Meet Sara El-Amin

This is Sara, a 23-year-old who is working at the hotel I’m staying at in Dahab. She has just completed a BA degree in Mass Communication, majoring in Journalism, from MTI in Cairo and the University of Wales.

She would like to continue studying for an MA Journalism in the UK but needs scholarship or a sponsor. She is prepared to work to support herself but needs to find flights and course fees.

I found Sara’s story fascinating because she is translating Virginia Woolf’s diaries into Arabic for the first time. She doesn’t have a publisher yet, but you can see some of her translation here. She was a reporter at Sharjah Book Fair in her first year, an event I was lucky enough to attend last year – it was clear to me there that we need many more works like this translated into Arabic. Sara doesn’t yet have a publisher for the translation but there are details of translation grants for publishers here.

Sara has a fire and energy that I love to see burning in a young woman. She has clear views on women’s rights and has been interviewed on Egyptian TV about sexual harassment in Cairo. As a follower of the amazing Mona Eltahawy, Egyptian women’s rights campaigner and NYT columnist, I know that we need to hear more female Muslim voices on public platforms and I believe Sara’s is one of them. She tells me of her experience to date and it’s clear that other people are threatened by her intelligence (as a woman) and her decision to forego the veil. I would love to see her thrive and become the journalist she’s clearly meant to be.

If any of you can help in any way – perhaps you know the perfect course or a publishing company/newspaper willing to sponsor Sara – then let me know via my email: lisaedNW10@gmail.com.

Shokran.

Lisa

Drive Forward

I spent yesterday evening mock-interviewing young care-leavers to help them practice their interview skills. It’s part of an initiative by the Drive Forward Foundation, a charity that supports 16-26-year-old people who are leaving care, and gives them the right tools to move forward in their lives.

I was staggered by the self-motivation shown by these young people. All of yesterday’s group had completed degrees on subjects such as Business Law. One was doing an MA on how being a looked-after child impacts on their education. The statistics, she said, painted a picture that was overwhelmingly negative, and depended largely on a social worker or teacher who ‘cared’ about that particular young person. And there she was, sitting in front of me, talking about her MA.

I asked another delegate to give me three words to describe himself and he said, ‘self-motivated, confident and forward-thinking’. I asked him about the latter and why he chose it. He told me he’d had to push himself really hard to get where he now was, and I could see it glittering in the eyes of this young man sitting opposite me. We talked about the ways his experience as a looked-after child could be discussed in an interview situation and he said he would always raise it, as an example of how self-motivated he is, that he has managed to get this far in life against challenging odds.

In a previous group I met young people that were very different to these ones. One, a young Romanian man who wanted to work as a carpenter. The thing that glittered in his eyes was a defiance and a determination to get work and work hard.  He’d found work on a building site in London and I daren’t ask what remuneration or treatment he might have received. I could see it written on his face.

Helping young people move forward is something I feel passionate about and Drive Forward is giving me the opportunity to give something back. They’re always looking for motivational, professional speakers or fundraisers so get involved if you feel the same as me. If you are a business that would like to become a partner of the charity or donate to it, then get more details here.