September 23, 2021 03:07 PM | by Salma Ihab
We’re Shining a Light on 16 Egyptian Women Who Are Making a Difference
People who give back to society are the ones you should look up to. There are many people who want to make a difference, who want a better life for their family, friends, and future generations, and in order for that to happen, you must first do something to give back to the community in which you live. And the powerful women we'll be talking about proved to us that we can make a difference if we want to and that by supporting them, we can help them move forward. Here at Fustany, we believe that women supporting women is extremely important. In this article, we're shining a light on 16 Egyptian women who are making a difference.
Noureen Ben Halim is a Counseling Psychologist who uses her online platform to raise more awareness about mental health. Not many of us realize how important our mental health is because some of us still believe that we shouldn't say anything if we go to a therapist. Well, hello, we live in 2021 and we should talk more about our mental health, and Noureen Ben Halim is doing just that. A healthy life with a healthy mental health is very important because it allows you to reach your goals faster and see the world in colors rather than black and white.
2. Nour Emam
We have to admit that in the Arab world, talking about sex or even learning more about our bodies is considered taboo upon, and Nour Emam, also known as "Mothering Being" on Instagram, is breaking all of these unspoken rules. What exactly does Nour Emam do? She uses her online platform to raise awareness about knowing our bodies better, such as the fact that the first time you have sex, you don't have to bleed, shocker? She discusses all of the myths that most of us grew up knowing were false. She also has her own podcast, in which she discusses a different topic in each episode; they are very informative, and knowing that someone else has gone through the same thing makes you feel less alone. So, to all the girls out there, it's okay to know more about your body, and yes, it's important to understand everything that goes with your body, from your monthly cycles to all the sex myths.
3. Yomna Dhroug
After Menna Shalaby's series about adoption, and people discovered it's a thing, well the surprise is that it's always been there but people never thought of the idea, however, Yomna Dhroug founder of "Kafala in Egypt" help parents or single moms/ dads whose dream to become parents come true. Yomna Dhroug is a Certified Life and Relationship Coach who frequently makes videos about the adoption journey and how it is difficult at first but becomes easier with time, as well as how to break social norms and see them as children rather than adopted children because, in the end, all they need is love. If you follow Kafala Egypt on Instagram, you will find all the information you need to know about adoption, how to deal with children, and how to deal with our judgy society that will do nothing but judge you, as well as a lot of useful information to get you started if you are willing to take this incredible journey.
4. Farah El Masry & Yasmeen Khamis
“Turning doodles into dreams”
Farah El Masry and Yasmeen Khamis are the two wonderful ladies who founded "Doodle Factory." They are a brand that turns children's artwork into products to help them pay for shelter, surgery, school fees, or anything else they require. They work with NGOs to make each child's dream a reality. At first, they made laptop sleeves and notebooks, but their brand grew and is now a fashion brand. What I like best about them is that for every collection they make, the money goes to a good cause. For example, they had a heart-themed collection, and all of the profits went to fund the new building for the Magdi Yacoub Foundation.
They created a kitchen kit in collaboration with Zest, the Middle East's leading culinary channel. The fun twist is that the designs on each product were inspired by drawings of children from Cairo's Deaf Unit. The Deaf Unit is a boarding school that is dedicated to and equipped to provide specialized education for children who have hearing loss. Each kitchen kit purchased will help children with hearing impairments finish their education. And seeing celebrities support a good cause gives everyone hope. For example, stars Yousra el Louzy and Hany Adel joined forces to raise awareness about the importance of including and educating children with hearing impairments in our community.
5. Yasmin Helal
"Every child has the opportunity to become a lifelong learner, live a purposeful life, and prosper in their community"
Yasmin Heal is the founder of "Educate Me," a non-profit organization dedicated to redefining education in Egypt through progressive skills. They believe that every child has the right to learn and that education is important in shaping the next generation. Educate Me operates a community school in Talbeya, Giza, as well as teacher and student training and development programs in several governorates. They also offer education consulting services to a wide range of organizations. Caring for education means caring about the future, and thanks to Yasmin's efforts, the future will undoubtedly be brighter with all of the educated generations that are coming up.
