Weʼre raising £100,000 to fund a creative community education centre in Gourna (Egypt) that supports collaborative learning, cultural exchange and local enterprise.
- Luxor, Luxor City, Luxor Governorate, Egypt
- Creative arts and culture
- Time left
- 102 days to go
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In 2014 I started building an education centre in Gourna.
Gourna is a close-knit community in Luxor where village elders still govern and where local cooperation and exchange (e.g. communal bread-baking) is widespread. In the 1940s Gourna became famous when architect Hassan Fathy - a pioneer of green architecture and participatory design - built a sustainable village using local people and traditional building methods (mud brick, wind catchers, appropriate technology).
Luxor itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site, the largest open-air museum in the world and a major tourist destination for culture, archaeology, architecture and sun.
In 2011 tourism dropped by 80%. With 80% of employment in Gourna coming from tourism, and with a 2008 resettlement of many of the residents from their historic homes to an area of no tourist contact, things were not looking good for the village.
The intent in building an education centre is to help this historic yet marginalised community. Drawing on international experience, the plan is to create something imaginative and enterprising that can catalyse the local economy and dignify these exceptionally kind and highly resilient people with new creative opportunity.
This is no ordinary place and things have gone well. Over 193 local men worked on the new building.
Once the centre is open, both local residents and international visitors can engage, experiment, exchange and learn in creative ways as yet to be defined and in keeping with the spirit of Fathy's ethos. The goal is to host experts-in-residence (creatives, engineers, entrepreneurs) and volunteers-in-residence and offer new opportunity to local men, women and children (40% of women over 40 can't read or write, and 650 kids die each year in underage motorbike accidents).
The building exterior is complete.
Now I need your help to finish the interiors and get the centre up and running.
You can watch a short movie here: http://bit.ly/2b9Nk6D
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About the fundraiser
Luxor, Luxor City, Luxor Governorate, Egypt
Kathryn is an architect and educator based in London and Luxor. She teaches, speaks and advises on design worldwide and is the author of 5 books on design, now available in 13 languages. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts and holds the Freedom of the City of London.