“There was only the sound of a piano – no one out there, but only green trees and flowers surrounding colorful buildings,” remembers the Project Manager Dalia Abdo her first day at SEKEM. “I felt like I was in a movie or dreaming”, she recounts.
After her graduation from the Engineering department of the American University in Cairo, Dalia joined two jobs in two different companies. “I have found my passion for project coordination already during my university years. I find it very interesting to follow up on a project from the start and see the progress that comes with it,” says Dalia, whose university studies were mainly focused on management and construction engineering. “However, routine and organization had always been my concern. But, in the beginning, most of the projects were the same, without a lot of new or special approaches,” she reveals.
Diversity brings challenges and experience
In February 2003, Dalia joined SEKEM and found her job a bit challenging in the beginning, as she was missing the routine. “At SEKEM, projects are diverse but all of them are serving SEKEM’s vision of sustainability. With each project I learned something new, as I did a lot of researching on the topic that I worked on,” she says.
The photovoltaic system (PV), which is built up, on the roof of Heliopolis University, was one of Dalia’s biggest projects at SEKEM. This PV system had been installed with the support of the DEG (German Society for Development). “With a team, I was following up the process of installing the PV panels of the system,” she tells. “There are different types of panels, which needed a lot of research, in order to determine the most compatible one with the environmental conditions of Egypt.” Today, in addition to generating electricity for the Engineering Department of Heliopolis University, the PV system serves the students as an important tool for research and trials.
“It is great to attend cultural activities at work although I am hired as an engineer.”
For Dalia, not only the projects but also the working environment is quite unique at SEKEM. “It is great to attend cultural activities at work although I am hired as an engineer,” says the devoted mother of two daughters. Dalia’s elder daughter did even join the Children’s University at Heliopolis University several times and likes SEKEM’s cultural activities too.
Two years after joining SEKEM, Dalia got married and then “blessed with two daughters”. Being a newly working mother back then, Dalia could make use of flexible working hours that SEKEM offers young families. “That supported me to continue my career and balancing it with my family life.”
15 years of SEKEM reality
This month Dalia Abdo celebrates her 15th anniversary as a SEKEM co-worker. “I am thankful for the opportunities that I received here in the past years,” she says. “Although I was a bit surprised in the beginning for example about the regular cultural meetings, I now appreciate them.” Over the time, Dalia of course also discovered that the piano music that she had heard on her first day at SEKEM came exactly from such a meeting. Every week, all employees of SEKEM’s Head Office attend those cultural meetings that are opened by music, in order to discuss all topics related to societal, cultural or environmental development in Egypt and the world. Hence, Dalia wasn’t dreaming back then, but in right inside the SEKEM reality. And after 15 years she is still happy to be a part of the SEKEM family. “Every day I experience something new, which is a great blessing.”