Growing up in a conservative religious culture were a woman's value is placed in whether she is married, is a mother, or if she is a good homemaker was very difficult for me. To be married by the age of 17 was the norm and the emphasis on education for women did not exist. I am a proud Palestinian (and respect and appreciate a lot of the value in my culture) yet this is the way of life in certain small villages but I didn’t want to allow this cultural ideology define my path in life.
I was one of those many women whose parents made decisions for them based on what they believed was best for their daughters. I was known to always be the "rebellious" one and because of that I was unjustifiably punished. I was talked about, criticized, and stereotyped for my decisions and actions just because I said No, I wanted to be treated fairly. I endured a lot of criticism and abuse because of those choices but I still refused to have the "norm" be my life. My dream has always been to get my education and be a Doctor to help Palestinian children that were living under harsh circumstances due to the occupation. I always wanted to help the helpless and be a voice to the voiceless.
Yes, I have always been stubborn, strong, and determined but because of it, I have accomplished a lot in my life. I worked through the harsh criticism of my culture and negativity of everyone around me and as I have said previously through all the odds against me I went to school got two different degrees, one in ultrasound sound and my RN License. I worked a full-time job while attending school full time so I could pay for my own expenses. I didn’t want anyone to help me I wanted to do it myself so I could prove it to myself and others that I accomplished my goals. I never got any support and was criticized by everyone around me who also doubted me. I was constantly under enormous pressure to succeed and prove to myself and to those who doubted me wrong. I landed a successful job and made my own money and slowly and surely started to make decisions that I saw fit for my future. I committed myself with all my heart and soul into humanitarian work, where I felt my calling has always been! It was not an easy road, there were a lot of failures and stumbles throughout but I always got back on my feet and continued to move forward. I am a fighter and very determined to succeed. One of my dreams has always been to do mission work, to be able to be in the field and help people in need. That is why I decided to organizes and lead medical missions in the Middle East to provide free medical care. I wanted to be able to do this on my own just to prove to myself I could and I did, with the help of some amazing humanitarian friends. I have traveled to Jordan and Palestine, met so many amazing people. I have been to refugee camps and witnessed the displacement of children, visited hospitals, comforted sick children, and witnessed the death of many of these kids. These experiences have molded me into the person I am now. Everything I have witnessed and experienced in life only fuels the fire that I must be more successful and to reach out too many people that need me!
I’m in the process of completing my master’s degree in nursing! I feel proud and accomplished that I have come so far considering the limitations that were placed on me earlier in my life. My calling to help humanitarian causes has only fueled me to do more. Set your goals and strive to achieve them. With a lot of determination, you can accomplish anything regardless of your gender or your status in life! You have the final say in who you are and what you can accomplish. Don’t allow others to stand in the way of your goals and dreams! Your are the only one that can make it a reality ! #ClimbYourownMountain
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