Interviewer: Mahmoud Mansi
“Learning to dance requires a lot of patience and continued persistence. Which is what one requires in any form of learning. This is what dancing has taught me and it is the same confidence I carry with myself when I address my stakeholders or facilitate a training for a set of audience…”
ABOUT THE INTERVIEWEE
Indian by origin, born and raised in Kuwait. Did my schooling in Kuwait and moved to India to complete university and continued to work and reside in Bangalore, India for 11 years.
During this time, I discovered my passion for dance and have learnt a bit of Salsa, Bachata, Jive and Belly dance. The form that won my heart was Belly Dancing and I hope to continue my passion soon.
Moved to Australia in 2016 and discovered my interest in fitness and health. Today, along with my continued career in L&D, I am on the road to enrich myself as a fitness enthusiast and to broaden my knowledge on how to better my general health and remain fit. Somewhere down the road, I see my professional background and my personal interest meet to become that satisfying “Highway of my life”. I aim to start something of my own through which I would be able to display my passion as a trainer and my love for dance and fitness. That “something” is yet to be discovered 🙂
1- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Bernita, many people find it so interesting to work in the field of learning and development (L&D). I am one of them too. I also know that this career comes with a lot of challenges and it is not as simple as it seems. Can you tell us more about your passion towards L&D, and what are the challenges you find in this job?
Bernita Joseph: I discovered that I wanted to grow in the field of Learning and Development when I was in the final year of my post-graduation. At the age of 20, I assumed that the only criteria required to be successful in this profession is to have exceptional delivery skills. While, I was confident delivering a presentation and addressing a crowd, little did I know back then that delivery was only 10% of the role. I still look back at my yester-years and smile at myself for at least having the confidence that I possess. Over the years of working and interacting with various target audience, I believe there are two key challenges that any L&D professional can face.
1. The ability to truly understand your participant’s requirement.
Putting yourself in their shoes and thoroughly understanding their role and business requirement. How do you gage this? Many a times it’s done through focus group discussion and skill gap analysis. However, the ability to master the industry knowledge and job role your participant is in, can be highly challenging for an L&D professional. Especially if you do not possess the similar work background as that of your target audience.
2. Measuring the training outcome.
While there are various training feedback tools developed today, most of the qualitative feedbacks are received during informal conversations rather than the tools used to obtain these feedbacks. Successfully capturing the qualitative feedback through tools is still a challenge that many organizations face.
2- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: You worked for 4 years in India, at KPMG; one of the big four consulting firms, as an L&D Assistant Manager, where you were responsible for developing consultants from different professions. This is indeed a very critical role, as the consultants you are developing, their work will reflect on the strategies of other organizations. How did you manage the learning & development journey of the consultants?
Bernita Joseph: KPMG gives immense importance to learning and development and encourages its staff to attend trainings organized externally and internally by the firm. While we did have a formal L&D process, my relationship with the staff went beyond the 4 walls of the training room.
At a firm level, we used to conduct training need analysis in collaboration with the department heads to analyze the current and required skills. Basis the needs, training programs were identified designed and organized for the staff. These trainings were based on their job requirements, performance reviews and real time situations they would have faced when at a client location. At an individual level, I would interact with the staff to understand what they are expecting to achieve from the training and what are the challenges they face regarding the training topic. This would then help me address and focus my content on the points they would have shared during the discussions. Post the training, when possible I would informally catch up with staff to understand what they learned, if they were able to implement the skills in real time situations, if they would like to go through the training again and if yes, how would they want me to do it this time.
3- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Currently you are working in Australia as an L&D Officer at Blacktown City Council. Can you tell us about your journey moving from India to Australia?
Bernita Joseph: My response to this question can be a lengthy one. But, I’ll try to keep it brief 🙂
I moved to Melbourne, Australia in Sept 2016 with a hope to find myself a job in the field of L&D. Just like everyone else, I too was excited, nervous and anxious with the move. I had no clue what was in store for me and didn’t have clarity on how long it would take me to find a job in my field. Having said that, I packed my bags, preparing myself for the worse as everyone I spoke to, mentioned the Australian job market can be tough to break into when you have no local experience. Having worked for 6 years by then, I was used to having a daily income and supporting myself. I had forgotten what it’s like to be unemployed and to an extend dependence on family until I could find my bearings.
I lived in Melbourne for two months and had to move to Adelaide, South Australia due to visa conditions. I stayed there for six months looking out for jobs. Every time I contacted a recruiter for the role advertised on Seek (popular Australian job portal) or Linkedin, I immediately got shut down when they realized I didn’t have local experience. I wondered how I would ever gain local experience if I’m not going to be considered for a role or called in for an interview to prove myself!
At this point-in time, I had made up my mind that I’m not going to sit idle but will take up any job that would provide me with an exposure to the working culture here, while I continued to look for L&D roles. One month of moving to Adelaide, I got hired as a part time Console Operator at a convenience store called OTR (On The Run). While, such jobs are highly encouraged and common in most parts of the world, I came from a country where doing part time jobs at retail stores as a source of additional income is looked down on.
Yet I was determined to make a living and thought of it as a learning experience which it truly was. During my 4 months stint at the store, I met all kinds of customers, and worked with some really amazing people. Every day taught me something new, from dealing with rude and aggressive customers to hiding from customers who tried their luck with me! From gelling with colleagues who intimidated me in the beginning to having them back me up in times of trouble and being told that they would miss having me around. Interestingly enough I also learned the art of making a Cappuccino J and discovered my love for coffee!
The hunt for a job in my field didn’t stop and with time I began receiving positive responses from recruiters in Sydney. And I realized that it’s time for me to move once again! I set up meetings with recruitment agencies in Sydney in March 2017; by April 2017 I had two offers in hand as an L&D officer. It was a tough decision as both the roles were good and I decided to consider Blacktown City Council as I believed it would give me an exposure into the Australian Public sector.
It’s been a year since I joined Blacktown City Council. It’s definitely been a learning curve and an experience in itself! I don’t regret taking the time off to find a job I liked and also do something different in the meantime. Like I said earlier, every experience I encountered taught me a lot. Today, I use my experience at OTR as real-life examples while delivering Customer Service training programs at the Council.
4- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: If you are to compare between work in India and work in Australia, what would be the difference? What are the positive points of each and what are the points of improvement in each working culture?
Bernita Joseph: It would be wrong to say that one is better than the other! Both has its pros and cons. With my limited work experience and time in Australia, I have realized that there is immense opportunity for individuals to identify and prove their potential. While educational background is important, there is a lot of emphasis on an individual’s extracurricular activities and how that can contribute to the role they are being hired for.
Whereas in India, there is a lot of focus given to your educational background which to a large extent determines your fit into the role. On the contrary, my experience has been that in India, people are lot more open and welcoming in their approach. While, in Australia people like to take their time, develop their trust in you and then welcome you into their space.
In Australia, everyone’s respected for the work they do and there is no difference based on your role or designation. Everyone has equal rights and are considered in par as an individual. As an individual, you are expected to be responsible for your work end to end. Let me try and explain this -As a trainer, I might need to launch my training if required, organize the logistics for the program and procure my own materials. While in India, these tasked are broken down basis your work experience, level and department you belong to. Additionally, the labor cost in Australia is exceptionally high hence people are expected to be responsible for their end to end project management. While in India, the labor cost is relatively cheaper.
5- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Can you tell us more about Blacktown City Council, what does it do? And what is the impact you see on people through your job description?
Bernita Joseph: Blacktown City Council is the local council responsible for the welfare of the Blacktown Community. Blacktown is home to more than 300,000 people and is a highly multicultural community.
Council plays a key role in providing and managing services such as library, leisure centers, tree management, road development and construction, waste management, pets and animals, kid’s early learning centers.
As an L&D officer at the Council, my role is to enable skill enhancement of those staffs that provide these services to the community. This would include trades and apprentices, engineers, accountants, teachers, librarians, etc. By providing the required learning and development opportunities to the staff, impacts the manner in which they conduct their job, leading to smooth and efficient customer service to the public.
6- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: From your point of view, and from what you have read and seen through many eyes, is L&D complementary to HR, or each is going in a contradicting direction?
Bernita Joseph: I believe that it’s essential for L&D and HR teams to complement each other. Both have an essential role in the development of the staff in the organization.
While HR would be responsible for the full lifecycle of the staff. L&D plays a role in ensuring that the staff have the required skills to address their current role which would enable their growth opportunity in the organization which in turn leads to the life cycle of the employee.
7- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: You worked as a Soft Skills trainer and facilitated, over 1000 hours of training on behavioral skills. Would you apply the same training differently if you had two groups; (a generation Y group & a generation X group)? Can you tell us more about that?
Bernita Joseph: There is no one way for Gen Y and another way for Gen X.
I think it totally depends on the organization you work in and the skill level of the staff. For example, at Blacktown City Council, we have a large section of the outdoor staff who do not have access to laptops, desktops or smart phones and deal with heavy vehicles, manual work load, etc. These staffs belong to the Gen X and Gen Y groups. However, their work requires a lot of physical activity which has Work, Health and Safety implications.
