It takes a single dream to spark a series of developments
All Girls Association
It takes a single dream to spark a series of developments, a single idea fueled by passion and conviction to make things happen, and it is such ideas that slowly but surely transform the world into a better and more positive place to live in for all.
The “All Girls” Association is living proof that the dreams and ideas of passionate and dedicated individuals can and do in fact change lives and trigger social change.
In July 11th, 2004, Intisar Al-Adi introduced her idea to her peers in the form of a graduation project, a project that focused on helping Yemini women take a more active role in instigating, contributing to and leading progressive social development across Yemen’s remote regions and marginalized societies. Gathering a group of like-minded fellow females, Intisar soon formed the “All Girls” Association, which aimed to act as an agent of positive community change that championed the empowerment of Yemeni women and the creation of opportunities to help them attain better standards of living.
Over the course of the first four years and through unwavering dedication and hard work, the Association outgrew its humble beginnings and overcame all challenges to blossom into a well-respected entity that succeeded in winning the trust of many donor organizations.
However, the “All Girls” Association’s true emergence as a notable social development entity, took place when the Association became a partner and joined hands with Naseej in 2007 to collaboratively work towards presenting services, opportunities and support to both youth and women in marginalized societies, helping break negative traditional perceptions that label young women as a burden upon their communities and youth as a source of crime and corruption.
As a result, the Association was able to set and activate a number of strategies in collaboration with different entities to arm young women with the capabilities and skills they need to develop themselves, their peers and their communities.
“The approaches and concepts that Naseej adopts and disseminates are what make it unique and is what made our effort and work more efficient and of value; Naseej encouraged us to work closely, slowly but surely with youth. It gave us and them the opportunity to emphasis on the processes where we all explore, develop and learn. No one was afraid to make mistakes because we were all learning from our experiences. For the first time ever, youth were given the opportunity and the right support to think, plan, implement and evaluate their work” Intisar Al-Adi.
In order to dispel such misconceptions and tap into youth and women’s rich potential as major contributors to society, the Association created training programs that would be delivered by youth themselves to their counterparts. These programs involve secretarial and office administration training for young women in order to enable them to join the work force; lectures for both male and female university students to make them aware of their capabilities and responsibilities towards their community; an awareness campaign directed at parents, local authorities and city council members, and mosque sheikhs to advocate and promote the importance of girls’ education; and projects which positively activate the role of youth within their communities and help them utilize their capabilities to better serve their societies.
“When I was a student, girls and women were not interested in improving their capabilities or exploring their potential, as they didn’t feel that doing so would make any difference. Having grown up in communities that placed many restrictions on them, Yemeni girls and women were forced to contend with a bleak existence that merely consisted of traditional roles which limited their interaction with the world beyond the threshold of their homes. Women were not allowed to work outside the house, and many of them were not even allowed to go to school or university, depriving them of their right to education. I wanted to change that reality and provide young women who did not have any opportunities with a chance to develop themselves and become active members of society. This was my real motivation to establish the Association.”
Today, the “All Girls” Association stands as a shining beacon of hope for women across Yemen, and is becoming an increasingly more active advocate of women rights in governorates across Yemen that have yet to recognize women as valid members of their communities.
“Through our concerted efforts and with the support and guidance of Naseej, we have managed to change communities’ negative perceptions regarding females, helping them view women not as a burden to their families, but as crucial members that can support their families. Even the government now believes that, with a bit of support, young women can achieve better results and positively influence the communities they work in,” Arwa Jarrallah, Project Coordinator.