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Al-Azhar Park in Cairo, Egypt – a 500-year-old garbage dump turned green oasis for tens of millions of urban dwellers.

AKDN / Christian Richters

Mopti is exemplar of the locations in which AKTC works: Cairo, Kabul and Delhi, to name a few. In each of these historic cities, the Trust has endeavoured to create a critical mass of activities that not only focuses on the restoration of monuments, but the creation of public spaces, water and sanitation improvements, education and health initiatives, and microfinance. In Cairo, AKTC’s creation of the 30-hectare Azhar Park – a 500-year-old garbage dump turned green oasis for tens of millions of urban dwellers – catalysed a broader urban revitalisation project in the surrounding neighbourhood of Al-Darb al-Ahmar. In addition to conserving historic monuments and excavating an archaeological site, the project trained and employed local craftsmen, provided youth with vocational education, rehabilitated and constructed houses, paved 5,500 square metres of streets and installed over 3 kilometres of underground sewage systems to ensure safer sanitary conditions and better health.

"The work of revitalising the mosques is gradually being extended to their surrounding neighbourhoods to include all residential accommodation situated in the shadow of the minarets. How wonderfully symbolic it is that the outcome of efforts to restore the mosques should be to improve the quality of life of the people whose lives follow the same rhythm as theirs!"

-- His Highness the Aga Khan speaking at the ceremony of inauguration of the Great Mosque of Mopti, Mopti, Mali, 24 April 2008.