Far below the line where minarets meet the sky, there is a mini-city where walking guitars roam the nights. Its’ buildings are rounded, encircled by rapid flying cars. Downtown, there is a hospital where patients are treated for free, and a cardboard theater whose colors reflect the rainbow. This is the city Ahmed imagines.
This little architect is taking part of the Mini-Medina project, an exciting experiment that aims to give children of all backgrounds the chance to project the city of their dreams – and live it. The model helps develop citizenship and democracy values among children who are often raised in a context where making choices is not a part of everyday life.
“We do not give children a downsized model of the ‘real world’ to play in but rather provide them with a safe space in which to experiment and explore alternative ways: the real world may eventually learn from the children’s experiences!” says project representative Nairy Abd El Shafy.
300 Egyptian children have already created their own version of society, as 5 editions were held in Cairo, Abu Sir, and Alexandria. This month, the team started an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to build 6 new cities, an online platform, and an alternative education network in Egypt. And they dream bigger: they want to take 15 children to the biggest mini-city in Germany next summer.