SOKNA: How One Egyptian Found Opportunity in Death

Ahmed Gaballa founded Sokna to fill in the gap for funeral services in Egypt.
SOKNA: How One Egyptian Found Opportunity in Death
Sokna provides post-mortem services for Muslims and Christians in Egypt.

As a young man, Ahmed Gaballah went through the traumatic experience of helping a friend with the post-mortem process of his father. His friend’s father passed away unexpectedly and Gaballah couldn’t turn down his friend’s plea for help. The process turned out to be stressful, chaotic and extremely complicated. For ten years, Gaballah avoided death by not giving or receiving condolences and not attending any funerals. However, later in life, Gaballah faced his fears and concerns head-on.

“SOKNA is about empowering people to honor their loved ones, we want to make it as peaceful and as calm as possible for families when they lose a loved one.”Ahmed Gaballah, Founder, Sokna

Gaballah founded SOKNA in 2019. SOKNA is a startup that helps people with post-mortem logistics after the death of a loved one. “SOKNA is about empowering people to honor their loved ones, we want to make it as peaceful and as calm as possible for families when they lose a loved one,” Gaballah tells WAYA. The startup takes care of everything from paperwork to body preparations and transportation to funeral planning.

How SOKNA Works

Clients can reach the team at SOKNA through their hotline. The team requires only four pieces of basic information on the deceased to start working on a case. These are gender, religion, location of the deceased and the location of the burial site. Once the information has been relayed, a team of six to eight people begins the work. The team is led by a contact person who is the only point of contact for the family or friends of the deceased.

Lamia Helmy, a client of SOKNA’s, helped explain the process from her end to us. She called the hotline number and explained that her father had died and he was at the hospital. She was abroad at the time and took the first plane into Egypt and asked the contact person, who happened to be Ahmed Gaballah, to wait till she arrived to start the process. They did as she had asked and they handled her father’s departure from the world with great professionalism and humanity. The SOKNA team did not leave Lamia’s side and she says “they took care of everything on that day”. She mentions that they even made sure that people were not getting lost in the cemetery on the way to the burial site. She has been telling the people in her network about them ever since.

SOKNA is based in Cairo and operates in Cairo and Alexandria mainly. They also have catered to people in other areas in Egypt, however, it is a lengthier process due to distance. They plan to work out a way to cater to people living in other areas quickly and thoroughly. 

Free Consultations

Like in many countries around the world, death is very taboo in Egypt. Unsurprisingly many are unaware of what steps to take when someone dies. Gaballah explains “We noticed that a lot of people don’t know what the steps are when somebody passes away.” Therefore, SOKNA is trying to break that taboo by clarifying the process and helping people better prepare with free consultations. For example, if someone has an elderly or sick relative or friend, through the free consultations, SOKNA can help them understand the process in advance so that they are prepared for the inevitable death. 

If you see something out of place or would like to contribute to this story, check out our Ethics and Policy section

If you see something out of place or would like to contribute to this story, check out our Ethics and Policy section.