Athar Lina | Fus-ḥa is a seven-month project funded by UNHCR and coordinated by the Built Environment Collective | Megawra in collaboration with Terre des Hommes. Its aim is to promote peaceful coexistence among Syrian children refugees and their host community in Cairo through emphasising common historical links between Egypt and Syria. Close to 200 Syrian and Egyptian children participated in interactive visits to historical sites in the neighbourhood of al-Khalifa in Historic Cairo, discussed history within themes that centred on the meaning of family, the family home, the value of play and the benefits of travel, and expressed their understanding of these issues through storytelling and visual art.
Work on Fus-ḥa started in June 2015 with a two-month planning period in which the Fus-ḥa team worked with historians, art historians, educationalists, artists and community organisations working with Syrians and children to develop an interactive educational program suited to children aged 9-15 that builds on the rich history of the mosque of Ibn Tulun and the houses of al-Kritliyya and Amna bint Salim and the eclectic Gayer-Anderson collection on display at these houses. The idea was to extrapolate from these history stories and design activities that explore the historical links between Egypt and Syria, to between them and the rest of the region and between the region and the world. Through this, children understood that travel could be positive and that change could be good. They also learnt that through times of uncertainty, history - whether personal memories, family narratives or local, national, regional or world history- can be an anchor that grounds identity. It can also be a tool to understand how human achievement is created through exchange and communication that in many cases come out of adversity and trials.
Phase 1 was funded by UNHCR it started in June 2015 and ended in December 2015. We are currently planning phase 2 funded by UNESCO Cairo and coordinated by the Built Environment Collective - Megawra.