A Healthy society
In 2011 when AGORA was inaugurated it had a simple mission of "providing an outlet for creative community involvement through education, dissemination and production of arts and culture". Later in 2012 we developed the Development Matrix which undertakes two parallel programs "Arts for economic development and Arts for social development". The main core objectives of these two programs are poverty alleviation, youth empowerment, enhancing innovation and creativity and strengthening identities.
The work tying these two programs together started with a small project with 6 women from Alexandria. The project was called Calligraph, and was funded by the British Council. The objectives of the project were three fold; community level, artists' level and participants level. 200 art pieces where created and displayed in two exhibitions in Alexandria and Cairo. Calligraph had a significant impact where nearly 50% of the participants have a reliable source of income now. Artists involved took a significant step in their career and moved forward.
Building on the results of Calligraph we conceptualized Green Crafts to multiply the impact and work this time with 60 women and children from rural communities in Alexandria; 10 times the number of participants in Calligraph.
The project and the generous support of the Prince Claus Fund have built the capacity of the organization in terms of exploring disadvantaged communities and accessing the impact of artistic interventions in such communities. Green Crafts have shed light on theoretical issues we considered in our matrix, where it provided evidence for several of the matrix's assumptions.
The feedback from the participants was astonishing in terms of social and economical impact on them. Participants emphasized the enlightenment and the educational dimension of the project, as well as its economical benefit. Some have already started their own projects and some are using the skill just for leisure time and others have taught their children.
Green Crafts have set the milestone for a bigger step. AGORA is looking forward to a nationwide project that would help alleviate poverty and develop the society through arts.