fountain pen on text sheet paper with rose close-up

On May 27, 2016,  the first installment of … The Café … took place at Kotob Khan, a bookstore/café in Maadi.

Less than a year later, on January 20, 2017, the second installment of … The Café … will be taking place at Prosperos, a restaurant in Maadi.

Considering the fact that it was the first installment, last year’s event had a decent turnout and those in the café, who were complete strangers, even joined in. Imagine that. Meeting strangers and broadening a community through a love for the spoken and written word.  

What’s the purpose of The Café? … The Café’s…  aims to end illiteracy in Egypt. Did you know that around 25% of the 92,000,000+ Egyptians residing in Egypt (ages 10 and older) are illiterate?  While that may not seem like much,  as it’s far from being a majority, that makes it even more of an issue. Who’s their spokesperson? On a daily basis, we all read and write, but what about those who can’t? While it may be a deliberate choice made by some (who knows?), sometimes, literacy isn’t an an option to begin with. Well, in … The Cafe … , we’re striving to help those who are unfortunately not as privileged as we are.

Egypt; the beginnings or start of writing began here thousands of years ago and today, its literary legacy lies in the hands of Taha Hussein and Naguib Mahfouz amongst others. Whilst their works will never be lost, just think, what if one who is currently illiterate has the potential to become a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature and thus, a Nobel Prize Laureate?

Here are some reasons as to why you should attend the event and possibly donate OR perhaps even join before the event if you love poetry (as of January 14, 2017):

  1. Do you believe that ending illiteracy in Egypt is important and worthy of our efforts?
  2. Do you agree with the fact that in order for Egypt to grow and prosper (socially and economically), one of the primary or main catalysts is an educated population who are able to read and write?

We may be a small fraction of AIS’ 1700+ students, but nevertheless, (this, like the reasons, comes from our mission statement) “We believe that together, though we are a small band of students, we may be able to change the world… or at least this one beloved corner of the world, that we call home, the Mother of the world, Egypt.”

If memory serves, we raised around EGP 5,000 last year. Who knows how we’ll do this year?

Either way, little as the result may seem, it’s the thought that counts.


By Maya Abou El Nasr