How Safarni Started

In 2008 Raphaelle Ayach (Safarni Founder) was working in Madrid, Spain and studying Arabic. As she began making friends from the Arab world, she noticed herself becoming more sensitive and aware of the ever-present racism against Arabs in Europe. At the same time, she also began to notice many prejudices held by the Arab communities against Europeans.

On both sides, she was surprised to find otherwise intelligent people holding tight to their fears of “the other”.  Usually these fears were not based on actual encounters with people from the community, but based on what they had “heard”.

Raphaelle wondered to herself why these prejudices (on both sides) were suddenly so sensitive to her. She realized that it was because of the fact that she was “emotionally connected” to both groups of people, that she suddenly felt solidarity that she had previously had never felt.  She was amazed at how simple friendships had the incredible power to create empathy, awareness and solidarity.

During this phase, Raphaelle also built a close friendship with intercultural facilitator Walaa Ahmed Abdel Moety.  He stood by the idea that “you can never really feel empathy for someone unless that person is your dear friend or your family”.

From this idea, Safarni was born with the aim of contributing to a world where people know each other and are connected on a human level.

Walaa passed away in 2011. Safarni began in September of 2012 in loving memory of Walaa.