“ I’m really impressed with all the work done by the Intisar Foundation, because it’s really rare for an organisation to address mental health and psychological wellbeing, especially of women, and especially in the Arab world. Women’s psychological wellbeing is very important because it impacts the lives of their children who are the men and women of tomorrow, and it’s even more important in war zones and conflict areas.”
Please tell us more about your work on promoting women’s empowerment in the Arab world through sports.
I’ve been an advocate for women’s rights, and keynote speaker on gender equality and women’s empowerment for many years, but in 2021, I decided to combine my advocacy work and my work as a journalist. This is why I thought of creating a platform dedicated to women’s sports in the Arab world (Taja Sport).
The idea was to talk about sports and to promote it among millions of women in the MENA region, because sports is a very powerful tool to empower women and to help them to become more confident and take their own place on the field, instead of only watching men playing sport.
The second goal was to highlight women’s sports achievements by covering women’s sports competitions to show that we have sports talents among women in the MENA region. We do have great achievements of our women in sports, but the problem is that nobody is interested to cover it. That is why I chose sports because it’s all about health, women’s bodies, performance, and in the end, it’s about gender equality.
Your work at Taja Sport and our work at Intisar Foundation both highlight the importance of body movements and releasing tension held within the body for achieving better psychological wellbeing. Please give us your opinion on our work since inception in 2019 until today.
I believe that Intisar Foundation and we at Taja Sport share the same goal, which is how to use movements, be it through dance or through sport, to ease the tension in women’s body.
I believe that body is getting and expressing all the tension from our lives. I also believe that the body can express psychological problems that people are suffering from, especially women.
I’m really impressed with all the work done by the Intisar Foundation, because it’s really rare for an organization to address mental health and psychological wellbeing, especially for women, and especially in the Arab world. Women’s psychological wellbeing is very important because it impacts the lives of their children who are the men and women of tomorrow, and it’s even more important in war zones and conflict areas.
Please tell us more about the positive impact that celebrating achieving/successful Arab women make in our societies
One of our main goals is to promote and celebrate women’s achievements in sports in the MENA region because it is crucial to show role models to our little girls in the Arab world. If we don’t talk about the achievements of women in sports, those little girls will think that some sports are only for men.
It is also important for women in sports themselves to be present in media as well, because without media coverage, it will be difficult for them to get sponsors. Then, if you don’t have sponsors, you will have difficulties building a successful career in sports.
Lastly, we can change limiting mindsets and introduce women to new sports and empower them to choose whatever sport they want.
What do you consider to be the most pressing challenges faced by Arab women today/in 2022, especially those Arab women who are affected by war and violence?
I think that there are a lot of challenges for women today. Getting back to the workforce is important so that they can play a role in their societies and economies. It is also important that women play a role in the political life of their countries. I think that especially in war zones and areas of violence we need more women at the table when negotiating Peace, because they have a different mindset and always build Peace after any conflict. Therefore, the Intisar Foundation’s work is very important because rebuilding those women ensures that they will take part in rebuilding their nations and countries.
What would be your advice for Arab women in 2022?
My advice for women in 2022 is to believe in themselves – nobody should tell you what you can or cannot achieve, and you should not limit yourself either.
The second thing is to network and lift each other up – share experiences, talk about your careers, talk about your achievements. We have been taught not to brag or praise ourselves, especially not publicly. However, that is a big no for me, so please do talk about your achievements because in that way younger girls will know that they have equal opportunities as men. Forget about the talk that it’s bragging, that you should not talk about yourself – no, you do have to talk about yourself and do it! Think of it not only as being proud of every step you have made in your life, but as your responsibility toward younger generations.
“ Please do talk about your achievements because in that way younger girls will know that they have equal opportunities as men.Forget about the talk that it’s bragging, that you should not talk about yourself – no, you do have to talk about yourself and do it! Think of it not only as being proud of every step you have made in your life, but as your responsibility toward younger generations.”
Officially registered as a humanitarian organisation with the Charity Commission for England and Wales in 2019, Intisar Foundation is the first charitable organisation in the Middle East dedicated to providing psychological support programmes of drama therapy to Arab women affected by the brutality of war and violence.
Number 22, Mount Ephraim,
Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN48AS
UK Registration Charity Number: 1182384
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