By Sherine Shaker
From the minute you walk into Bloom Women and Children Wellness Center at Swan Lake, Sheikh Zayed, you are immersed in serenity and calm. The lush greenery and palm trees blending with the relaxing sound of a gentle breeze is almost sedative. Cairo West Magazine met with the inspirational owner of Bloom, Sondos Bahgat, to learn more.
“It all started when I used to come to my children’s tennis practice in Swan Lake. I would come and sit alone in the clubhouse. I would just sit there in silence listening to the sound of the breeze amongst the palm trees,” says Bahgat. “I had taken previous courses on “energy” and I always sensed that this place generated positive vibes. I wondered to myself why I was the only one benefitting from the positive energy here, and decided to do something that would make more people enjoy the same feeling I got here.” Bahgat then contacted the owners of the compound, Allam Properties, who were more than supportive in initiating the project.
Bahgat, who is a graduate of the American University in Cairo (AUC) with a major in Economics, a minor in Psychology and holds a Masters Degree in International Business, continued to explain that her own qualities as a person who loves to learn and invests her time in self-improvement workshops and courses, helped her reach the idea of the wellness center. “I always engage myself in something. Even when I travel, it’s not about shopping. I have to try something new every time, skiing, baking, detoxing, horse-riding, center-park activities etc. I try to expose myself to everything.”
She decided she wanted to start a concept that achieved a holistic approach of personal wellness including informing and empowering. “I wanted to create a place which would provide food for the soul for everyone who walked in,” she says, “everyone who comes to Bloom must leave with an added value. At Bloom, you must rediscover yourself,” says Bahgat passionately. This concept is what inspired the name: Bloom, and the motto: Growing From Within.
Bahgat held the first workshop in Bloom last January, a course titled “The Five Languages of Love”. Although it was the opening workshop, it was a hit, “It was fully booked in advance. I was shocked,” says Bahgat, “it surpassed my expectations.” She also added that some of the other most popular courses also included the cooking, parenting (teens and tweens) and anger management courses.
To achieve the overall approach to wellness, Bloom also provides detox, health, fitness, and life-coaching classes in addition to its wide array of courses, classes and workshops on different topics and subjects from understanding your husband to de-cluttering your home. Selections of courses are also available for children including chess, drama, photography, beading, sewing and fashion design.
“This is not a money-driven project. We are not commercial. Our main aim is to try to change people’s lives; to work on their passions, talents and skills,” Bahgat affirmed. “We refund anyone who feels unhappy or unsatisfied at Bloom.” Bahgat believes that we were all created with a talent or skill that we must discover and spread, and she wants Bloom to be a place where people discover and explore their full capacities. “It’s worth more than millions when someone tells you that you have changed their life. Its very gratifying,” says Bahgat.
Bahgat promised that Bloom still has many surprises to come. “We aren’t limiting ourselves to instructors from Egypt only. We search for trustful mentors from all over the world who have the ability to affect others and hope to have them here at Bloom very soon.” She added that hopefully some prominent authors and counselors would provide workshops at Bloom in the near future.
As a mother of three, (an 11 year-old boy, and 10 year-old twins, a boy and girl), Bahgat was a stay at home mom for 13 years, she admits that Bloom changed her before changing anyone else. “I learned that it was never too late to achieve your dreams. I thought I didn’t have the energy to start any new endeavors after all this time, but Bloom proved me wrong.”
Bahgat added that like many women, her husband and children were a priority she wasn’t willing to compromise. Despite that, she managed to fulfill her dream of opening Bloom while still managing her family. “This is mainly due to my husband’s support and assistance,” explains Bahgat. “He is extremely motivating and is very proud of what I do.”