The MakeSense global community has been built by individuals ready to take action to help social entrepreneurs all around the world. We call them the Gangsters: they organize Hold-Ups of ideas to build collaborative solutions to the entrepreneurs’ issues. Some of them, even launch new initiatives to push MakeSense impact further!
Follow the journey of Sarah, who kickstarted the Women SenseTour in Muslim Countries to meet, help and highlight the amazing work of 25 women social entrepreneurs in 5 different countries!
Coucou ! Can you introduce yourself?
I am Sarah, a young French and Moroccan woman and a recent graduate from 2 Master Degrees (Business School and International Relations).
Very early I’ve been interested in Human Rights and more specifically in Women rights issues. I worked two years for AIDES (France), the first European association fighting against HIV/aids and also the association Solidarité Féminine (Morocco) which helps single mothers to be empowered.
I’m also a feminist, a globetrotter, a cappucino-addict.
What are your superpowers?
I find beauty in every single person, I love to smile at strangers, I can have deeper conversations with a 3 year-old and I can eat 30 makis and/or sushis in less than 5 min.
The last one seems to be a useless information. But this is how you can bribe me.
We will keep that in mind :) How did you discover MakeSense?
I discovered MakeSense at the very beginning of the organization thanks to a student of my Business School and then with Facebook.
What did you like at first?
The very first thing I liked are the Gangsters and their positive and energetic spirit.
I was so happy to realize that you can study in a Business School and be truly interested by and involved in social projects. It’s not something on contradiction. I thought I was an alien in my school looking for a job that makes sense not only for me but for the entire society. It’s so good to share this thought with a great community of people from everywhere in the world.
Then, I felt literally in love with the methodology of the Hold-Ups. After months and months of experience with MakeSense I’m always surprised to see how many great ideas can come up after only a 2 hours-workshop.
How did you become a Gangster of MakeSense community?
What did you do to develop MakeSense?
I was reading all the publications on the Facebook page and I was really curious. I attended my first MakeSense events in Paris, and really naturally I decided to become a Gangster.
At the very beginning, I was not very active because I was studying in different cities in France and abroad but then — and after 2 online formation with Chloé and Christian — I animated my first Hold-Ups in Paris.
The next year I was on the road for a big journey with the Women SenseTour — in Muslim Countries.
“Today and every day, everywhere in the world Muslim women face stigma.”
Tell us about your Women SenseTour in Muslims Countries!
(How did you get the idea? What did you do? What stroke you most? What did you discover?…)
Today and every day, everywhere in the world Muslim women face stigma. We are often seen as oppressed, victims and submissive; the religion of Islam is seen as an obstacle to women’s empowerment. Those stereotypes hurt me and other women and this ignorance lead unfortunately to fear and racism. So, I decided to change this situation and created the project “Women SenseTour — in Muslim Countries” in order meet and support Muslim women changemakers and spotlight how they are driving girls’ and women’s empowerment.
During 5 months, with my camera, my Post-its® and the help of my friends, I visited five different countries: Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Indonesia and Iran to meet not only one or two changemakers but 25!
Once in those countries I had two mission:
- Raise awareness on the situation of Muslim women entrepreneurs, deconstruct stereotypes and, crucially, amplify Muslim women’s voices. To do so, I realized a documentary and written profiles on my website.
- Support women changemakers through the organization of Hold-Ups designed to help them overcome specific challenges they face in their social entreprises.
Today those women have changed my life, they are my role models and I hope that they will be an inspiration for all of you when the documentary will be released.
What did this tour bring you?
Really guys??! It changed everything in my life!! The WST is the mix of all my passions in one project so even if I worked really hard on it everyday it makes me smile and bring so much joy in my life!
I met 25 great and inspiring women, worked on challenging women issues, travelled in so many countries and cities in the world, met great and generous people who helped me, took care of me, hosted me and became true friends, learned new languages, discovered new cultures, opened more and more my mind and my curiosity, founded a team who supported me even when I was crying or sick, created my next job, met the co-founder of the association I’m about to create, made me work on a documentary video and be inspired to work harder to struggle against sexism and racism!
What are the next steps? Do you have any project?
After the craziest and more inspiring adventure of my life I have so many projects in mind.
I would say that the 2 main projects are first the road movie/documentary I realize with the 25 portraits of women that I met, plus all the projections that I will organize everywhere in France.
The second project is the creation of an association, with my friend and also Gangster Justine, which has the same goal of the WST: to revalue the image of Muslim women in the world by spotlighting Muslim Women Changemakers — but with different activities.
I’m looking forward to telling you more about it very soon ;)
Finally, do you have some cool anecdote to share with us concerning your experience as a Gangster?
As a Gangster, my best anecdotes are from the different Hold-Ups I organized during my trip.
I had so many great souvenirs from the 10 Hold-Ups in Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Indonesia and one thing always happened to me… in those countries I almost always faced the language issues but I will share with you 2 anecdotes from the most surprising one I animated.
- The first anecdote was in Morocco when we helped Khadija the founder of the first Women cooperative of the region. That afternoon everything was surprising me. Either the place where the workshop happened — it was in an immense valley, in a small village of Tafraout, in the South of the country, — or the people who join the event because they were from 20 to… 60 years old motivated to find solution to the challenge. But the most challenging part was when Irealized that half of the participants are illiterate. For about 10 seconds I felt unprepared for this situation because in the methodology the participants are supposed to write their ideas on the Post-its®… but nothing is an obstacle! ;)
We just decided to change the organization of the room by creating groups of two in order to help the one who couldn’t write to have a partner to write the ideas for them :D
- The second anecdote happened in the crazy city of Jakarta in Indonesia to help Lita, the founder of an association for Domestic Workers. When I arrived in the association where the Hold-Up took place, the room was completely full with more than 30 women… plus their children. Everybody was quite excited by the Hold-Up and I really put all the energy I had during 2 hours to always keep that good spirit. Plus the women were in the majority domestic workers themselves and because they know better than anyone the problems they face, we really could go deeper on the problems and find more solutions to their obstacles. I also realized that they were happy to have a word to say and even more to teach you something. This Hold-Up will always be one of the best souvenirs I had.