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Closure of the Swiss Club Kindergarten

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TO: His Excellency The Swiss Ambassador In Egypt

Members of the Board of the Swiss Club

The Swiss Community in Egypt

Friends and members of the Swiss Club in Cairo,

We, the parents of children in the Swiss Club Kindergarten received a letter on April 29th, 2015 from the board of the Club informing us – with no prior warning – that the Kindergarten will close end of June 2015 because "our club is facing a restructuring phase, aiming to ameliorate our services and results and after an in-depth analysis, we were forced to take the decision to stop the activities of the Kindergarten at the end of June 2015."

This means that half of the children in the kindergarten (with only a year to go before school) will be forced to leave with very little time to find an alternative. Many of you with children may realise the unsettling effect of having to move children twice (to another kindergarten and then to school) in the span of a year. We expect, and demand, that the Swiss Club - a place that has hosted the nursery for 30 years, founded by Frau Barbara Damm Abou-Alam – and a popular haven for all the children of Cairo - should have the well being of our children as a priority in all decisions made. In that light such a decision should have been communicated to the parents in order to explore a solution before such drastic measures are taken.

The children are very much attached to the Kindergarten, and to the genuinely professional and loving team of the KG led by Barbara. The Swiss Club Kindergarten is NOT just another nursery i.e. NOT business-oriented. It's a place that has been here for almost 30 years with a dedicated team who do their job with passion simply because this is what they truly believe in and enjoy doing and this shows in the honest interest and care to every individual child. It is a place with great reputation and a wealth of experience and a lot of commitment, which what brought us all here. We never expected – even imagined – that sudden closure was an option from such a place.

Unlike commercial entities, educational institutions / initiatives, especially if run by a non-profit organization like the Swiss Club, are expected to commit to a responsibility towards children and their parents. Closing; therefore, should only take place under drastic circumstances – like death or confiscation of land – and even then measures that put the benefit of the children first must be taken into consideration.

Reasons for closure understood from the President of the board (not included in the letter) were: Barbra has no successor; the number of "remaining" kids is too little to continue; the Kindergarten is not covering its costs.

However, the solution to succession is never to shut the place down "throwing away" a valuable part of Swiss Club history. In addition, there is a good number of applications of children the same age as ours interested to join for a year making it possible even financially for this Kindergarten to continue one last year. And there are no extreme running costs to justify its closure. Moreover, it may be the largest "business promoter" for the club bringing clients all the time.

For all the above reasons, we find the letter sent by the board of the Swiss Club and how it was communicated, disrespectful to Barbara, the team of the KG and to us. We don't see how and why this will "improve the services and results" of the Club as mentioned above. We expect the Club to fulfill the responsibility they committed themselves to when they agreed to admit our children to the Kindergarten beginning of this "academic year".

For those reasons, we urge HE The Swiss Ambassador, Members of the respectable Board of Trustees of the Club and The Swiss Community in Egypt, members and friend of the Club to review that unfair decision. Instead of closing, we propose an alternative 'win-win' situation, in which the Club raises its fees, allowing more kids to enjoy that unique place, hence balancing the check-book!

Thus, we the parents of the Swiss Club KG, ask you to support us, primarily by signing this letter, and in any other way you can to do like the following;

1. Meet with the board members on Wednesday, May 6th at 9:30a.m in the Swiss Club with concerned parents.

2. Suggest solutions to the financial viability of the nursery (such as our contributions to the cost of renting the Kindergarten and turning it into a 'co-operative' business model.

3. Developing a Parent-Teacher Association (that could also include Swiss Club members) of which a representative should be available to attend all Swiss Club meetings like the General Assembly Meeting taking place on May 11, 2015 to voice our concerns.

Yours Sincerely,

Parents of the Swiss Club Kindergarten

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