“Even when you were a child, were you arranging your toys?”
“Yes, for sure. Our personalities, from childhood, don’t change.”
“Have you organized your husband?” we asked with knowing smiles.
“Yes, for sure.” Muna smiled back.
With that, the room erupted in laughter. Even Muna’s husband had to put down his glass of tea so as not to spill it. Muna had neatly organized binders with her, outlining the small business grants she manages. She was equally thorough in the work she had done earlier in her career, collecting and documenting the experience of families displaced by war.
“The work was amazing because I made a change and helped with human rights.”
Never doubt that a woman gifted in organization and encouragement can change the world.
Muna took us to visit Khalida, a displaced Iraqi woman who lost her leg while shielding her children from an airstrike. Khalida recently started a shop to provide for her family, using a small business grant you provided. Warm greetings were exchanged when Muna arrived at Khalida’s home. As we interviewed Khalida and asked her about her life, Muna gave her all the space she needed to shine but was ready to help if needed.
“I love all of the women in the [empowerment] project,” Muna says. “Almost all the time I like to chat and talk with the refugee women. And when we sit and talk, I want to encourage them. I tell them how to create things and be more creative, because Iraq really needs creative women.”
“Tragedy makes women create things in their lives.”
Muna knows about tragedy: married at 15 and unable to finish school, abused by her family, successive businesses she built taken by the government and then ISIS, displaced by war… And then there was that time ISIS came to take her house.
“You weren’t afraid of them?” I ask.
“No no. When ISIS came to take my home I fought back. I said, ‘If you want to take my home, then kill me.’ The neighborhood found out, and they all came to support me. ISIS left my home, and then I escaped.”
Muna faced down her biggest fear that day. After that experience, there really isn’t anything that she’s afraid of now. She holds nothing back, using her energy to build up and encourage others. Like the way she encourages Khalida.
“I like to support and help people who are disabled and hopeless—to change their mood, and life, and give them hope. Like Khalida.” The sudden, massive change of losing her leg—and her home—in an airstrike caused Khalida to lose hope for her future.
“Khalida was afraid of her own projects before, but when I tried with her, she became a woman with energy! Now she has hope to do something more.”
Encouraging the vulnerable to become entrepreneurs
Muna encourages the vulnerable to try business to support their families. She works with them to find the right kind of business for their circumstances, like helping a group of war widows to start livestock businesses with sheep.
Muna challenges women who are reluctant to try starting a business, whether because of culture, tradition, or a personal fear of failure. It deeply bothers Muna to see women wasting their time and skills, watching television instead of investing in their future.
“I like the work in this organization [Preemptive Love]. Especially when I do small projects, because it changes and has a huge impact on people. I hate just giving people money or water. I like to give them something they can use as a business.”
” You help women and give them a chance.
You share their pain.”— Muna
You. Muna was talking about you. You—in your life in the United States or Canada or Hong Kong or Brazil. You, who made a donation so that an Iraqi impacted by war could have a chance to support her family and change her world.
You are part of this beautiful cycle of change. You use your skills and resources, which encourages Muna in using her skills and resources, who encourages Khalida to use her skills and resources…and on it goes.
Imagine if you could use your skills and encouragement to change the world. You already are.
Encourage and empower women to rise above their circumstance. Give now.
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