People in SEKEM: Mohammed Berry

SEKEM is my destiny – it fits my life exactly“. Mohammed Berry joined SEKEM during kindergarten, stayed till his school graduation and after he finished his studies in Mathematics and Physics he returned to work for SEKEMs Environmental Science Centre. There, he organized projects not only for SEKEMs pupils but also for young people from other schools to connect their theoretical scientific knowledge to practical activities: “The connection between theory and practice is very important for the development of a human being. The lack of awareness is one of Egypt’s most challenging issues”, Mohammed tells.

“I was really shocked when I began my studies at the university. I expected something more demanding than at school but I quickly got bored.” The young SEKEM co-worker is convinced that practical work strengthens self-confidence. When he built something in the wood workshop during his school days, for instance, he always felt very proud of it afterwards: “It was a great feeling to know that I had created something entirely by myself.”

Because of his deep interest in environmental topics, Mohammed attended a global study program in Denmark and made a diploma in solar energy generation. “The time in Europe taught me a lot. Especially the way how everything is organized was very impressive for me”, the 29-year-old says. “I have been in Denmark when the revolution in Egypt took place. This gave me a different outlook on the situation here and I experienced how important it is to always take different perspectives into account”.

After returning to Egypt, Mohammed took up work on SEKEMs farm in Minya managing a factory for drying herbs and onions. Here, he became involved to agriculture and management. Mohammed Berry: “I am convinced that organic farming is our best chance to tackle many of the global and local challenges we are facing nowadays. I therefore call it the ‘glocal’ solution, a combination of the two terms global and local. It is crucial to always consider both.”

Recently Mohammed started working with the Sustainability Team at SEKEMs farm in the Bahareyya oasis where he coordinates solar energy and water irrigation projects. “It feels like all my past activities prepared me for this job. To me, personal development is one of the most meaningful things in life”, Mohammed reveals.

Last year, Mohammed went abroad, to Uganda to support a friend who was implementing a charity project. The idea was to build a community that integrates, among other facilities, a school, a medical centre and an orphanage. “It looks like there might be a new SEKEM developing down there”, Mohammed smiles.

“Over there, I clearly felt how SEKEM has influenced my whole way of thinking and acting.” Mohammed’s commitment to SEKEM is also revealed by a joke his friends occasionally play on him: “Look at the inside of his hand. It says ‘Made in SEKEM’ there!”.

Christine Arlt