Sulaima is one of the youth participants taking part in the ‘Getting By’ workshop next week as part of a research partnership on what it means for young people to ‘make a living’ with Restless Development and Murray Edwards College at the University of Cambridge.
My name is “Sulaima”, one of the very ancient names of Jerusalem, where I was born. I am a 29-year-old Palestinian woman living, in Bethlehem-Palestine.
As a believer in the premise that “Actions speak louder than words”, I do my best to spend my life working to achieve something rather than just speaking it. I am a co-founder and manager of an enterprise called “Puppets for kids- Yes Theatre”. This enterprise serves multi-dimensional purposes in the context of overall community-based psychosocial interventions with didactic and community puppetry theatre actions.
My full time job at ‘Puppets for kids’ is not my only field of interest. I also volunteer at the “Children rehabilitation centre” in the Deheishah refugee camp in Bethlehem, trying to introduce the organization to the principles of social entrepreneurship bailout (replacing donors money), towards a more sustainable service provision.
My time and mission at each of these organizations are not separated from the others. I try to create networks and dialogue between these organizations and others to gather their energy and commitment to foster a professional dialogue dynamic necessary for improving the psychosocial wellbeing of Palestinian children.
Dealing with the inevitable vicissitudes of entrepreneurship can be a difficult challenge, to say the least. Therefore, to help myself create the right mindset for success in our social business endeavours and stay mentally strong, I highly depend on turning experiences into learnt lessons to be employed as a solid basis for my work and life in general.
The inventiveness and uniqueness of what I am doing as an entrepreneur is just one step of a longer and more successful journey. Managing an enterprise in Palestine, despite all the surrounding hardships, is a very unique experience. It sparks my interest in learning and being introduced to new notions in the field including “Making a living” and “Making a life”.
“Making a living” should enrich our lives in a way that turns “Doing-ness” into “Being-ness”. “Making a Living” is doing what we want to do to live, not what we have to do.
For me, “making a living” should be associated with happiness, fulfilment, passion and joy rather than money, fame and power. It should avoid being trapped in the mindset of focusing on making a living for survival and working really hard to make lots of money as that is what is seen as successful.
Then, and only then, will the two notions be correspondent and interchangeable.
While scrolling my Facebook page late November last year, I noticed a post by a page that shares youth opportunities advertising. The post read:‘Peak Youth and Making a Living: New Youth-Centered Understandings and Solutions’ workshop.
I am looking forward to develop my knowledge and skills alongside the other participants in the workshop next week. By working with the other delegates and networking with them to establish future collaborations, I am excited to broaden my knowledge and contribute to the understanding of what it means to ‘Make a Living’.
Hearing about other people’s successful experiences in areas of development is an inspiring opportunity. I am looking forward to bringing new and inspiring development ideas back to my people to continue to grow the work I do back home.
Counting the days before I have the chance to meet the prominent delegates for ‘Peak Youth and Making a Living’ workshop, I am sure the foundations will be set up to established successes with audible echo in the future. I hope that a solid network of respected people and organizations will grow during and after this workshop.
Lastly, I am so proud that I will be at the same venue with other amazing young people and perhaps snap some photos with them too!