Our Story

The world, is vastly changing, transforming, growing, expanding, and playing ... So must we!


Magic and play await you, an absurdist journey into your head.
Along the way, across the galaxies, our paths begin to fray .. our sense of play is forgotten in our everyday lives. Errands, schooling, seriousness aside, in order to get by, take play into pride.
After all, it is part of all of us, and it is within us to explore, to question, grow, learn, and unlearn.

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Makouk is open to limitless forms of play that brings friends, children, adults, and creatures back to their natural ways of self expression, questioning and exploration, seeking always to journey through play to explore questions, themes and elements that affect us and our universe.

If you feel stuck, and want to transform your rut, you can play a Makouk game, or Makouk can help create a playful journey, program or learning experience that will travel into a world you wish to explore. The universe awaits you, come on, let’s play!

Makouk can help tackle different themes:

 

Our Environment
Arts and Cultures
Peace Education
Science and Creativity

The journey from Weladna to Makouk

Weladna began on Planet Earth, and like all creatures, it aspired to give in to its natural instincts and embark on a journey of discovery, revival, and metamorphosis. Inspired by the importance of play, Weladna came across all sorts of inspiring creatures, and then realized that play is not just for children …Play is for everyone!

Through play, we feed our instinctual desires, while breaking down redundant patterns of thought, bringing clarity, fun and more understanding of experiences. Thus, Makouk was born into the one hundred billion galaxies to connect all humans, children and grown ups through play.

Whether an alien, human, animal or insect it’s easy to play because it’s our instinct.

Let’s join forces and come aboard, you’ll never get bored. Play is in us all!

Play Theory


Universally, we all share an innate desire to play

Check our Methodology

Unfortunately, modern culture has created the perception of play to be unserious, or a waste of time. Even in modern arabic language “اللعب” is translated into “عبث و لهو ” with a complete loss of its social, developmental and cultural value.

In turn, the perception of play has further pushed humans away from instinctive behaviour. However, science agrees upon the benefits of play; not just for children, but everyone! Various forms of play have proven to contribute to cognitive abilities as well as social, mental and emotional development. By engaging in play we are going to our natural selves and exploring our engagement and interaction within and without.

 

Resource Center


Resource Center

From Weladna, to Makouk, we found many sources of inspiration and information that further developed our interest in the importance of play. Creative thinkers, philosophers, scientists and motivating humans’ works and thoughts added and supported our cause. To feed your curiosity on play theory we have added works and media that can stimulate and inform you on play theory.

Makoukies


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Ali

Ali, an engineer on paper, has been working in the social field for the past decade. Ali has worked extensively with children in Egypt as well as other countries on planet Earth and on different planets. His work extends from designing learning environments to game design and facilitation across the universe. Ali is a co-founder of Makouk and the educational expert there. Ali believes that “those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.” Martin Luther King Jr  

Yousof

Yousof, an economics major, drummer, surfer and founder of Gibbon Slacklines Egypt, joined Weladna in 2014. He partnered in the company in 2016 and helped its transformation into Makouk. Yousof develops and plans ideas, projects, and partnerships up to the point of production. He also focuses on product design and the manufacturing process. In his free time, Yousof also enjoys slacklining across the moon. He also agrees with Roald Dahl who said, “Life is more fun if you play games.”

Fatma

Raised as a perfectionist and an academic overachiever, with life lessons teaching another alternative; being lean and un-learning to embrace another worldview. Fatma studied Business Administration as well as got her MBA, then worked in Brand Management in Henkel and in pricing in Vodafone; handling two of the biggest brands in Egypt, Earth. Inspired by her own kids and frustrated by their disconnection from their surroundings and lack of products serving them, she co-founded WELADNA in 2012.

After four years, Fatma and her friends discovered that adults and other creatures across the galaxies also wanted to play. And so, they invited them in, and transformed into Makouk, explorers, fellow playmates and welcomers of the universe and beyond.

Fatma is a lover of cosmology, metaphysics, alternative medicine and diving into the deep sea.

Tema

Mahmoud Magdi (aka Tema) is studying computer science. Since his teenage years he has been enjoying playing with children and frequently voluntarily creating play environments in his community. He facilitated many sessions with children and worked with a multiple of international organizations. He joined the journey of Makouk out of his love for play. He is responsible of sales and has an input in content and facilitation. Tema loves music and plays the guitar.

