“I was seven when I first learned about electrical repair and maintenance,” says Rady Zaki. “That was at my uncle’s workshop, where he taught me all the basics about it.” Rady is SEKEM’s Electricity Specialist for more than 25 years. He is responsible for setting up and maintaining electricity in all premises of SEKEM and Heliopolis University.
“I was already fascinated by the importance of electricity in every aspect of our life during my childhood,” the now 46-year-old tells. The curiosity of young Rady drove him to his uncle’s workshop, where he learned to maintain and repair household circuits and various electric appliances. “Every day after school, I used to head at the workshop and watched my uncle working,” he recalls.
Learning-by-doing is crucial for vocational education
No surprise that Rady chose to join the vocational education system when he reached the secondary stage at school, to become an electrician. “As much as I was happy of taking that step, I was disappointed with my studies. The practical work was insufficient to qualify me as a professional craftsperson.” In general, the vocational education system in Egypt is of bad quality as it is lacking learning-by-doing techniques.
However, Rady found a job at SEKEM right after his graduation in 1992. “In SEKEM I learned much more than during my professional education, especially from the longstanding German SEKEM member Dietrich Marienfeld,” the ambitious SEKEM co-worker recalls.
Rady looks back to a long history with SEKEM. He lives with his family in Gelfina, a village nearby the main SEKEM farm. His father was one of the earliest farmers that joined Ibrahim Abouleish the SEKEM Founder in the very beginnings. When Rady’s father passed away 20 years ago, it was Ibrahim Abouleish himself who brought him the sad news. “I was working at ATOS factory when Dr. Abouleish suddenly appeared. He assured me that he will be like a second father to me – that was very comforting and became totally true,” he recounts. “He always used to ask and care about me and my family.”
Practice makes perfect
This year, one of Rady’s daughters has been enrolled at SEKEM School and soon his youngest daughter too will join the SEKEM Nursery. “What I really like about SEKEM Schools is how the teachers appreciate and promote the preferences and talents of their students. It’s amazing to see girls learning different professions at SEKEM’s Vocational Training Center,’’ he says enthusiastically.
Rady is deeply connected to SEKEM. He has been a witness to every new entity founded in SEKEM within the past decades and knows them inside out as he installed all electricity lines. With his team of electricians, Rady leaves his fingerprint in every corner of SEKEM – by the electricity supply, telephone lines, and computer networks. He says: “It’s all about passion, practice and being talented. With a well-based educational background that embraces practice, talents can develop and grow.”