The Makhad Trust, a small charity based in Cheltenham, works to promote the relationship between environment and spirit, providing a meeting space between the two. The work brings together people from UK and indigenous peoples, mostly in Sinai, Egypt providing working journeys on small projects.
Helen works as the Educational Development Manager to find and build links with the Makhad Trust to schools, colleges and Universities with the aim of promoting the work of the trust, small scale fundraising and leading groups of pupils and students on journeys to build small dams.
As well as working journeys, the Makhad Trust also runs Retreat Journeys.
The journeys undertaken by participants to Sinai are among some to the best examples of sustainable tourism. Many of the journeys help the Bedouin directly whereas most tourists visiting Egypt are contributing to the problems the Bedouin have with lack of water. For the last 10 years the rainfall pattern has changed and led to draught – it is possible that this is due to climate change. Wells have dried up and the Bedouin gardens, so important as a source of food have been dying. To add to their problems, it is thought that the vast quantity of water being pumped out of the water table around Sharm-El-Sheik to service the tourist industry, is causing the Sinai water table to drop.
The Makhad Trust has been instigating projects to deepen wells and build small dams to hold back the occasional rainwater that now falls. As a result of this work many Bedouin families have been able to revive their gardens and have more food to eat and produce to sell. The dams have been a collaborative effort between the Bedouin and British working parties.
You can join one of the magical working journeys in Sinai by visiting the Makhad Trust website for information or by contacting Helen. The next working journey is to build a Dam in the high mountains near St Katherines from in April next year. The dam will help to provide much needed water for 30 Bedouin families. This is an open journey for anyone to join led by Rachel Devas and Dick Stainer, two of our trustees. See the Makhad Trust website for more information.
The next Retreat to Sinai in April 2013, will be part of the SKGR journey which includes building a dam. This will be a repeat of the journey they made last April. The desert has been a special place for those seeking spiritual connection – it is a journey into the desert silence and our own souls. Mystics, prophets and hermits have been leading lives of devotion in the fantastically beautiful Sinai desert for hundreds of years. The beauty and the emptiness of the landscape give us the space we need to reconnect with ourselves.