Bearat, Egypt: Celebrating Milestones
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Bearat, Egypt: Celebrating Milestones

Grand Circle and OAT associates visit the Women's Sewing Workshop

With each one of our Invest in a Village projects, we divide an ambitious amount of work into smaller, more accessible milestones—which means we have many successes to celebrate along the way. This past May, we reached the very first milestone for our Women's Sewing Workshop in Bearat, Egypt—and a special group of visitors happened to be in Egypt to share in the celebration.

Danny Tyrell, a manager in Grand Circle's Telesales department, recently led a team of high-performing associates on a familiarization (or "fam") journey to Egypt. The group experienced all of the world-famous landmarks that travelers visit on their Grand Circle and OAT trips … but their most unique highlight can't be found in any guidebook. "We arrived in Bearat right after the first five sewing machines were delivered," says Danny. "They were in boxes lining the hallway, and we got to help put the very first one together." The machines were purchased with the first $2000 raised for the sewing workshop (read our latest fundraising update here), and represent a new opportunity for the women of Bearat to earn a viable wage.

"It was a beautiful day, and the sun was streaming onto the teal colored walls," Danny remembers. The team had walked to the workshop along dirt roads lined with hay and the occasional donkey—and along the way, the villagers emerged from their homes to smile and wave. "The children ran right up to us, so we played ball with them," says Danny. "It was very welcoming and charming."

At the workshop, the team participated in a small community service project to help beautify the women's working environment. "We repotted some indoor plants for them to make their workshop as pleasant as possible," says Danny. Then, the associates experienced a bit of A Day in the Life of the women of Bearat. They joined the women's sewing circle, and tried their hands at stitching and beading. Throughout the day, the women showed their appreciation by performing the typical Arabic "ululation"—which sounds like a trilling, high-pitched yodel. "It's how they share their excitement," Danny explains.

Overall, the day was an enlightening cultural exchange for everyone involved—both the visiting associates, and the women of Bearat. "For many of these women, OAT bringing travelers to the village is their first link to the outside world," says Danny. "Some of them had never seen foreigners before." At Grand Circle Foundation, we feel fortunate to know that this "first link" is making such a positive impact on their quality of life.

Learn more about the Women's Sewing Workshop in Bearat, and find out how you can invest in the future of this village.