6. Alyaa Sadek
Alyaa Saadek is an Egyptian writer who addresses important issues that our society often ignores. Alyaa typically writes about self-help, growth, and spirituality. We need to heal our souls in order to grow as individuals, and Alyaa is doing just that. She started writing on her blog "Thoughts by Alyaa" first. She authored two self-help books, the first of which, Soul Quest, is a self-exploration journal, was the first of its kind in Egypt, with its imaginative structure and multipurpose concept.
"Equilibrium," her second book, is about finding the balance that allows us to become more clear and true to ourselves through compassion, acceptance, and connecting with ourselves. It is broken down into three sections: mental, emotional, and spiritual. Alyaa always hopes to leave a good impression on her readers, especially young adults, because she believes they are always too consumed with so much information and happenings, especially nowadays.
7. Nadeen Ashraf
The courageous woman Nadeen Ashraf is the founder of "Assault police." The account is a platform for people to express their general concerns about sexual violence, as well as to educate and provide resources on how to deal with it. This account has served as a safe haven for many people to vent about the terrible situations they've been placed in.“Assault Police” played a significant role in the Ahmed Bassam Zaki case by providing a safe environment for girls to speak up about what happened to them and for people to show some love and support to each victim.
When Nadeen Ashraf first started "Assault Police," she kept her identity hidden, and when she decided to reveal it, people were shocked that this account that was making such a big difference was run by a woman in her early twenties. Well, Nadeen proved to everyone that standing up for what's right has no age or limit. Now, "Assault Police" has a full team dedicated to assisting Nadeen and other victims who are afraid to speak up, as well as raising awareness about the sexual assaults that women face the majority of the time.
8. Yasmina Abou Youssef
Yasmina Abou Youssef is the founder of "Tawasol Egypt," and I personally love the concept behind it, which is that the majority of their products are made by low-income families. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of our products are returned to the communities in which they were created, either as artisan wages or to help sustain community development projects. Their items are one-of-a-kind designs inspired by traditional Egyptian arts and crafts, and they are all handcrafted from locally sourced materials. In 2020, Yasmina opened a heartwarming school in Ezbet Khairalla dedicated not only to education but also to the evolution of arts, crafts, and performance.
9. Amina Diab
You know how you can't figure out how to deal with your children without causing them trauma once you become a parent? Amina Diab is a child psychologist, parent educator, and coach, and she will exactly help you on how to deal with and create a safe environment for your child because it is very important how you deal with them in their early stages of life because this is when they get to build their personality. Amina's technique is based on positive discipline. She offers parent workshops that are extremely helpful to new mothers who want to raise their children in a healthy, loving environment.
Amina Diab is also the author of the "feeling friends series," a social-emotional book series for children. It's a great storytime book to read to your children to help them become more aware of their emotions and accept themselves and others. What I appreciate about Amina's approach is that she is beginning with the young generation and raising their awareness at a young age, which will make a significant difference in the future generation.
10. Heba Rashed
Mersal is a non-profit organization that serves Egyptian and non-Egyptian patients in need of medical support, and it provides all types of medical care of high quality to whoever is in need. Heba Rashed is the beautiful founder of Mersal, a foundation that is helping people more than you think it would. Mersal provides an amazing amount of services and assistance, such as It helps patients with cancer, movement disabilities, hearing disabilities, mental illness, and so on.
Heba did not stop there; she was eager to expand and help more people, and I am proud to say that she did. Mersal provides a hotel-like accommodation building for patients who do not have a place to stay in Cairo during their treatment. Mersal was founded in 2015 by Heba Rashed, and it now has five branches in Cairo and Alexandria. You can also donate to help people in need of surgery by visiting their website.
11. Amira Osman
Amira Osman, inspired by her love of living a sustainable life, cruelty-free animals, and eco-friendly products, founded "Urban Earthlings," a brand dedicated to sustainable products. Amira also donates 30% of profits to shelters and animal rescues, reforestation projects, and carbon offsetting, research and development, and so on.
