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A Spotlight on the Women’s Initiative Fellows: Part Two – Sara, May and Namees

August 7, 2012 7 minute Read by Doaa Mansour

In our endeavor to share the progress of the remarkable women of the Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program, we are proud to highlight the success stories of Sara, May and Namees in the second installment in our series - “A Spotlight on the Women’s Initiative Fellows”. Driven by their unswerving desire to contribute to the development of Egypt, these women continue to step out and challenge the status quo. The following is an overview of their recent progress and accomplishments. Sara Galal Sara is the Founder and CEO of Sweety Heaven, a website that aims to improve communication between parent and child. Sara was awarded first place in the “Start-Up Weekend Alexandria” competition.  For the competition, she was required to pitch a product idea to more than 300 people, including potential investors, develop and manage a team to create a working prototype, and present it to the audience within two days. Sara has her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Tourism and Hotels. Sara’s Recent Work: During her visit to the United States, Sara realized it was time to dedicate her energy on her dream of building her company, Sweety Heaven. Upon her return to Egypt, Sara left her HR job, and devoted herself fully to her new company. Sara has finalized all the legal paperwork to register and patent Sweety Heaven, and has opened the company’s headquarter in Alexandria, Egypt. The company’s model and goal has attracted a number of investors who believe in the value of Sara’s work. Sara has already secured a one-year financial deal, which enabled her to recruit two female web designers as full-time employees at Sweety Heaven. Sara finds great personal gratification in the fact that she is able to hire new employees. She views creating jobs as her contribution to solving the high unemployment in Egypt. Sara continues to work toward launching Sweety Heaven and is focused on three main areas: product development, marketing and media.  She is building her team and recently hired a developer, project manager and accountant. Namees Arnous Namees is the youngest Fellow in the Program. She is a well-known television reporter in Egypt. During the Revolution, Namees was asked to spread inaccurate stories. She refused and resigned from the television station. Namees then founded a new media production company that includes television, radio and social media outlets. She aims to promote human rights and democratic principles by training individuals in new media. Namees worked on a number of campaigns, including the Change Your Life Campaign, which aims to encourage women to be independent, and the Be Free Campaign, which addresses young Muslim women extremists. She is currently working on a civic journalism campaign to cover youth participation in elections in their respective regions. The campaign will be broadcast on her NGO’s radio station and website. Namees has her Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication with a focus on Television and Radio. Namees’s Recent Work: Namees successfully launched, Bokra TV, the first web television station in Egypt.  She was able to cover the recent Presidential Elections and is in the process of developing a television show specifically showcasing women and women’s issues. Namees appeared on CNN in late June to discuss the outcome of the presidential election and raise the issue of the fate of women in Egypt as a result of the election. Namees is passionate about women’s rights and uses her voice to promote the continuation of policies that protect Egyptian women from restrictive laws. May Hassan May’s interests span a diverse spectrum from law to design.  She received a postgraduate diploma in Intellectual Property Law and is currently working toward launching her own design studio called “May Madly”. May’s Recent Work: Shortly after returning to Egypt, May supervised the highly successful, first ever National Oral Moot Court competition in Egypt between four leading universities. The Ministry of Justice has offered to support the competition next year and May hopes that law professors will take ownership and run the event themselves.  May is currently working on launching the first Environmental Legal Clinic in Cairo. One of May’s dreams is to improve the academic legal environment in the Egyptian universities, and she has been meeting and consulting with a number of law professors and experts from various fields to explore the best way to achieve this goal. May is also passionate about graphic design and is hoping to start her design studio called “May Madly”.  She is currently offering free-lance designs, and has provided Women’s Initiative Fellow Azza Koura with graphic designs for the website banners used at the Egypt and Future Paths; Reviving Trust Funds in a Modern Context conference. May is committed to improving her communication and business skills through reading at least one article every day, and watching tutorials to improve her artistic/creative skills as she develops her website. May remains connected with her mentor, as well as a number of individuals she met in the United States who continue to provide her with valuable advice.  The Women’s Initiative Fellowship expanded May’s network and she remains deeply engaged with her new colleagues. May generously provides legal counsel, as needed, to her fellow Women’s Initiative Fellows. The Women’s Initiative team is immensely proud of these remarkable women and encouraged by their progress, and we are honored to be part of their journey. This post was written by Doaa Mansour, Program Coordinator for the Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program at the George W. Bush Institute.