Zeina

Zeina, a lover of words, phrases, literature and all things beautiful, is a constant part of the Makoukies. Sometimes physically close; working from the same spaceship and often from another galaxy called New York, planet Earth. With a master’s degree in English Literature, great talent and a heart of gold, Zeina writes for Makouk and supports in so many other ways.

Walid

Walid Taher is recognized as one of the leading Cartoonists in the Arab world as well as one of the best child illustrators on the international level . He has hundred of published books and artwork in Egypt and outside and has won several of the most renowned prizes on the regional and international levels for his work for children. Weladna is blessed to have his talent on board as our illustrator and art director and one of our co-founders and existential pillars.

Maissa

Maissa is the co-founder of Weladna. She has been a pillar in establishing Weladnd and giving it life and strength for its first two years. Maissa has a Masters of Arts in Professional Development and has previously worked for the World Bank as a research analyst in the Human Development team. A mother of two and a passionate human for all things beautiful. Maissa, although has decided for a career shift, remains a strong support and inspiration for Makouk.

Rawan

Rawan, loves comics and cartoons and is very passionate about illustrating and visualizing stories from planet Earth. However, sometimes she hops on the Makouk and flies away to her own Lala land to a colorful and fun journey full of exotic creatures. She is a traveller who loves her planet and all living beings on it. She always tends to look on the bright side of everything, maintaining healthy chakras, as she always says, “every bad thing happens for a good reason.”

Collaborators and Supporters


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Synergos (Arab World Social Innovator)

Synergos selected Weladna as one of their pioneers for the AWSI program (Arab World Social Innovator), which they launched in 2008 until 2015. Through the AWSI program, Synergos helped program, support, launch or even collaborate with over 50 entrepreneurs in the MENA region who are pioneers of change in their communities and offer original approaches, methods, and solutions to address social and economic problems.

Endeavor (Egypt Fellow)

In 2013, Weladna became a fellow of Endeavor Egypt, an NGO aiming to support entrepreneurial businesses.

Enpact (Enpact Berlin Middle East Fellow)

Weladna has been one of the first fellows to be selected by the Berlin based non-profit organization Enpact. Enpact has the aim of strengthening economic relations between young entrepreneurs from the startup scenes of the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

UNDP (Game Changer Fellowship 2015)

Ali Azmy, was selected from the Makouk team as one of the five innovators from Egypt accepted into “The Game Changer Fellowship 2015” program by the UNDP that aims to promote and accelerate leadership and innovation in the use of games for social change. It is a one year programme in partnership with Engagement Lab at Emerson College in Boston USA.

The Well-being Project (2016)

The project was created in 2014 between Ashoka, the Esalen Institute, the Fetzer Institute and Synergos. The project seeks to support the inner well being of social change leaders,by deeply and meaningfully supporting social entrepreneurs, resulting in the enhancement of the lives of the people touched by the efforts of the changemakers “Well-being inspires Well-doing”.

 

EBRD (European Bank for reconstruction & Development - women in business program)

The Women in Business programme, aims to strengthen the role of female entrepreneurs in the Egyptian economy. The EBRD along with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) launched the programme to provide a comprehensive package of financial and technical support for Egyptian women who are either starting up or expanding their companies.

Pioneers of Egypt

Makouk was selected to be among the “Pioneers of Egypt” program which supports social entrepreneurs, startup social entrepreneurs and youth volunteers through technical and financial support, mentorships and access to peer and regional networks. Thanks to this program we were able to kick-start our first years.

Misriyati

Misriyati, aims to promote peaceful living and tolerance in our community. Peace is a holistic concept, and cultural diversity and inclusion are part of the Misriyati mission. Misriyati is a friend to Makouk and a partner of our first creation of Baladna board game.

Oshtoora

Oshtoora is a festival of arts and music. It is a collective experience and initiative. Makouk curated the happenings (activities) of the festival in 2016, and created a game that ran throughout the festival.

AUC

Makouk enjoy visiting the the AUC creative thinking lab, where we mentor students and also restructure demonstrations and games.

Megawra/Al Athar Lina

A friend of Makouk, with many collaborative projects. Amongst the diverse projects, Makouk worked on different themes with Megawra/Al Athar Lina such as creating workshops on documenting cultural heritage for Syrian refugee children and facilitating museum cultural activities for children.

Dayma

Dayma is one of our main sources when it comes to biology or geology related content. We both share a passion for the environment so we’re currently working on an environmental education game!