In a landmark event on 12 October some 1000 children and 480 young Egyptians across five Upper Egypt governorates were given access to artistic and cultural tools as a means for self-development.
Access to Culture for Upper Egypt Children and Youth is a two-year European-funded programme implemented by The Association of Upper Egypt For Education and Development (AUEED), one of the most established Egyptian NGOs working in development. The programme will be implemented in collaboration with the culture, solidarity and youth ministry.
EU projects in Upper Egypt have for decades focussed on development efforts, because of the widespread poverty and lack of basic rights.
However the idea of using culture as a gateway to development could appeal more to the youth and have a greater impact on Upper Egypt culture and development.
The initiative's key idea is employing Egypt's vivid cultural diversity to support social dialogue, according to head of the EU Egypt delegation James Moran
Artistic expression can help form a sense of identity and self-esteem, particularly for young people looking to the future.
The project starts in January with a budget of € 263,500. Initially the focus will be on training community cultural leaders in areas like choir, drama, poetry and drawing, and a cultural centre will be built in the village of Hegaza.
The project, which will also offer grants to artistic groups participating in cultural competitions, coincides with AUEED's 75th birthday. .
AUEED is known for leading cultural development through arts and crafts and choir initiatives that bring together Upper Egypt's finest voices.