A performance during last year’s Hakawy festival.
Although Egypt has registered significant progress in its educational
system, it is still lagging behind more developed countries. That is
why parents have started to turn toward alternative ways of preparing
their children for what lies ahead. AFCA (Académie Francophone Cairote
des Arts) for Arts and Culture is an independent organisation, which
strives to place arts and culture at the centre of every Egyptian
Through cultural and artistic workshops AFCA seeks to inspire
children, enrich their imagination, while encouraging them to explore
their talents and natural artistry.
AFCA offers six artistic clubs throughout the year during school
vacations (Halloween, Christmas, mid-year, winter, Easter and summer).
Each club revolves around a different theme and hosts several workshops.
This year’s Christmas club started 23 December and will run until 10
January. The club targets French and English speaking four to 12
year-olds from international schools around Egypt.
“The Christmas club activities will be in French but there will be
volunteers to translate for the English-speaking children,” said Racha
Ali, executive director of AFCA.
Apart from encouraging the children to improve their language skills,
the AFCA Christmas club seeks to revive the spirit of Christmas through
“the workshops of Santa Claus.”
“We have various workshops, like the cooking workshop, during which
children will be cooking Christmas dishes, the drama workshop, where the
children will be impersonating Christmas characters and singing
Christmas songs. There is also a storytelling workshop and many other
activities,” Ali said.
“Children attending the Christmas club are also encouraged to work on
their writing skills by writing letters to Santa,” Ali added. “Team
work is at the centre of most activities that we do with the children
and this will help them improve their communication skills,” she
Creativity is also encouraged during Santa’s workshops, which will
end with a show prepared by the children. “Children can come up with
their own ideas for the final show, which will be attended by their
parents; otherwise no parents are allowed, it is all about the
children,” said Ali.
However, what happens if ones child does not speak a second or a
third language, or one simply cannot afford the EGP 400 entrance fee for
the AFCA Christmas club? Fortunately AFCA has made it a part of its
mission to give back to the community; therefore, it has teamed up with
various NGOs and public schools throughout Egypt to organise different
cultural projects for underprivileged children. These projects are free
and will make arts and culture accessible to all.
In spirit of promoting and popularising free access to alternative
education, AFCA for Arts and Culture will be organising the third
edition of the Hakawy International Arts Festival for Children in March
2013. The festival will host a diverse selection of artists in Cairo who
are skilled in different fields (theatre, dance, puppetry,
storytelling, etc) from Egypt and around the world. The theme of the
2013 festival is centered on music and rhythm and it is tailored for
both a young audience and parents.