Whether you're looking for cooking classes, photography walks or even dream-catcher-making workshops, Mezany has a little bit of everything.
How many times have you scoured the internet in search of waltz classes, art workshops, potato peeling lessons or whatever it is you might be lacking, only to find a stream of odd, dangerous looking Facebook groups or just simply nothing?
It’s this pet-peeve that led Mohamed Hassan and Amr Hussein to founding Mezany in 2017; an online platform that connects people with experience, experts, classes and other like-minded folk. You can find everything from nutrition courses, to weekend getaways, to martial arts classes and book through the site easily and quickly.
"I used to hike in Sinai and I noticed that a lot of people were offering hikes, diving excursions and other activities and experiences,” explains Hassan. “But they just weren't reaching their target audience because their only source was travel agencies for example. We wanted to create a community where like-minded people could collaborate and teach each other or experience a mutual interest together.”
Aspiring photographers take part in a street photography tour in Islamic Cairo, booked through Mezany (Photo: Mezany)
In Egypt, there’s always been somewhat of a lack in variety when it comes to available hobbies and activities; a gap the founders saw in the market and decided to fill. The idea behind this project did not come to life purely from a business perspective, but also from a place of passion.
“We’re all obsessed with travelling and trying new experiences, and there’s just not that much offered in that regard, or at least not advertised properly. We want to be a hub so we can all help each other, and so we can help our own community and our local talents," explains Mohamed.
And this is where Mezany works twofold; not only does it provide a service for those looking to enroll in workshops and classes and experience new things, but it’s also giving these experience-providers, so to speak, an avenue to advertise and promote themselves and their authentic experiences directly to a relevant market. In fact, Hassan and Hussein proudly boast about the fact that Mezany has helped several artisans and experts monetize their skills for the very first time. What’s particularly impressive as well is the fact that it features some truly niche things, including bamboo-work and dream catcher-making.
The dream is to have Egyptians explore their own country first, while also giving back to the community and just generally spreading happiness.
This spirit of community-building and, to a certain extent, empowering locals extends into other elements of Mezany; a percentage of all of Mezany’s profits for each booking goes towards ‘Play For Smiles’ - a Kenyan initiative that helps orphans. The co-founders have also partnered up with UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) to create host events in which the profits go to a cause chosen by the NGO. Moreover, they arrange excursions to Dahab and a few other destinations in which participants get to volunteer in humanitarian projects. Hassan and Hussein had big ambitions for Mezany from the start, but there’s still more to come.
“We want to expand all throughout the Middle East. Initially, we were going to do both Dubai and Egypt, but then we decided to start with Egypt first, so that it could be more focused and so that we could ensure quality. We want to penetrate city by city, giving each one the time it needs,” Mohamed excitedly told us, almost suppressing a sense of excitement. A section of the site is reserved for those who'd like to share their stories, anecdotes and experiences, again with the aim of fostering a solid community and creating an organic transparency as a platform.
“The dream is to have Egyptians explore their own country first, while also giving back to the community and just generally spreading happiness." concludes Mohammed Hassan.
While the official launch is slated for March 2018, the website is up-and-running and they’re already offering a range of different activities and trips. We’ll be checking back daily for those potato-peeling lessons.