My name is Zahra Magzoub Ali, 19 years old. I am currently studying management at Ahfad University for Women. I am ambitious, driven, very motivated, I like to develop myself, and always excited about learning new skills. I have always wanted to make an impact especially as being a student I have the free time and energy, so I thought why not play an active role for my community and myself?
I am very passionate about volunteering. It is a great way to help others, while also gaining experience. It is a great way to build my skills and will allow me to understand what I want to do long-term.
My first volunteering experience was when I worked at Education Without Borders. This experience was eye opening for me. It provided me with a way to see the true reality of how children in Geriaf Reformatory Centre struggled and fought to have an education, which I believe is the right of every child. They were a real inspiration. The experience taught me a life lesson, to not just go after what I aspire to do but to really fight for your goals and dreams.
I then volunteered at Besmat Khire, which is a non-profit organization that works with people with disabilities to empower them by providing instruments and tools needed to do their daily activities. After my volunteering experience with Besmat Khire, I wanted to learn more about people with disabilities. By random luck I heard about a caravan called “Salamat”, which had a group of Medical Specialists who travel from the UK to Sudan to help disabled Sudanese people in rural areas by providing prescriptions and free operations to those in need. I got the chance to work with them at DAL Group where they and The Sudanese Foundation for Persons with Disability provided awareness and workshops about people with disabilities. I have never seen kids so grounded and living the best life, they could, despite their struggles. They really are a joy to the heart.
In early 2017, I heard about and joined a non-profit organization called Al Sudaniya Mentoring (ASM), founded by Mai Khidir. The organization offers an annual programme that empowers young Sudanese women by engaging them with accomplished and working Sudanese women located in Sudan or outside the country. Mentors and mentees commit to the programme for six months. During this period, the pairings have skype sessions once a week to discuss varies topics including feminism, career development, public speaking tips, among others. The mentees are offered a once a month training session lead by the ASM team in Sudan. Being a mentee with the ASM programme was a priceless endeavour. I recently finished the 6-month programme, and I am still in touch with my mentor Aya Elmileik. After of the programme you will gain a lifetime friend and mentor who will supports you, offer advice and follows your progress during any events happening in your life. What more could a person ask for.
Post ASM, a couple months later, I applied for a job opportunity with the Private Office of His Excellency Ambassador Saeed Zaki as the “Personal Assistant”. I was called for an interview and was then offered the position. The Ambassador himself is the Youth Representative in the Republic of the Sudan. While working here, I have the opportunity for trainings and developing different qualities and skills.
Recently, I had the opportunity to be one of the SDGs Advocacy Programme Ambassadors at UNDP Sudan. There we receive trainings about the Sustainable Development Goals and how to Implement them in Sudan, then we carry those qualities we learned to raise awareness of the integrated nature of the SDGs to our communities and at major events. The most recent events were the Social Good Summit 2017 and UN Day.
This is just the beginning for me. I am still eager to help others, learn and gain new skills gain to achieve as much success as possible.
If you take anything from the story of my experiences, I would like you to remember the importance of volunteering. For young individuals who would like to invest in their free time, I highly recommend that you VOLUNTEER. It is worth every minute and leads to endless opportunities. As my mom has always said, “Keep putting out good, it will come back to you tenfold in unexpected ways.”
I hope to be an inspiration for young people who have been discouraged to chase their goals after hearing from others, “You’re still young, insinuating that there is still plenty of time to do things. The message I have for those people, is any time is our time. The earlier you start, the better the outcome.
I did all this and I haven’t even reach my twenties, which I consider my biggest accomplishment. This time you are hearing from me as a young professional, next time you will hear from me as the young entrepreneur.