26m - Beit el Nessim is a short meandering walk through Mina’s narrow alleys...
A Space to Learn, Collaborate and Innovate in the heart of Mina
Like most days, the door is open. A Ziad Rahbani tune wafts through the small, cosy courtyard, kitted with a porch swing, wooden chairs and tiny books hang in the old pomegranate tree growing out of the stone stairways like Christmas decoration.
Books, reading, literature and getting people to read was indeed what fuelled the founders of AlKindy, which is housed in a newly renovated old house next to Beit el Nessim in the old city of Mina, to establish a dedicated space that would promote reading. AlKindy is according to its director Najwa Sahmarani, a co-working space that draws 18 to 35 year olds from across Tripoli. It was kickstarted through a successful crowdfunding campaign on Zoomal.
Besides the courtyard space on the ground floor, there is a communal kitchen where visitors can buy beverages and snacks. The space next to the kitchen has chairs, a white board, a large TV screen and plenty of colouring pens. It is ideal for small workshops, study groups or classes.
Upstairs are two rooms, one with a screen, the main room has a library filled with Arabic, English and French books, ranging from self-empowerment to literature, technical publications and classics like Macbeth or Le Petit Prince.
Since its official launch three months ago, Sahmarani and her team (two full-time and four part-time staff) have hosted an impressive 30 events and are nearing the 2000 visitors mark.
Events range from meditation sessions to poetry events, movie nights followed by discussions, various workshops and one of the key events, the AlKindy book club.
While Al Kindy plans to continue offering and running its own events, it is more and more opening up to other initiatives and organisations to rent the space to run events and workshops.
According to Obeida Takriti, AlKindy was chosen as a name given the philosopher’s significance in translating Greek philosophy into Arabic. Takriti and Sahmarani believe that it is important to create a space that allows everyone attending to discuss ideas, even when they might have different perspectives.
Given the challenges the city’s faced in recent years and the ensuing negativity, young people migrated to Beirut to network, learn new things, attend workshops and even socialise.
“The city needs such a space, positive collaborations and interactions, where finding solutions is key, where creating and testing ideas is being promoted and a sense of agency,” Sahmarani said.