A role model for sustainable development
When Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish returned to Egypt in 1977 to start the SEKEM initiative he had a strong vision deep in his heart: "In the midst of sand and desert I see myself standing as a well drawing water. Carefully I plant trees, herbs and flowers and wet their roots with the precious drops. The cool well water attracts human beings and animals to refresh and quicken themselves. Trees give shade, the land turns green, fragrant flowers bloom, insects, birds and butterflies show their devotion to God, the creator, as if they were citing the first Sura of the Qu’ran. The human, perceiving the hidden praise of God, care for and see all that is created as a reflection of paradise on earth. For me this idea of an oasis in the middle of a hostile environment is like an image of the resurrection at dawn, after a long journey through the nightly desert. I saw it in front of me like a model before the actual work in the desert started. And yet in reality I desired even more: I wanted the whole world to develop."
Today, SEKEM has cultivated its own Biodynamic farms and with the establishment of the Egyptian Biodynamic Association (EBDA) helped over 700 farmers in Egypt to shift from conventional to Organic agriculture. Various companies have been established in the field of agriculture and cattle management, phytopharmaceuticals, Organic textiles and clothes and Organic food and beverages (market leader in Egypt). Furthermore, SEKEM established the independent SEKEM Development Foundation (SDF), which is running various schools, a kindergarten, a vocational training center, a medical center and a lot of projects. The latest achievement was the establishment of the Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development, which successfully started its operations in the year 2012.