman needs to find their sense of purpose, and I have found mine in SEKEM. Now my dream has taken me to Wahat where I can contribute more and be of service to those who really need it,” adds the personable and enthusiastic teacher. Now that two new families joined the growing community, Marwa supports the founding of the Wahat school with full strength and is currently teaching six children.

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