Mahdi arrived from Sudan to Egypt in September 2020 and did not expect that he would meet Tamer Hosni at a factory for medical supplies.
Mahdi arrived from Sudan to Egypt in September 2020 and did not expect that he would meet his favorite singer, artist Tamer Hosni, at a factory for medical supplies, and for the first time in a long time, joy and excitement filled Mahdi’s heart.
Between reality and dreams, Mahdi has a long way to go, as all his wishes are focused on becoming a famous singer; despite his powerful voice, his chances to be heard by the public are limited.
Mahdi is 24 years old. He arrived in Egypt in September 2020, and used to work as a singer before leaving his homeland Sudan and becoming a worker at the Capitol Investments Factory, which is located on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt.
Mahdi had to leave Sudan searching for safety; however, he is still attached to his memories and a home that he wishes to return to one day.
“My heart is stubborn; I do not suffer but I am not happy,” those words are the beginning of a Sudanese song that Mahdi constantly hums while he works, that stubborn heart, that left home with nothing but a suitcase, never expected to meet his favorite singer Tamer Hosni, after he became a refugee in Egypt. For the first time in a long time, Mahdi’s heart experienced some happiness – happiness that has been away from him for so many years.
Joy and spontaneous laughter surpassed the sound of the factory machines that never calm down from the pressure of production, minutes after the Egyptian singer Tamer Hosny entered the Capitol Factory for Investments in Cairo, so that June 9th, 2021 became a special day in the lives of more than 200 workers, including Egyptians, refugees, and immigrants of different nationalities.
That joyful atmosphere that filled the place was the beginning of an exceptional journey by Tamer Hosni to a factory that is an outstanding model of peaceful coexistence, where workers of different nationalities are working on the production of medical masks and various medical supplies to be of help to people in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am proud that the factory is established by Egyptian youth who had put all their efforts to support the refugee cause, and that all the factory employees, despite their different nationalities, are working as a family. I do not feel any difference between an Egyptian and a refugee or an immigrant in Egypt, we are all here treated the same,” said Tamer Hosny about the factory and its employees who work together in harmony, cook different Egyptian and Sudanese dishes to share in their lunch times, and play football during their breaks.
“I am over the moon that I had the chance to meet Tamer Hosni and sing in front of him; today is the beginning of my artistic career,” with these words, Mahdi expressed how happy he was to Tamer, while explaining that he is using his current job to save up in order to buy an electric guitar.
The factory was established in August 2020 by a group of Egyptian youth, who pledged that this factory would be a model for a community that unites different nationalities. Amr Abdel Hakim, a lawyer and one of the founders of the Capitol Investments Group, says: “Refugees and immigrants have dedication to work, which helps the factory grow and generate revenues. That is why I consider them a guarantee for the success of any investor in Egypt.”
Egypt hosts more than 260,000 refugees and asylum seekers registered with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, of 58 different nationalities. The majority of whom were among the most vulnerable before the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and were more affected by the changing conditions that the world experienced during the past year, as many of them lost their source of income and were unable to continue providing basic needs for their families because of the pandemic.
UNHCR helps refugees and asylum seekers to support themselves and their families by providing them with technical training sessions to be able to find a market for their skills and goods.
Tamer’s visit to the factory has been documented as the first episode of the “More than Just a Refugee” series, a UNHCR video production to highlight the stories and skills of refugees of different nationalities who are residing in Egypt, to mark this year’s World Refugee Day, which falls on June 20 of each year.
More than Just A Refugee is a social media series consisting of five different episodes highlighting different refugee skills, including singing, drawing, playing football, perfume making, and beading featuring Tamer Hosny, Tarek Sabry, Passant Nour Eldin, Ola Roshdy and Pyramids Football team.
You can watch episodes of More than Just a Refugee through this link.