CAIRO: The Zamalek Association organized “Taste of Zamalek: Winter Magic at the Park” at the Fish Garden on Gabalaya Street on Saturday, where live musical performances and Christmas music accompanied attendees as they browsed over 150 booths.
“Zamalek Association is for the community. For example, the Fish Garden Park was in shambles,” said member of the association Fadia Badrawi to The Cairo Post, explaining that the main purpose of the festival and the association’s activities is urban renewal and redevelopment of the area.
“After fundraising from other events, we renovated the children’s playground and cut the trees.”
The association has also begun informing residents of the government’s new National Waste Management Program, according to Badrawi. The Association teaches residents about sorting organic and non-organic waste.
“We’re working with the municipality on garbage collection, but our relationship with them has not always been smooth. Actually, a group of women originally founded Zamalek Association to fill a void that the municipality had left,” explained Badrawi.
Residents are also taking matters into their own hands in altering the proposed plan for the third metro line. “The original route would’ve increased traffic. Fortunately, the metro project is funded by the European Union, and the EU will only release funds with the approval of community members living next to metro stops,” said Badrawi.
“As you can see, Zamalek Assocation helps community members through grassroots activity. We get a lot of flak for living in Zamalek, that we’re elitist. However, this model can be transferred to many communities in Cairo,” suggested Badrawi.
“Communities all around the city are craving these public opportunities to collaborate and achieve shared goals,” added Badrawi.
Zamalek resident Ashraf Elwi explained his role in helping the community. “I’m supporting Zamalek Guardians, who help keep citizens safe on the streets,” he said to The Cairo Post
“I’m not a member of Zamalek Association, but I still think it’s very important to stay involved you’re your community and help when you can,” said Ahmed Hamzawi, another Zamalek resident, to The Cairo Post.
Badrawi further expressed hope for community activism across Cairo. “All action needs to be sustainable. It requires effort and time. However, when people see that somebody cares, big change is possible.”