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Egyptian and Migrant Children Join Together to Fight Discrimination, Promote Friendship

February 9, 2018

Around the walls of gated  Cairo University, there is another community living in parallel on the other side of the erected walls in Ard Ellewa district. With some 75,000 migrants –primarily African migrants– inhabiting Ard Ellewa, the district is deemed to be hosting a rather large number of migrants, along with Egyptians. Hence, it has become essential to promote social cohesion between the different communities in the Giza-located district.

“Share the Friendship”, a campaign aiming at promoting togetherness between Egyptian children and migrants, is set to lay the first stone towards creating a gracious, nondiscriminant community in Ard Ellewa.

The campaign of #Share_the_Friendship is a collaboration between Safarni (an Egyptian initiative which designs and implements innovative intercultural workshops),  Egyptian Startup of Bassita (responsible for the clickfunding campaign), Drosos ( Swiss charitable foundation) and IOM (the UN migration agency), along with the French institution in Egypt.

Analogous to their regular workshops in which they enable unprivileged children to experience simulated travel and let them experience imaginary journies to new countries, Safarni will bring children from Ard Ellewa to on-the-ground workshops in order to explore the different cultures of the African migrants in a bid to augment integration and inclusion between the diverse cultures in the district, particularly that they live in close proximity.

The year-long workshops will bring together 180 migrants and their parents, along with host Egyptian communities. To implement the “Share the friendship campaign”, a clickfunding campaign was developed by Bassita to help raise money for Safarni. The clickfunding campaign accomplished its target of gathering one million points, and for every point, 1 EGP was given to Safarni to promote and implement their social cohesion, one-year long campaign. The children will be involved in interactive dialogue with the migrants to further cultivate the schemes of coexistence.

Alban de Ménonville, the Clickfunding Co-Founder, spoke to Egyptian Streets about the clickfunding campaign that successfully attained its goal and its purpose.

“The aim of the campaign is to promote social cohesion, Ard Ellewa was chosen because it is a neighbourhood that hosts a lot of migrants from different nationalities,” de Ménonville remarks, adding, “We noticed that despite that migrants and Egyptians live in the same neighbourhood, and the same streets and the same buildings, they would not meet with each other.”

“Both communities [Egyptians and migrants] are afraid and reluctant of meeting each other. We want to work with children because we believe that we can have a greater impact on [widening the scope] of children to discover new cultures, new nationalities, and diversity. They can find this diversity in their very own neighbourhood,” de Ménonville notes.

Salem Masslha, the clickfunding co-founder, assents by adding that the campaign works on exposing how big the world is to these children, that it’s not only limited to Egypt.

“The world can be New York, it can be Paris. This type of education is [rather] important, it turns all children into global citizens,” Masslha went on to say, “This is the motive of Safarni, to make every child a global citizen.”

“We believe that migrants are a strength, they bring cultural diversity. Economically speaking, they bring job opportunities. Based on economic data, saying that migrants steal jobs is not true,” de Ménonville pointed out, “We want to fight this stereotype, migrants are positive for the economy and they bring diversity.”

Safarni’s Founder Raphaelle Ayach says in a statement, “This will be Safarni’s most ambitious project yet.Our intention is to support inter-cultural appreciation within the community, working with both children and parents. We hope that this project will be a model that we can then replicate in other communities around the world, in need of social cohesion.”

International Organization for Migration (IOM) maintains in a release that children in these workshops meet children from other cultural backgrounds and are introduced to the local language, food, games, dances, and songs.

Laurent De Boeck, IOM Egypt Chief of Mission, further states, “IOM is pleased to support the Clickfunding campaign for Safarni; an initiative that will contribute to IOM Egypt’s ongoing efforts to foster community cohesion and promote cultural diversity between migrants and the Egyptian communities hosting them.”

Similarly, Zeinab Sabet, IOM Egypt Programme Office concurs that the campaign and the activities that will follow will provide Egyptian children along with the migrant communities to “meet and interact, learn about cultural diversity, and most importantly learn to accept each other.”

Watch the full video of the clickfunding campaign below:


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