'Ehkelna' is Empowering the Children of Ezbet Awlad Allam Through Art
Ehkelna's workshops are all designed especially for children in low-income areas, empowering them with diverse tools for self-expression while promoting community values.
Looking to create a space for children in impoverished areas to express themselves, new creative project Ehkelna has delved into the forgotten slums of Ezbet Awlad Allam in Dokki, Giza, to help empower the kids who live there.
Their series of community activities - which include arts and crafts workshops led by visual arts trainer Marwa Ali, and storytelling workshops led by acting and storytelling coach Mohamed Abdel Fattah - are all designed especially for children in low-income areas, empowering them with diverse tools for self-expression while promoting community values.
Ezbet Awlad Allam is one of the poorest areas in the country, and houses over 30,000 Egyptian citizens. As such, introducing a creative project like Ehkelna came with its own set of challenges. “At first it was very hard to get the kids’ attention, but I knew what such projects can accomplish if we pressed on,” Abdel Fattah tells CairoScene. “If I hadn’t incidentally joined a theatre group, my life would have been entirely different.”
Over time Abdel Fattah and the rest of Ehkelna witnessed a growth in their budding students, with shyness turning into enthusiasm as the children became more willing and able to tell their own stories artistically. Abdel Fattah has so far held over twenty sessions with the kids, and plans to create more projects at Ezbet Awlad Allam. Through Ehkelna and other initiatives like it, the organisers hope to affect deeper change throughout the community, one child at a time.