• A project called ARKEN, which has had to overcome numerous obstacles in order to be able to take part in the competition


The team from the American University in Cairo began construction of their solar house last night, just two days before the opening of the Villa Solar.  They have had to overcome numerous difficulties in order to arrive in Madrid, and from the moment they decided to take part in this competition, the students have worked hard to advance their project, with the support of Solar Decathlon Europe.

It was at the start of 2011 that they began working on their proposal with great enthusiasm.  Unfortunately, the revolution against the Mubarak regime began too and everything was paralyzed.  Since then, the situation in Egypt has directly affected universities, which have remained closed for large periods of time.  Even so, the dream of these young university students to make housing more sustainable through research, in order to show citizens that energy efficient construction is possible in Egypt, has helped them carry on.

A few weeks ago, all the materials for building their house were dispatched from Egypt, but various problems with consignments and permits held up their arrival in Spain, coinciding furthermore with  a strike at airports which didn’t  help the students arrive either. Finally, the SDE Organization, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, and Ministry of Public Works managed to resolve this situation and they landed in Madrid yesterday, in the end.

All teams taking part in SDE 2012, aware of the Egyptian team’s problems, have volunteered personnel and equipment to enable the house to be built. They are rivals in the competition, but they don’t want this house to remain un-built after all the hard work on the part of the African country’s team.

Egypt’s Project is led by a woman – Lamyaa El-Gabry – an example of strength, tenacity and self-sacrifice, who says that taking part in Solar Decathlon Europe “is a very special opportunity for our country and our continent.  For the first time, we can show the world that Egyptian students want to do things well. We have come to try and perform to the best of our abilities, with all our effort and enthusiasm.  We will learn from all the research and knowledge that one can feel here, and even though we may not win the competition, we will improve our house here and, who knows, perhaps be able to compete in future editions”.

We are all behind Egypt and support their cause. The home straight has been even harder for them, but they are in Solar Decathlon Europe and can count on our support.  We want to see Egypt’s house finished and, all pulling together, we’ll make it.

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