Winner of the EPIC Awards 2019
Executive Lead of Cycling4Gaza. MIR 2018.
I am driven by my purpose to create positive change whether it be at the individual, community, or international level. My passion is to make a difference in someone’s life. In this regard, I have spent the past 15 years on a journey of self-discovery; trying to figure out how and where I want to channel this passion. I am originally Palestinian, born and raised in Jordan. I’ve also lived in Canada, Spain, the UAE, and India. Throughout my journey, I’ve worked in different sectors: private corporate firms, NGOs, social enterprises and international organizations. Every personal, educational, and professional experience has taught me something new that essentially led me on to the next adventure. One life-changing experience that had a huge impact on me was joining the Cycling4Gaza (C4G) Executive Committee. Along with 2 other women from the Middle East, I mobilize 50 cyclists from across the world every year to cycle 400km in 4 days and raise awareness and funds for children’s development in Gaza. Having organized the last 4 cycles in the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the USA, my contributions have led to mobilizing 200 individuals and raising USD 1,000,000 in funds, impacting the lives of 6,500 adults and children in Gaza. As I found these experiences to be deeply meaningful and rewarding, I was motivated to leave the corporate world and my family business to pursue a career that has a social impact. This new part of my journey started at IE, where I did my Master in International Relations. I am now in Bangalore, India, consulting for a social enterprise with a focus on creating livelihoods for marginalized women. Inspired by my professors and changed by my classmates at IE, my journey continues…
How did IE help you get to where you are today?
IE contributed to my personal development – providing me with ample opportunities to utilize my strengths and work on my weaknesses. It connected me with my own home country – allowing me to represent its culture, traditions, and beauty amongst a diverse group of people. IE also provided me with a new family of inspiring and like-minded people from all around the world. It enriched me with knowledge – making me see and approach our world differently. IE guided me to my next step in my career. As a school that holds entrepreneurship, social impact, and innovation at the core of its values, IE has provided me with the tools and practical experience to design and develop cost-efficient, scalable, and sustainable solutions to social and environmental problems. I now want to combine all the knowledge and expertise that I have gained through IE and all my other experiences to develop my home country Jordan.
What drove you to work for a cause that believes in the greater good?
I am driven by my sense of accomplishment and working for great humanitarian causes provides me with that. Ever since my childhood, I have been involved with community service activities and projects. During high school, I had a life-changing experience in Tanzania, where I worked at an impoverished school, teaching, interacting and playing with local children. Over the last four years, I have been co-leading the Cycling4Gaza (C4G) initiative as a volunteer, organizing annual cycles to raise awareness and funds in support of sustainable children’s healthcare and education projects in Gaza. I was moved by the impact of the initiative on everyone involved. I find these experiences deeply meaningful and rewarding as my impact is directly reflected on the children’s smiles, providing me with a sense of accomplishment. I continue to be driven by my purpose to create positive change as my experiences have made me believe in two things: That no human deserves to live without basic human rights/needs and, that individuals who can make a difference should make a difference.
In what way is your work impacting the world?
I have worked on projects that aim to have a positive impact on marginalized communities around the world. These include creating livelihoods for marginalized women and indigenous communities, providing education and healthcare to children affected by war, and providing access to clean and affordable water to impoverished communities. What I feel is more impactful though, it’s the connections that I make through these projects between people around me and such communities, engaging others in contributing to great humanitarian causes, and bringing people together to make a difference!
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