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Bab Naema: turns old furniture into modern art pieces

Bab Naema: turns old furniture into modern art pieces

Part of Bab Naema work, renovating the wood

Sometimes boredom is just a way of thinking that can be a turning point in your life.
There are countless different ways to break out of a boring mood, some people get more curious about the world around them, trying to do something new or challenging themselves to learn a new skill, that`s exactly how Hadir Mansour, an Egyptian woman started her project to fix and renovate home furniture and some handicrafts, into modern art pieces.

Hadir Mansour

Mansour told DNE BUZZ that her journey with her project “Bab Naema,” (Doors of Abundance) was all started as she was sitting bored one day at home when she was working as a children’s swimming coach, which is a seasonal career. So she tried to kill the boring time by starting to renovate some old furniture in her house.
Then her father encouraged her, giving her a room in the house, which she turned into a small workshop with a simple tool.
“Then the news spread and many of our neighbours brought me some of their old furniture requesting from me to refurbish them into new modern art pieces. Then the news spread wider throughout my country, as I am lived in Sheibin el Kom in Menoufiya governorate and people began to request work from me, “she said with a glint in her eyes.

Hadir Mansour while working

After that, I expanded the project through partnering with two of my friends, and we rented a small apartment with minimum investments and opened a workshop called “Bab Naema.”
The reason behind this name is because all the project‘s team are women, and Naema (a girls’ name) represents them all. In addition to that I wanted to give the project an authentic Egyptian name that resonates with people,” she continued.
Mansour stated proudly that now she established her project in a six-room apartment, noting that now she has a team of 15 girls, highlighting that her business now expanded from just refurbishing furniture to painting and finishings for shops, apartments, restaurants, and more.

Girl Drawing in Bab Naema summer workshop

“We also now organise summer workshops to train children on some handicrafts so that they can repair their toys or make some toys from old pieces of wood,” she said with a big smile on her face.
“We also dedicated training courses for mothers and women, as well as special courses for girls, to train housewives to repair their old furniture, paint their walls, and simply decorate them, and renovate any household items. I was surprised that the training courses were attended by a large number of women, girls, and children,” she stated with a confident voice.

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She recalled that she owes her success in starting this project to her father and brothers who bought her the various carpentry tools and taught her how to use them, citing that through her project, she aims to teach and hire as many women as she can in handcraft jobs. 

Concerning the obstacles that she faces during her journey with Bab Naema, Mansour stated that the problem they still suffer from is the reluctance of some people, especially in a rural community, of accepting the idea that a group of girls work alone in the paints of restaurants and shops.
“At first we were criticised, but as time passed and people watched and admired our work, the criticism eased and almost disappeared, but of course some people still have objections about the idea,” says Mansour.
“I look forward to opening two new workshops, one in Alexandria and the other in Cairo. Also, I dream of opening a factory for various handicraft products,” Mansour disclosed her aspirations.

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