People in SEKEM: Samia Gamal

For a working mother, it is always difficult to maintain the work-life balance. But being a single parent is even more challenging. Samia Gamal, Quality Control Specialist at NatureTex, SEKEM’s Company for Organic cotton textiles and dolls production, masters this challenge fabulous: “There is always a struggle in fulfilling the requirements of a full-time job while being at the same time fully dedicated to a child that needs your care and attention,” she says. Four years ago, Samia’s husband passed away. Since then, she is taking care of her 5-year-old son Adam alone.

Independent woman with great responsibilities

Samia Gamal’s SEKEM story started already during childhood. She and her brother went to SEKEM School as their family lived in the nearby neighborhood back then. After school, she studied in Cairo at the faculty of Arts. “As NatureTex is well-known for its secure, women-friendly work environment, I decided to return to SEKEM as a co-worker right after my graduation”, the 32-years-old recalls. This was not that easy as her family had moved to another governorate. “Konstanze Abouleish, NatureTex’ Commercial Manager, offered me an apartment on the farm and supported me in my decision. Living far away from the family is quite uncommon for girls according to our rural traditions. But I am happy that my father welcomed the idea and even convinced my mother, who was a bit concerned about it”, Samia tells.

For almost ten years now, Samia is working at SEKEM and living at the SEKEM Farm, near her working place. After she started with an internship at the dolls production department of NatureTex, she carries now a lot of responsibilities: “Today, I am in charge of the quality of the doll’s production line. Despite getting married and having a kid, I was able to continue working in my position and didn’t lose my job,” she says proudly. SEKEM promotes gender equality and diversity at all its premises especially through its “Gender Strategy for a Balanced Society”; paternity leave, flexible working hours, and places for the children at SEKEM Nursery are offered to the new mothers as well as fathers of SEKEM’s coworkers. “Such facilities helped me a lot in keeping the balance between building a career and raising my kid.”

Looking at the bright side of life

Hence, like many co-workers at NatureTex, Samia takes her son Adam to the SEKEM Nursery every morning before heading to work. “He likes going there, meeting his teachers and friends, and doing several activities together,” Samia recounts. During break times, Samia is able to come over to the Nursery and check on Adam. “I just want to see him but I am sure that he is at a safe and very good place there”, tells the devoted mother. “It’s wonderful to see his talents developing more and more. As the children are spending a lot of time outside on the SEKEM farm, I see that their connection to nature is getting stronger day by day. I find that very important.”

Although Samia Gamal had been confronted with several challenges in her young age, she seems a very positive and happy woman. Maybe because she does not only see the negative happenings in her life but rather the positive ones that came along. Hence, she sees for instance the huge obstacles women in the Egyptian community have to overcome, but thereby appreciates the advantages at SEKEM even more: “There should be shown much more understanding to mothers, in order to enable them not only to provide a financially privileged life for their kids but also giving them a real, happy motherhood”, the longstanding SEKEM co-worker says.  “I hope that the business community in Egypt will soon prioritize humans instead of profit like SEKEM does. Here, I am able to develop my career and at the same time provide a good and peaceful life atmosphere for my kid to grow up in. Truly, I am blessed and couldn’t be more grateful.”

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