For many years I had this dream that I would be working to retain traditional craftsmanship among poor artisans in Egypt. I decided to make a leap and see if I as one individual could make a difference in the country where I was born, Egypt. I created a nonprofit, Ayadi (which means many hands in Arabic) and am now in Cairo trying to retain traditional craftsmanship in Cairo.
Why traditional craftsmanship? In developing countries the focus is on basic needs: housing, food, health, etc. And when a segment of the population is not receiving these basic needs, many times art is considered a luxury. I am hoping to retain the beautiful handcrafted legacy of Egypt by providing a way for poor people to be able to create income through the gift of their craftsmanship which has been handed down for centuries. The basic idea is to use an empowering development mechanism of partnership and employment, to simultaneously retain traditional craftsmanship and provide a source of income-generation for poor artisans.
I am excited to be part of this blog and hope to bring a perspective of what it is like to start a nonprofit as well as a perspective from the Middle East, and Egypt in particular….Please let me know if there are particular things you would like to hear about or any comments/questions/suggestions you may have.