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A Sustainable Community in the Egyptian Desert

Ibrahim Abouleish and Markus Kirchgessner

240 pp.  

Floris Books

The Egyptian desert can be a hostile place, yet in 1977, Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish founded a new agricultural and social settlement on seventy hectares of desert land in Belbes, 60 kilometers northeast of Cairo. Thus, the Sekem initiative was born.

Dr. Abouleish's goal was to build a new type of community. His vision was for a farm that grows biodynamic crops and plants out of the harsh desert sand and a community in which workers and residents are all given holistic primary health care and where their children can be well educated in the sciences. This was to become a place that would sell its produce and become self-sufficient and self-sustaining. Ultimately, this would be a place where Islam and Western technology could come together in harmony.

This book—as well as the very community itself—asks and seeks to answer questions such as: How can an efficient economy, a healthy social fabric, and a living culture develop together? How can partnership between West and East build peace and prosperity? What is the modern understanding and practice of Islam?
Sekem School
Nearly thirty years after its inception, Sekem has grown strong and prosperous, both economically and socially. In 1981, the people of this community shipped their first medicinal herbs to the U.S., and by 2004, they oversaw a network of more than 800 farms in Egypt and the Sudan, producing high quality organic crops, herbs, fruits, and vegetables. The community's mobile health units work with local rural populations, and real social change has been the results of its efforts

In 2003, Sekem was awarded the Alternative Nobel Prize, the Right Livelihood Award as "a business model for the twenty-first century," combining social and cultural development with commercial success. The public recognized Sekem's activities as offering answers to significant questions of our time in the Arab world.

This is the story of Sekem—the original vision, the challenges and hard work, and the eventual successes—in Ibrahim Abouleish's own words.

Stunningly illustrated with colour photographs throughout.

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