Moving between Cairo, Los Angeles, and Europe, till Rania Salah Seddik, the founder of GebRaa decides to stay in her mother-country, and to initiate her own social innovation to rescue crafts in risk. The dream that was chasing her for many years is seeing its early roots in 2008. Between 2008 to 2014 Rania Seddik manages to establish her enterprise and being able to locally produce and internationally export.
GebRaa is a social enterprise aiming at reviving Egyptian traditional crafts which are at the brick of extinction, through product innovation in design including function, materials, and use of green technology.
The 25th January Spirit
Although GebRaa had officially started in 2008, Egypt’s January 25 uprising had its huge impact in promoting the team values. A new era colored by the free spirit was to trigger GebRaa to continue its work on revitalizing the Egyptian identity through backing the handicrafts in danger of extinction.
Besides being a vital environment for social entrepreneurship and the projects to consolidate the Egyptian identity, and support the local production, the 25th revolution mainly came to maintain sort of social justice, which GebRaa tried hard to do by providing job opportunities to artisans in rural, and less developed areas in a way to be economically independent by having a decent work that cherishes their backgrounds and gives them a real chance to help restore the Egyptian cultural troves.
Art Is Perennial
It Was, It Is, and It Should Be
Art makes culture. Culture makes identity, and for sure identity builds a well-rooted civilization. That what ancestors tried to teach us through their valuable monuments and troves that managed to override our borders, not only to tell us about who we are, but also to tell the others, and express the Egyptian identity. This also happened in all the world civilizations, such as the Mesopotamian civilization, the Roman civilization, Greek civilization, etc.
People of today have something to tell to tomorrow’s generations too. That’s why GebRaa focuses on distinctive crafts that are threatened to disappear. Artisans in GebRaa work on the Kilim industry, inlay industry, embroidery, brass, Khayamiyya, quilting, woven loam, and many other handicrafts that help shape the country’s heritage, and legacy.
For working on the handicrafts, GebRaa not only centralized in Cairo and the center governorates, GebRaa works on the different crafts all over the 29 governorates of Egypt. Through its journey GebRaa managed to tour almost every place in Egypt to give space to the talents located in the rural area, to add to the Egyptian art. GebRaa has different projects in Cairo, Helwan, Beheira, Alexandria, Matruh, Dakahlia, Kafr El sheik Qalyubia, Menofiya, Gharbia, Assiut Sohag, Minya, Qena, and others.
Go Beyond Ordinary
Dealing with communities in need of real development, made GebRaa team thinks of new solutions, to stand against today’s challenges. Karama Foundation is an under-construction NGO attached to GebRaa to continue its mission in economically empowering the less developed areas, and help to revive the Egyptian heritage, and identity by working on the most handicrafts in danger, and provide artisans with a vital environment helps them produce more, in a greenway that doesn’t harm the ecosystem but help backing it by new eco-friendly strategies.
60% of profits generated by GebRaa would go to fund activities of Karama NGO, for community development and heritage preservation.
From Waste to Art
GebRaa also has been trying for many years to make use of waste, and enact recycling processes to help greening the ecosystem, and produce eco-friendly products by replacing the unrecyclable materials by re-used ones.
Transforming palm tree wood to modified wood that can be used in many crafts is one of the mega sub-projects in GebRaa that aims to make use of everything in the environment, in a step forward to pollution-free earth.
Chase Your Identity
Believing that Everyone should know about his heritage, legacy, culture, and origins, GebRaa launched an online Facebook campaign telling everybody the stories behind the Egyptian crafts, especially those who are threatened to disappear.
Choosing social media was not by accident, knowing that social media platforms have their magic to attract and reach almost all the ages, and categories. Knowing also that the majority of the social media users are youth, and children, who are in a real need to get a link to their identity. GebRaa chose Facebook to tackle its campaign in a storytelling way. El Osta Ramadan is an artisan who is asking the audience to guess the handicraft he is doing daily through the holy month of Ramadan. The campaign managed to attract engagement, and for sure it managed to document this knowledge to last long.
GebRaa work has been featured in many local and international platforms and toured a lot of exhibitions, and events around the world, telling the story of Egyptian art, and the role of social entrepreneurship in acting in a way that sincerely serves the community.
Rania Seddik managed to settle an identity-based approach to social entrepreneurship, as she believed in her cultural heritage. Here is the hint, chase your IDENTITY.
Where you can find GebRaa: