In the heart of Zamalek lies a Mecca to those seeking peace, serenity, fitness, and positivity. Nūn Center is one of Zamalek’s best hidden treasures located on the dead-ended street of Shafiq Mansour. It may take you a couple of minutes to figure out how to get there, but once you set foot at Nūn Center you’ll feel it pulling you in and you’ll know you finally found the place that will accept you as who you are because you’ll feel home. That’s exactly what Founders Hana Holdijk and Nada Iskander had in mind when they decided to start this place, and nothing made more sense to Iskander than her late grandmother’s apartment as the perfect location for her new, invigorating venture.
“My grandmother was always very young at heart,” Iskandar stated. “I feel it is her soul that makes this place what it is. It makes people feel some sort of peace being here.” Coming to think about it, being there does indeed remind you of being at your grandparents’ house; it brings memories like the smell of your grandmother’s freshly baked cakes and your grandfather’s coffee and perfume. The house was closed for 27 years before Iskander finally brought life back into it.
Holdijk and Iskander met by chance while studying homeopathy, both realizing they share the same dream. Between Iskander’s degree in Nutritional Therapy and Holdijk Holistic Health experience, they had the basis to start something that Cairo never knew, and it was the place to provide all sorts of services in a place that everyone called home.
The center was first opened in November 2011. As challenging as that time was for everyone in Egypt, it was actually the best time for them to start business; everyone was searching for peace, an idea to help make sense of what was happening in the country, or at least, a way to escape the social and political pressure. “From the beginning without any publicity, people found their way to Nūn; they were super hungry for something like this. They felt that we do truly care about them and what they were going through and we were genuinely interested in helping them,” says Iskander. Within months, word-of-mouth got the place to be a destination to many, especially for their Farmers’ Market which was the first of its kind in town.
If there’s one thing that all clients and practitioners at Nūn agree on, it’s the sense of community that brings them all together. It’s hard to tell who is a client and who works there sometimes. Everybody feels responsible to help and take part. “I have been working here for a year,” says Psychotherapist Carine Karnouk, “The sense of community here is so strong that it really feels like home.” It is the same for Seham Kafafi, the center’s Manager who has been at Nūn for six months. “This place gives me a sense of security, I always feel safe here,” says Kafafi. “I want everyone to feel they can come to Nūn anytime. Not just if they have a class or a session. They can just come here, have a cup of coffee and chill,” she continues. Kafafi also offers Mindfulness workshops helping people live in the moment though meditation and other techniques. Like Karnouk and Kafafi, experts in all fields are usually spotted milling around the place chatting and offering help to random strangers wandering in the reception and the terrace.
The center offers an array of services from all sorts of yoga and dance classes, to meditation, martial arts, massages, coaching, homeopathy, energy work and therapy. Iskander aims at making it more of a hub to propagate goodness by adding an even bigger variety of workshops. “I believe you are well when you are aligned with your sense of purpose in life, so I would like to bring in any classes or services that would help clients find their sense of purpose,” says Iskander.
Iskander’s goal is to help people. It’s what encouraged her to build her dream and start her journey with Holdijk in 2011; it’s definitely what has kept her going five years later. “I love that quote ‘to save a life, is to save all of humanity’, if we managed to help at least one person, it means that we are doing the right thing,” says Iskander.
For more information about Nūn Center’s classes and services and to book sessions you are interested in visit www.nuncenter.com