SDG Campaign: Project No. 3 by Fay Al Najadah

Fay is very passionate about topics within Diversity and Inclusion. Especially appreciating cultural differences, empowering women and disability. Her SDG micro Project focuses on SDG 10 reducing inequalities for individuals with disabilities in her community by Educating, spreading awareness and highlighting their achievements locally and globally. In addition, looking at their abilities rather than limiting and labeling them with their Dis-abilities. In this blog, we share what Fay has shared with us regarding her project and experience:

“In October 2019 a group of 5 mothers who have kids with different disabilities came together to form this group and Currently I am one of the Founders and I am Leading the group . I am in-charge of their social media and sharing my experience with them. It’s a team that specializes in everything related to people with disabilities and their families. We support, highlight, sensitize and transfer everything new in the field of Diss-Ability. The group is called Heba which means a gift in Arabic. They chose Heba as the name of the group because they see their kids as a gift from God. They would like to share it with the rest of the world. 

I learned from the Women Empowerment program to lead from the heart and allow others to shine that motivated me to insist on believing in this group and making it active during the quarantine period. We as women need to learn to encourage each other rather than criticize each other. I envision a world where we accept each other despite our differences and to look at the strengths of individuals and what they can bring to the table. I would like to conclude by this motto which I will start using as a slogan for our group :  “ Believe in my ability and capability despite my disability” So Don’t (Dis) my Ability.

There was many challenges moving forward: First the team didn’t know each other very well so I asked them to do the MBTI test so I can understand how to approach each person and understand the way they make decisions. Second, the members don’t know how to use technology like Google Drive, Zoom, etc …

Third, our work depends on meeting people having the pandemic made it harder and made me persist on moving this project forward especially after I saw how our members ( the mothers) we struggling with their kids during the lockdown such as their kids schedule changed. So I asked one of the active members who is willing to work with me. I empowered her to do weekly instagram lives. We started our first instagram live on  12 of April 2020. We did #5 lives that was moderated by my mom who is an activist for individuals with disabilities and a choice theory trainer in Kuwait. 

Our live sessions coverd different topics: our kids with disabilities during quarantine, disability law in kuwait & the gulf, Life balance & Psychological problems during covid ,mental health during covid, and a live with a mother who had an Down syndrome child that got cured from covid-19. The live sessions and my social media strategy helped our instagram group to be known by the community and helped us to increase our followers from 26 follows to 349 followers. In addition, we started getting amazing feedback on Instagram from people and some asking when is the next live. Also by managing Instagram I got to meet and get the attention on different International Organizations (USA,Vienna,Jamaica,Germany… etc) that share the same Goal and Sustainable Development Goals. 

An American organization called Different & Able which shares a very similar goal to us sent us “Can you please join? We’d love to have you!” They have a online support system related to different disabilities.”. Many asked to Volunteer, local account started to support our lives without us asking them like : @golivekwt and @all.inkwt   “telling us you anytime you have an event let us know” 

An interesting note is the speaker in our first live was a special education teacher in kuwait. He sent us a msg supporting and offering his service. When my mom talked to him, he told her ( I know you, you supervised me when I was a student and you told me بتكون شيء كبير بالمستقبل ) 

A Learning experience: 

Sometimes it’s hard to let everyone to see things from the same lense or view. From someone who has background in Management I totally believe in Search Results Tuckman’s stages of group development. I even used it to explain to my group why we were stuck and I solved  the problem we had. 

– Use constructive communication with your team.

– You choose what you want this is the full story

– “i totally believe in Tuckman’s stages of group development 

Without Search Result

It wasn’t easy to move the project forward everytime someone want to drop out I hold on tight and remind them of their vision when we discussed it in our first meeting. Like everytime there is a conflict my mom will say: khalas I gave up. I keep telling her no no why u give up so easily you wanted this so bad . Why do u stop what you want to do because of unmotivated members we have to continue working because we ( me & her) believe in change. This is what made her accept the  idea of the instagram lives then when she saw the affect she started contacting people that we worked with in the past and suggested let’s talk about this topic. 

We got contacted by a local organization that offered us funding for any future events. But we still need to make sure it isn’t against the law because we are a group not an organization.

Moving forward we would like to impact more individuals with disabilities &  empower their mothers cuz (a mother that have a child with disability goes through a lot of hardship and phases / We would like to focus on women with disability   because that isn’t done in Kuwait. We are also thinking of being as a support system for mothers who give birth at the hospital and the hospital doesn’t know how to tell the mothers that she have a child with disability. So the mother goes through mental and emotional challenge when she know.”