El-Husseini sisters founders of Gowa El 7alla
“I was inspired by the will to try to serve our community in various ways,” said Eman El-Husseini, the 47-year-old who has a PhD in restoration and archaeology.
El-Husseini made a career shift when she quit her job as an academic staff member at the faculty of archaeology and tourism guidance and ventured into the culinary field in 2017.
At the time, her father suffered heart problems and his health was deteriorating rapidly, so she helped him by cooking his meals.
El-Husseini began taking culinary courses online with professional chefs, serving meals with garnishing and special touches to enhance both appearance and flavor.
“We all eat with our eyes first,” She recalls.
Eman and her sister Israa, who is a professional photographer, partnered up to establish a cooking blog named Gowa El7alla (meaning “inside the cooking pot” in Arabic) to exhibit their talent in cooking and photography.
During their visit to Madrid, Spain, they noticed the use of audible signals like “bird sound” in traffic to help blind people safely cross the road.
Also, they took notice of American chef Christine Hà, who was the first blind contestant on the US cooking show MasterChef and the winner of its third season.
This inspired them to produce a cook book for the blind.
El-Husseini presented her idea to the Egyptian Ministry of Culture and published the first cook book for the visually impaired called ‘Gowa El7alla Cookbook for Visually Impaired.’ The book uses Braille and was published in 2019.
The book begins with 25 pages of the basic rules for kitchen safety for the visually impaired.
The book is full of a variety of mouthwatering recipes from different world cuisines and is divided into three levels of difficulty, ending with the dessert section.
In the year 2020, when due to COVID-19 the whole world was unable to connect, the two sisters developed the idea and established the first audio mobile application to teach cooking for the visually impaired. The app was released under the name of the book, ‘Gowa El7alla.’
“In the application, our team excludes the sense of vision from the description of the recipes. They use the other four senses in the description. All the recipes are [presented] by visually impaired chefs or cooking lovers,” El-Huessini explains.
“All the cooking shows and programs on television channels or social media do not reflect the needs of these people, relying only on the sense of sight to describe the recipes,” El-Husseini adds.
The first version of the application is divided into two main sections. The first one is free cooking recipes and the second is cooking courses.
The first phase of the project is to spread the application among blind users in Egypt, and the marketing plan for the application will start soon. The second phase will be in Arab region.
The application is available on Google play store at play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gowael7alla.cfb and can be installed on any android device.
The app team is comprised of 18 people, among whom 10 are blind or visually impaired members (seven women and three men).
“Our team is now working to make the application available on IOS Apple store soon,” El-Husseini said.
“My dream is for every blind or visually impaired person to feel independent and stand alone in complete safety while preparing food and doing everyday tasks in the kitchen.
“I hope it becomes a global idea. Kitchens for people with disabilities should be available in every part of the world,” she concludes.