Urban earthlings sells eco-friendly goods. some of the products they offer, like Menstrual cups, because how many pads/tampons do you go through when you're on your period? and Stainless steel straw because yes we do care about the sea creatures, Last but not least, a compostable bamboo handle with regular or charcoal-infused oil-based bristles toothbrush, because regular toothbrushes cannot be recycled, but this can. Amira is all about raising awareness about human waste and reducing our use of things that harm the environment.7 Ways to Have a More Sustainable/Environmentally Friendly Lifestyle
12. Sara Aziz
Sara Aziz is a psychotherapist and sexual abuse counselor, as well as the founder of "Safe Kids Egypt." This wonderful organization works to protect children, teenagers, parents, and women from sexual abuse. Through the implementation of awareness workshops for parents, children, teenagers, and community leaders. They raise awareness in a fun way, such as by creating games, stories, and songs to empower society in the face of gender-based violence and sexual abuse. I attended one of their workshops, and it was an eye-opening experience that made me realize a lot of things I was previously unaware of.
Most of the children have returned to school, and Safe Kids Egypt has this wonderful program to raise awareness about bullying. It saddens me to say that our precious children are bullied in school, and some of them are unable to talk about or stand up for themselves. The session's goal is to raise parents' awareness of bullying and its consequences. The session provides parents with practical knowledge and skills for responding if their children are bullied.
Sara is also the author and creator of the book "I'm Precious." The I'm Precious book is a story that teaches children as young as three years old that they are precious, that they have boundaries, and that they can be empowered and defend themselves against sexual abuse.
13. Mayye Zayed
Mayye Zayed is a producer, director, and filmmaker. Whose work has been shown in different venues and film festivals around the world. Her first documentary, "Lift Like a Girl," which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, was directed and produced by her. Mayye runs her own media production and impact distribution company called "Cléo Media."
Lift like a girl follows Zebiba and her weight lifting career. The documentary discusses how she got started and the challenges she faces on a daily basis. I believe that more documentaries like this should be made to shed light on stories that we don't often hear about. Lift like a girl demonstrates that lifting is not just for men; a girl can lift and go places as well. You can now watch the documentary on Netflix.
14. Ashgan El Abhar
“Metfasal Leek–Tailored for You”
Ashgan El-Abhar is the creator of "Adaptive Appeal," a fashion label with a big goal: to raise awareness for Egypt's differently-abled people. The idea for the brand came about when her friend in a wheelchair expressed a desire to wear a dress that she felt comfortable in, and the rest, as they say, is history. Differently-abled people in Egypt face many challenges that we usually do not consider, such as the fact that our streets do not have ramps for wheelchairs, or that people with short stature have difficulty finding their sizes in the market.
Ashgan hopes that the initiative will help to change people's perceptions of disabled people and persuade the public. They are one-of-a-kind, but they wish they could tell people to stop associating them with charity and to start treating them like normal people because, in the end, they are. When it comes to designing clothes, she consults with volunteers to learn about the difficulties they face so that she can tailor the clothes to their preferences.
15. Hamsa Mansour
Egypt's first female long-distance solo cyclist is Hamsa Mansour, an adventure trip leader. Hamsa thrives on adventure, whether it's mountain hiking or solo cycling across the country. Hamsa also organizes hikes to encourage people to be more adventurous and try new things. She challenged the stereotypes that most of us face on a daily basis, such as the belief that the roads are unsafe for women or that they will be kidnapped, raped, and killed on the road. She did, however, set a great example of how women can achieve anything and that we should not allow anyone to limit our dreams.
16. Sarah Sedky
Sarah Sedky is the founder of "Dyslexic Community Worldwide," an educational platform for people with dyslexia. Sarah, who is dyslexic, discovered that dyslexia goes largely unnoticed in the Egyptian educational system, so she decided to take the matter into her own hands and begin spreading awareness because she struggled herself as a child and felt she owed it to others to help them in the same way she wished she had as a child.
Sara's online platform offers helpful tips, study methods, and coping mechanisms, as well as one-on-one consultation with struggling students. As a Dyslexic myself, seeing this brought joy to my heart, knowing that this content would have greatly helped me as I grew up. The lack of awareness and educational support for dyslexic children in both public and private schools is a major problem. They usually assume that children are lazy or not very bright, when in reality, dyslexic children have a very high IQ; they just require a different approach, which is what Sara Sedky is attempting to change.