MIHI has an office in Alexandria, from where we manage and coordinate all of our operations. We cooperate with local co-working spaces to implement our workshops, including activities such as swap shops, gardening activities, and cultural and social events. We have created partnerships in different locations with these co-working spaces (Janklees Studio/Antika /PHI ), so we can easily reach more people in our community who live in different parts of the city.
Due to COVID-19, our cooperation has been limited. Nonetheless, some activities are still happening remotely with our partners.
Swap Shop: We run swap shop events regularly and our volunteers take part in organizing the space and facilitating the activities. A swap shop is an opportunity for locals to exchange goods (clothes, books, furniture, etc.). This helps people avoid over-consumption, responsibly manage resources, and have reduced the trash on the streets of the area. Prior to the pandemic, these activities also served as a meeting point for locals and city visitors.
Urban Gardening: We cooperate with Orgoooo-Environmental Consultant to facilitate urban gardening workshops, which is a great opportunity for locals to learn new skills and change the landscape of the neighbourhood. Workshops take place every Wednesday and Friday. These workshops include gardening and building skills, sessions about permaculture, and cultivation methods. They are facilitated through interactive activities, games, videos, practical planting in pots, and involve a study visit to some rooftops, where locals showcase their urban remedy and gardening skills. These workshops are open to everyone and are a great chance for neighbours to meet and get involved.
Refugees Enterprise (Soryana): We organize an online workshop concerning refugees and migrants in Egypt and the challenges that they face. We are preparing future events to give more opportunities to asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants, to be included in our SDGs activities. We hope to reduce racism and involve a marginalized group in our community.
Music Initiative (El-mazzikatya): We provide workshops on music theory and conduct discussions on how music can affect our mental health. In addition, we deliver music lessons to the audience through activities and musical games. This workshop is not only for mental well-being, but also provides young people with a creative outlet to express their interest in music.
We have addressed other topics, including those with The Egyptian Foundation for Leadership, Intelligence, and Creativity, Anupama yoga with Farah for yoga, and Fok Kalakea – فُك عيكالك for mental health services. We have also organized an online workshop that focuses on positive habits and a healthy lifestyle during and after COVID19, which aims to greatly improve the physical and mental health of young people.
We have also cooperated with restaurants and coffee shops, such as Pick Up Café, where we organized entertaining events and culture quizzes aimed at improving locals’ English and facilitating cultural exchange activities. Also with the Egyptian Pharmaceutical Student Federation, we created a zoom session to help young people find opportunities abroad, scholarships, and shared insights of tips, and tricks for a successful exchange application, and resources to find these opportunities. We tend to involve our partners in our community projects, a great example we’ve cooperated with Ahaln school that teaches Arabic, we involve our volunteers not only to learn Arabic but also to be part in implementing cultural events, and community projects that support the integration of other nationalities living and learning Arabic in their school in Alexandria.
There has been a lot of positive feedback regarding our collaborative initiatives. Locals have often told us that they felt more included within their neighbourhoods and experienced a sense of belonging after participating in our events. These activities have helped create a strong network between the public, local businesses, and NGOs within the neighbourhood.
This partnership has brought people from different social, economic, and cultural backgrounds together to celebrate diversity and mutual understanding. It has also improved a feeling of shared responsibilities, enhanced inclusion, and develop participants’ skills in their fields of interest. Before the pandemic started, workshops would fill a major part of the active calendar. Sewing, upcycling, zero waste, DIY, gardening, culture cafes, and many more workshops take place in different co-working spaces in Alexandria, where locals and volunteers could take part in their workshops of interest.