Culture Resource initiated the Darb Al Ahmar Arts School project in 2010 in cooperation with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and with the support of Al Fanar Foundation and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The purpose is to help protect children from Cairo’s Darb Al Ahmar district from having to work in unsuitable and exploitative jobs by training them in circus arts and music, opening up prospects for employment in the future in the arts, music and other creative fields. The project also seeks to raise the awareness of the inhabitants of this district on the value of art and its role in community development.
Darb Al Ahmar Arts School was officially launched in the beginning of 2011 and now has around 150 students of both genders, ranging in age from 8 to 18, who study percussion, brass instruments and circus arts. Taught by professional trainers, courses are held every week in a two-year programme, at the end of which trainees receive a graduation certificate. In addition to training in their preferred major, students receive instruction in supplementary subjects such as English, computer skills, social etiquette, physical theater and basic music theory. The school also provides basic healthcare and social and psychological counseling to students.
The Darb Al Ahmar Arts School performance ensemble staged many performances in 2011 and 2012, including
- The End-of-the-Year Show in Aslan Square, Cairo, December 2012
- A performance of circus arts and percussion in cooperation with Al Fanar Foundation in London, November 2012
- A performance in the Farah El Bahr Festival, Alexandria, October 2012
- Four performances in the CirCairo Festival in Cairo, Mansoura and Manoufiya, October 2012
- A performance at the opening reception of the Spring Festival, April 2012
- A performance of circus arts and percussion at Bayt Al Suheimy during the Naguib Mahfouz Centennial, December 2011.
- A performance of circus arts and percussion at the Darb Al Ahmar Athletics Club – October 2011