1001 Inventions Engages Children at Egypt’s Historical ‘City of the Dead’

Lesser-Known Stories of Science Come to Life in Collaboration with Al Alfi Foundation and MASQ

Cairo, 2 January 2021 – 1001 Inventions introduced children from the underprivileged community at Cairo’s ‘City of the Dead’ to the wonders of science with a series of engaging sessions which ended today. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) activities were organised by 1001 Inventions, with the support of Al Alfi Foundation, at Maq’ad of Sultan Qaitbey Center for Culture and Arts (MASQ).

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1001 Inventions activities introduced children to basic STEM concepts through films, hands-on activities and exciting demonstrations inspired by pioneers from the golden age of Arabic science. Children travelled back to fascinating ancient times when Arabic was the lingua franca of science. They learned about Al-Zahrawi, Al-Kindi, Ibn Sina, Ibn al-Haytham, Jabir ibn Hayyan and many other scientists whose remarkable contributions still impact our world today.

A creative team of local science explainers offered a warm welcome to all children and delivered a broad set of 1001 Inventions themed STEM activities. The team ensured COVID-19 protective measures are in place at each session, so everyone enjoys their experience safely. They also helped raise children’s awareness about the importance of regular hand washing, wearing masks and keeping distances to protect their health beyond these educational events.

Children were introduced to architecture as they virtually visited historic sites to appreciate marvellous architecture and used marshmallows to learn about geometric shapes and build 3D structures. They explored the magic of chemistry through using natural materials to make their own hand sanitizers, soap, perfumes and toothpaste. Additionally, inspired by surgeons and physicians form the history of their own culture, children learned about the digestive system, made a simple model of lungs, and practiced ancient surgical techniques through cross-stitching.

Children were totally inspired with their surroundings as sessions were organised at the Maq’ad of Sultan Qaitbey (MASQ). This historic complex, built-in 15th-century in Cairo’s ‘City of the Dead’ has been restored by ARCHiNOS Architecture for adaptive reuse with the support of the European Union and the Drosos Foundation. The restoration is coupled with cultural and social development activities, by ARCHiNOS and the Sultan Foundation, in support of the underprivileged communities living in this area. In addition to empowerment and job creation, these long-term social and economic measures help sustain the preservation work of these centuries-old monuments.

Such experiential learning experiences helped excite children about science, understand principles of experimentation and critical thinking while gaining vital research, collaboration as well as teamwork and presentation skills. Additionally, hosting the events at MASQ helped raise children awareness about the importance of this complex and other historic buildings in their community, so they become active partners in their conservation.

With the support of Al Alfi Foundation, children will continue their learning journey beyond these sessions with each of them receiving their very own copy of the Arabic version of the “1001 Inventions & Awesome Facts from Muslim Civilization” book, published in partnership with National Geographic Kids.

Considering the valuable impact on the children, 1001 Inventions together with Al-Alfi Foundation and ARCHiNOS Architecture are exploring opportunities to continue to bring these exciting STEM sessions throughout 2021 and beyond to deprived children at Cairo’s ‘City of the Dead’.

About Al Alfi Foundation for Human and Social Development

An independent philanthropic foundation aiming at developing people with high capability to improve their surrounding social and economic environment.  A high-impact foundation seeking the highest social return for our philanthropic interventions.


About ARCHiNOS Architecture

We are architects known for the quality and uniqueness of our design, and for the attentiveness to the client’s needs. We strive for architecture that is thoughtful, purposeful and artistic.

In contemporary design, we are mindful of the timeless values of elegance, human-fit scale, good craftsmanship and the inherent qualities of building materials and techniques.

We conserve and preserve historic buildings and landscapes, and we design modern exhibits and interpretative displays in them. We also design museum displays.

We work for the future, being aware and mindful of the importance of our roots in the past.


About 1001 Inventions

1001 Inventions is an award-winning, British based organisation that creates international educational campaigns and initiatives aiming to spark young people’s interest in science. 1001 Inventions believes in the power of culture and storytelling to encourage innovation and promote diversity and inclusion. As such, 1001 Inventions produces themed transmedia productions uncovering fascinating contributions of lesser-known pioneers from Arab, Asian and other Eastern cultures. Such creative public engagement productions cover a wide array of themes including health and wellbeing, machines and robotics, chemistry and its applications as well as animals and nature.

1001 Inventions has engaged with over 450 million people across the globe through effective grassroots outreach as well as working with a network of international partners, including UNESCO, the United Nations World Food Programme, National Geographic and leading academics to produce interactive exhibits, shorts films, live shows, books and educational resources that are being used by hundreds of thousands of educators around the world.