Fanous Making: Cultural Awareness for Children

When children are enlightened about the local economies of their homeland, they become culturally aware about what drives the livelihood of their people.

I held a workshop for children in Al-Khalifa Street in Historic Cairo. A lot of children were interested and they registered to attend the workshop. The main aim of the workshop was to make the participants aware of the process of manufacture of the Fanous, as well as its cultural importance. The implementation of the workshop took place over 2 days to accommodate the interested children. The workshops were held on Thursday and Friday February 23rd and 24th, 2017. The duration of each workshop was 2 hours. The target audience was from the children of Al-Khalifa area, as they don�t know much about this industry.

The Fanous is the light of Ramadan. It has a deep cultural history associated with it.
Image Courtesy: Hany Barakat

About the location:

I picked Historic Cairo as it is a very attractive location for interesting activities. The area brims with businesses that have a local flavour. This would enable the children to experience the cultural miliue of Cairo in all its glory. The workshop took place at the Al-Khalifa community centre on Al-Khalifa Street, which is located in Historic Cairo. This community centre is a good space for cultural learning.

The community centre is a 2 minute walk from the Fanous shop. The space is safe and controlled. Holding a workshop there for young children is thus convenient. It is a heritage building (unfinished mosque) and used as an activity centre for the area.

Al Khalifa street forms the perfect location for cultural learning, since it sports a community centre, as well as several heritage structures.
Image Courtesy: Ahram Online

The Fanous Workshop:

I shared information about the historic area and the history of the Fanous industry. They were told about the cultural significance of the Fanous, as well as its history. Following this, a workshop was held for them. The workshop was designed for the children to enable them to be creative. The children took the chance to create new designs for the Fanous and market their new designs they created. By the end of the workshop, the children learned how to create and start a new business. Thus, they were not only given a vast amount of information about the Fanous industry, but also managed to learn the practical workings of the business.

Children attending the Fanous making workshop at the Al Khalifa Community Centre.
Image Courtesy: Mariam Dawoud
The main objective of the workshop was to enlighten children about the process of Fanous making. They were made to create their own patterns and designs.
Image Courtesy: Mariam Dawoud
The participants created paper prototypes of the Fanous by employing their own creative abilities and ideas.
Image Courtesy: Mariam Dawoud
Following the creation of these prototypes, the children were enlightened about the historical significance of the Fanous, and told to think about ways to make the items they created saleable.
Image Courtesy: Mariam Dawoud

Enlightening the younger generations about the way a local economy functions, and the driving factors that make it feasible makes them culturally aware from an earlier stage in their lives. This helps them to understand the machinery that powers their own cultural context and its evolution over time.


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