This is the story of a place I chose to call home, a place called St. Catherine’s. St. Catherine’s is an isolated, mountainous protectorated located in South Sinai, Egypt, its locals are Bedouins from the Jabaleya tribe, an indigenous minority subject to discrimination.
The Sinai Bedouin community in Egypt has been struggling for their civil rights for decades; being unacknowledged by the government, deprived from their lands, lacking proper medical & educational facilities and being misrepresented in the media are some of the obstacles they face on daily basis. Tourism which is considered their main source of income have been heavily impacted; number of foreign & local tourists have dramatically dropped more than 60% since 2011 due to misleading safety rumors about the area & lack of security from the government’s end.
Catherine Exists project came to life in 2009 and has been running ever since to tell the story of St. Catherine’s and its people and their struggle for survival. Documenting the natural and cultural heritage of the land to preserve an important part of the Egyptian identity and shed light on the topic.
This is a sample of the project. The project is a series of photo-stories depicting the richness of the land and the inspiring people living in it; images are taken throughout the years 2009-2017. Catherine Exists project grew through the years to become a community development program that empowers the indigenous Bedouin community and preserve its culture.
Currently, the project is taking a huge leap of impact “THE NEXT BIG THING” ; building a community center where local residents will be able to access medical services, take classes, and pursue income-generating activities. To contribute to its mission and sustainability, the center will also provide facilities for travelers to stay, learn about the local culture, attend classes conducted by locals; experts in agriculture & other fields and volunteer in the local community.
A website dedicated sloley for the project will be launched soon.