Inclusivity needed to fight poverty

Sent On: 
Mon, 2022-06-20
Newsletter Number: 

The Ministry of Social Solidarity approved in February the change in statutes of the Centre for Arab-West Understanding that now includes building a school as one of our objectives. On June 12 our General Assembly elected a new board with Prof. Dr. Hoda Awad as chairwoman, Samia Hassanein as deputy chairwoman, Dina Abdelrahman as secretary, Adel Rizkallah as treasurer and Vivian Labib Noeur as member. Dr. Ahmed Osama is the first runner-up.


Photo: Attending General Assembly members


The two most important activities of the new board are the search for an Egyptian academic institution to which we can transition our activities and funding and the search for a school that can provide us with the facilities for refugee education. Transitioning activities doesn’t mean the end of our NGO. On the contrary, cooperation with other entities will make our position stronger. The new board immediately formed a committee for educational services under the leadership of businessman Ricardo Langwieder and nominated me as advisor to both the board and this committee.


Photo: Logo Wilde Ganzen. Translation: Small Project. Large difference.


The Centre for Arab-West Understanding received an important letter of Dutch NGO Wilde Ganzen, a not-for-profit organization that provides spots on Dutch television for fundraising in support of small, smart projects that make an impact on their direct surroundings. Their mission is to empower people who live in poverty, by making them more self-reliant in achieving their basic needs and by making their organizations less dependent on foreign support through their help. For each Euro that the Dutch Arab-West Foundation is able to fundraise the Wilde Ganzen will contribute with 50% of that sum. But recognition as a school by the Ministry of Education is key. We are thus searching for an Egyptian school that will be ready to host our refugee education and in return we can do fundraising for assets with our Dutch friends to make this work.


On Saturday June 18 the Wilde Ganzen celebrated their 65th anniversary. This was focused on the theme of inclusivity. The Wilde Ganzen is an NGO in which Christians, Muslims and humanists work together. Inclusivity was described by Yvonne Heselmans, manager projects Wilde Ganzen, as “listenen to the other, also if their norms and values are different.” We are living in a very diverse world that is threatened by war, climate change and failing governments. The next speaker was the blind designer Simon Dogger who said human diversity needs to be acknowledged but we often behave in ways, as he demonstrated powerfully as a blind person, without thinking that the other may be different to us. We are all living in relationships. It is not a shame to ask for help since this leads to cooperation, contact with other people, making us know our own weaknesses and strengths. Relationships need to be healthy, not one-sided, bent by power and interests.


This day at the Wilde Ganzen was highly inspiring. We have to do our own homework. That is finding partner organizations to cooperate with. We realize that our NGO is too small to realize its dialogue centre and school for refugees alone. We need cooperation with larger institutional entities but once this can be realized we will be blessed with support from the Wilde Ganzen and other entities in the West for our work in dialogue and education in Egypt.



June 20, 2022

Cornelis Hulsman, advisor to the board of the Centre for Arab-West Understanding