Protect the Future
In the old fishing town of Dahab in 2017, two young women’s worlds first serendipitously collided. Founders Amy Johnson and Nouran El Sawy both had the same burning desire to protect the marine world. Having already left their own cities, homes and loved ones in order to pursue this dream, the two of them met in Dahab and embarked together on a wonderful and challenging journey now known as Project Azraq; A project built on passion and love for nature and hope for a better world.
Both had a fierce determination, which would sustain them in pursuing their goal. Amy, having graduated with a degree in Human Geography, believed passionately in reducing the impact humans have on nature. This was in order to protect nature but also to ensure the longevity of global communities facing the severe consequences of climate change. Nouran, a marine biologist, was fascinated by the natural world and became increasingly convinced about the importance of helping communities to understand these ecosystems in order to make changes to protect them. Out of their unique combination of skills, passion and expertise, Project Azraq was created.
Protecting the future of the ocean through:
Meaning of Azraq?
Azraq is the Arabic translation for the word blue. Nouran and Amy want to ensure that the project is immersed in its origins and reflects its heritage. They want the project to represent and honour the country it was founded in and the place that inspired it. However, they also want the project to speak to as many people as possible globally; combining English and Arabic seemed like the perfect combination – ‘Project Azraq.’
Dahab means gold in Arabic and this will make so much sense to you if you ever visit. It truly is a gem nestled between the awe-inspiring Sinai mountains and the wondrous Red Sea. There are very few people who can resist its allure and even fewer who leave without the promise of returning.
Formerly a Bedouin fishing village, Dahab is now considered to be one of the world’s most treasured diving destinations. The waters of the Red Sea are home to a unique and astonishing array of marine organisms. The region is famous for its clear waters and vibrant corals alongside a vast array of endemic coral reef species.
MEET THE TEAM
About our individual journeys
Co Founder & Operations Director
– BA Human Geography _
– PADI Instructor –
Originally, I’m from London, but I was always a child away from the city. My eyes were forever open to the importance of protecting the planet we live on. Visiting Uganda when I was 13 cemented this importance when I witnessed the devastation a drought caused; climate change had directly endangered the local community.
This experience led me to gain a degree in Human Geography, which taught me how human activity affects and is influenced by our environment. I decided I wanted to pursue a career that would help communities to flourish alongside the natural environments we live in and marine environments in particular.
After graduating, I moved to Dahab in 2015 to work as an OWSI instructor. I used my time as an OWSI instructor to observe the environment and immerse myself in the community in order to understand what was needed to help the marine ecosystem thrive. Meeting Nouran in 2017, we quickly realised we had the same passion and beliefs and decided to combine our skills and experience by launching Project Azraq.
NOUR EL SAWY
Co Founder & Marine Biology Director
– BSC Biology and Ecology specialisation in Marine Biology –
I was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt, and as far as bustling cities go, if you’ve ever been to Cairo, you’d understand. Living in the city didn’t give access to nature very often, and I was always in awe of the natural world and its phenomenon.
I studied Biology at the American University in Cairo with a focus on ecology and marine biology. Throughout my years seeking education, with increasing news of climate change and resulting bleaching episodes, my interest in marine conservation skyrocketed, so as a result, it pushed me to reconnect with diving and old diving contacts in Dahab. While conducting my bachelor’s thesis about corals in the Red Sea, the information available and research conducted in the area was very lacking at the time, which to me highlighted its urgency!
A month after graduation, I moved and settled in Dahab. Started working at a dive centre as a DM in training and an on-staff Marine Biologist. In 2017, I met up with Amy and immediately knew we had similar visions for a project later to be known as Project Azraq. A project that will focus on two key areas, education and research, to benefit the community in Dahab.