“When you have a good relationship with your manager, you’re happy to give your best and more,” says Tamer Ahmed Reda, one of SEKEM’s employees for 14 years. Tamer has a special morning routine: Every day when he arrives at the SEKEM Farm, he picks up milk from the stables and delivers it to various distribution points. The milk then is boiled and served to the workers free of charge. “It was Dr. Abouleish himself who suggested to do this. For some workers who are in the processing department of herbs and seeds, milk is a good way to clear the respiratory system of dust and impurities”, explains Tamer, the 43 year old man. Although his job is to manage the SEKEM Shop on the SEKEM Farm, he’s happy to do this daily errand. “It was Dr. Ibrahim’s way to care about each employee, and now it has become my way to contribute to the SEKEM community and care about my colleagues.”
Tamer has been a part of the SEKEM community for 14 years. He first spent 6 years in NatureTex, SEKEM’s company for Organic textiles, as a quality control inspector. His brother is working there for 20 years, and it was him who suggested Tamer to join SEKEM as well.
As a newlywed, Tamer considered being employed in a company for the first time, after having been a freelance craftsman for interior designers. He was seeking a life of more stability to provide for his new family a secure life.
Caring about each other
In NatureTex, Tamer received training, learned a new job and experienced a new culture. “SEKEM’s culture became a part of my own identity”, he says. “Starting with the managers, from whom I received respect, support and appreciation, ending with my colleagues – SEKEM became my second home.” However, working with so many women was a big change in his environment and understanding in the beginning. “I first shied away, but by time, I realized that they are my equals, and had so much knowledge and help to offer”, Tamer admits.
“It was a great experience to be a part of a wonderful team, where each one plays his own small part but then the result becomes greater than all of us.”
After 6 years as a part of NatureTex, Tamer was recommended by his seniors to be in charge of the SEKEM Shop, where he still works in his 8th year. “Although it is almost one decade ago, it feels like yesterday. I’ve learned a lot during my time at NatureTex. It was a great experience to be a part of a wonderful team, where each one plays his own small part but then the result becomes greater than all of us,” says Tamer.
The SEKEM Shop offers almost everything that is produced at the SEKEM companies – food, textiles and natural medicine – to the co-workers for special rates. Tamer helped the Shop to offer even more varieties form the factories. “I helped to choose and bring in the products from the factory, in order to present an increasing variety.”
No more plastic
As on the entire Farm, also the SEKEM Shop does not allow plastic bags anymore. This is something that Tamers wants to support. “Last year, during SEKEM’s 40th anniversary, I started to realize again how dangerous and bad it is to use such huge quantities of plastic”, Tamer tells. Knowing it will be a long way from getting rid of all plastic, he brought in SEKEM’s approach into his personal life, and just like he stopped serving plastic bags to the customers in the SEKEM Shop, he also stopped using it for his personal shopping. The father of two sons also wants to be a good example to his sons when teaching them to ban plastic. As he received development opportunities by his managers in SEKEM, he wants to offer similar chances to his children: “They should be able to give their best and develop their own strong identities.”