A ‘Dreamer Girl’ Fight for Ecological and Professional Awareness

“She believed she could, so she did!” One look at Rose's motto on Skype is enough to give you an idea of this young woman's positive mindset. Born in Baghdad 26 years ago, she's been working as a project engineer at a construction company since 2013, and was one of the twenty-four selected Fellows for the 2016 Cycle.

“I am a dreamer girl, and I'm always interested in trying something different: even in my daily work, I'm not into sticking to the same routine. So, my current job will certainly not by my final career choice. In the future, I plan to work in the entrepreneurship field, maybe as a business developer or even with my own company. Being part of 2016's Fellowship Programme will certainly prove useful in this regard.”

Over the years, Rose has developed a strong interest in women empowerment, technical innovation and especially environmental issues, as she is committed to help her home country go greener. “We are facing many problem in Iraq in this regard. Most people have no ecological awareness, even in the most preserved areas of Baghdad like the one I'm lucky to live in. People are throwing broken laptop batteries in the garbage and seem to have no clue of the way that could affect them in the long run. On a less worrying level, there is also a dramatic overuse of plastic bags, sometimes even for just one bottle of water that you are going to drink on spot.”

“People in the government seem to care about those issues but they are facing more urgent problems. We have just finished the war and priority is given to the most damaged areas of the city. Among people my age, I see two kinds of attitude. Many of my friends share my world view but they don't plan to do anything in their life: at least they have that awareness, like not throwing plastic items in the waste. Other people simply don’t care, they say: ‘it’s made to be used’, and that's it. I argue a lot with them and usually they end up the conversation by telling me: ‘you are right but most of the population just doesn't care, so why should we?’”

“My recent interest is entrepreneurship and innovation specifically. In this respect, taking part in the Fellowship was so much helpful. I was always wondering how to develop a project, how to find the solutions needed and how to apply it. It taught me to be so specific in stating my goals, to make a proper environment analysis.”

Working as volunteer, Rose has shared her knowledge and experience with fellow Iraqi students during a Technology Job Week back in May 2017 at the University of Technology in Baghdad. “I helped them improving their resume and CV's, and gave them tips for their cover letter or the research they should conduct before an interview, the kind of questions to ask or the importance of networking. In recent years, our education system has improved, but we're still facing a huge gap between the academic world and practical life. Many young people have no idea how to promote themselves or how to set goals for themselves and find a job that could actually suit them. Many of them only have an Arabic version of their CV, for example, and most of companies won't accept it.”

“I had to tell some students to keep it as simple as possible: including your hobbies is important, but letting your employer know about your taste for swimming or horses is useless! And please, don't chew a gum during an interview, even if it helps you reduce your stress…”