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Ripple Effect: Spotlighting Miral Dera and Vivian Labib Noeur

Article by Betsy Martin January 24, 2014 //   4 minute read

Despite recent reports highlighting the increasing discrimination against women in Egypt, the Women’s Initiative Fellows are courageously facing these challenges. Building upon the leadership training and skills they received during the U.S. portion of the Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative Fellowship, the Fellows are actively working to improve their communities and country.  We believe these women will continue to play a powerful role in effecting change in their communities and are proud of their accomplishments.  Individually, these women are strong; as a class, they form a resilient circle with a powerful vision for the future of their beloved country.  Meet Miral and Vivian:

Miral Dera

For Miral, this year has been one a self-discovery and confidence building.  The Fellowship has helped Miral identify her true purpose and passion, and hone her skills in the creative arts. Having found her passion, she is in the process of establishing an entity to develop Awakeners – videos designed to encourage positive behavior change. This will be the first such entity of its kind in Egypt.  Awakeners tackle simple issues, such as encouraging people to smile, to deeper issues like motivating them to actively contribute to positive change, including tackling illiteracy problem or addressing women issues.
Miral also studied Reiki (healing with energy) and has received her certification from the UK as a Reiki practitioner. Her work as a Reiki practitioner is giving her an outlet to help people through restoring their bodies’ imbalances, both physical and emotional, and thus improving their lives.
Miral finds using her artistic and creative talents to improve people’s lives her unique way of affecting positive change in Egypt.  Her goal is to expand Awakeners locally and internationally. She plans to continue her self-development by engaging in further Reiki studies and by obtaining a Masters in Fine Arts to help her in her pursuits.

Vivian Labib Noeur, Social Entrepreneur

“Social responsibility is not an option; it is an obligation”

Vivian Labib Noeur is an international award-winning artist and social entrepreneur who believes in using arts and social initiatives to serve the community.  She is the founder of Charisma Arts, a social enterprise that helps marginalized communities produce an income through manufacturing and selling genuine Egyptian handmade items.  Charisma Arts was founded in 2002 and currently employs 163 individuals who are empowered through the selling of their handicrafts.  
Vivian was selected as one of the speakers at the recent and prestigious TedXCairo Women, where she shared about being a successful female entrepreneur.   Her message to the audience centered around the idea of using one’s distinct talents to serve society.  She explained that using our individual talents is like colors in a painting and each color is critical to its makeup – just like each woman, child and man is critical to the painting of Egypt’s future. She encouraged participants to embrace their unique differences and charisma in order to succeed at their life’s goals.
Vivian has since created a program, The Box of Colors, which aims to reach school-aged children in Cairo.  As Vivian notes, she wants “to inspire the younger generation to be a catalyst and part of the future Egypt deserves to have.”  This artistic event is an awareness campaign that brings together local Egyptian artists to explore ideas of diversity and peace building through drawing, theater and music.  As a result of the program, children learn that they are like the colors in their school’s crayon box – different from their peers but when working together, they create a beautiful picture.