About Safarni

 

OUR DREAM

We dream of a generation that is globally aware, inclusive, curious and loving; a generation that feels connected to diversity and celebrates this through friendships with people from around the world.

 

WHAT WE DO

Safarni designs and implements intercultural programs that engage children to explore and appreciate diversity in all its forms. Programs create a platform for emotional and critical engagement with human difference, wherein children discover and immerse themselves in cultures from around the world without ever leaving their neighborhoods, and learn to see their own neighborhoods through new eyes. Program graduates become Ambassadors of Diversity, global citizens that possess the awareness, openness and courage to build a more inclusive and resilient society. Safarni’s innovative approach has won international recognition from Ashoka, Lego Foundation and most recently, the 2017 UNAOC & BMW Group Intercultural Innovation Award.

 

WHY IT MATTERS

Despite living in a globalized world, traveling and discovering the world’s diversity remains inaccessible to most. Simultaneously, people’s fears are rising to the surface as we are increasingly faced with situations (mass migrations, increasingly diversified cities) that require acceptance for all fellow humans despite difference of appearance, culture, religion or politics. We believe fear is a natural part of the process of discovery, and that with positive intercultural curriculum, fear can not only be appeased, but melt into love and appreciation. That’s why we’re here!

 

THE STORY BEHIND SAFARNI

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.

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