The festival was held on 24 February with the approval from the Egyptian military in Elshalalat Gardens. Children’s workshops, street colouring, origami and face-painting kicked off the event at 2pm.
Round table discussions to promote positive behaviours and fight negative ones were held at 3pm; supporting the idea of “Start with Yourself.”
The “Start with Yourself” festival, sponsored by Alexandria Rotary clubs, was conceptualised by Reem Kassem from AGORA Arts and Cultural Management, an institution created to facilitate networking and exchange in the cultural sector. AGORA aims to enhance the intercultural understanding and support economic growth, cultural development and social change. Noha Ragheb jumped in as co-organiser of the event.
Volunteerism was an integral part of the festival: two days prior Wady el Nile Scouts; the Elsalam Institution; Rotary Club Youth; Elsmara Instiution for environment and development; volunteers from the Smouha Club and the Alexandria University faculties of fine arts engineering cleaned, repaired, decorated and prepared the garden for the event. They then partook in organising the next days’ activities.
The garden was divided into several activity stations. The locations were printed on maps for the attendants.
The stage was set for artistic performances, which included a tanoura group, Les Compagnons, Salalem, Cairo key and the popular Massar Egbary.
Nouh's Ship theatre group contributed with a play inspired by the January Revolution.
Zakahrif wall art gallery designed bumper car stickers with slogans on positive behaviours that they wish to promote. AGORA passed out flyers with points that help every Egyptian improve society.
Other attractions included volunteer stations with patriotic T-shirts, including interesting designs for the word “Egypt,” flags and logos of a campaign to stop street harassment. The proceeds were donated to people injured in the protests and families’ of those martyred.
The event was attended by hundreds of artists and passersby, leaving everyone inspired and highlighting Egyptian peoples’ desire for a positive change.
Reem Kassem told Ahram Online that the event was just a beginning for Start with Yourself. “This is Volume 1, and more similar initiatives will be organised soon,” Kassem concluded.