Safety trainings are best implemented when taught face to face. Demonstrating various situations and holding practical skill assessment. On the contrary, for indoor staff who are constantly in meetings or away from their desk and do not require physical skill related trainings, an online training would serve the purpose with a combination of on the job learning to implement the skills they learnt during the training.
Hence, I truly believe the training method strictly depends on the work environment your target audience is in irrespective of whether they are from Gen X or Gen Y.
8- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: As an L&D professional, how do you apply a TNA (training need analysis) on yourself? And how do you work on developing yourself after that?
Bernita Joseph: I’m personally quite critical about myself and prefer to receive feedbacks as and when I work on a project. This helps me understand if I need to reconsider my working style or if it’s a misunderstanding by the other individual.
I usually evaluate myself by speaking to those I have worked with to understand what I did well and what could have been better. I also reach out to my participants to see what I could do better from a training perspective. Basis the inputs received, I try to implement the most practical ones in my work to see if it helps in building a better impact.
9- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: With the blooming of AI (artificial intelligence), do you think the day will come when a face to face training will not be needed anymore?
Bernita Joseph: I agree that AI is taking over the world right now and a lot of learning initiatives are launched online and via e-learnings/virtual learning platforms.
But I am a strong believer of the 70-20-10 learning principle and feel that anyone is capable of understanding a concept or a principle through e-learnings and online sources. However, putting them into practice, learning them in reality would occur only when you are on the job, which is 70% of the learning.
10- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: If you were asked to recruit and interview an L&D specialist, what will be the skills your target in this person? How will you test them through an interview?
Bernita Joseph: I think the most important skill any L&D specialist needs to have is the ability to come across as being approachable.
Your participants need to feel they can look up to you and learn from you. One way of doing this is by ensuring they are comfortable and believe you are there to help them out. I would assess this by evaluating how comfortable they are during the interview discussion and also by evaluating how interested they are in understanding the role through the questions they ask. Also, an important aspect would be how comfortable would they make me feel during the interview process.
11– HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Bernita, from your profile it also shows that you have a passion towards volunteering work. You have volunteering in the Australian Red Cross, can you tell us about your experience there and how it left an impact on you?
Bernita Joseph: Coming from a different cultural background, I found it essential to do my best to interact with people in Australia to be able to understand the culture and mindset better. That opportunity came through Red Cross. I got the opportunity to volunteer at the Australian Red Cross retail store for a period of one month while looking out for jobs in South Australia. Through this I got my chance to interact with true Humans of Adelaide, Australia. I got to understand their language and the basic etiquette followed in Australia.
During my tenure at Red Cross, I also came to realize that people try to manage waste and give away useful products to those in need. Australian Red Cross store sells second hand clothes, books, stationaries, etc. at a minimal cost. There is a large section of the population who shop from Red Cross. I believe this is a great opportunity for the better section of the population to contribute to the community and thus ensuring everyone meets their basic needs.
12– HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Let us assume someone from the Australian Red Cross called you back, and they asked you to develop a learning & development plan for the members. What is the sequence you will take, and what would you suggest the training would be?
Bernita Joseph: At the Red Cross store, most of the staff are casual staff who volunteer as per their availability.
I’d noticed that people work in silos and less often communicated with other staffs. One of the development programs I would want to implement for the staff is, working in team and bonding with colleagues. For this I would first try to understand each staff member’s role and how each of their roles depend on the other’s role. Having understood this, I would then assign tasks to them to work with each other on a real time basis and have them identify what worked well and what didn’t work well for them. Post this, hold a discussion, where everyone shares their inputs and brain storms on how the challenges could be addressed and what would they do differently the next time they work together.
I think this exercise would help them understand the dynamics of working in teams and that working in team would help them achieve more than working in silos.
13- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: We have known from our “resources” that you LOVE watching Netflix’s series. Do you believe that some series can be considered as a kind of informal learning? What are your favorite series and what did you learn from each?
Bernita Joseph: Oh yes! I am a huge Netflix fan, I’d rather say I am a huge fan of bunch of series’ such as Suits, Game of Thrones, The Crown, How to Get Away with Murder, Stranger Things., Breaking Bad, etc., etc. To be honest I cannot pick one amongst many cause all of them are equally interesting.
However, Suits is an excellent example of Effective Communication Style, How to Get Away with Murder and The Crown is an effective example of Leadership, Stranger Things can best explain of Working in Teams, Game of Thrones is all about Project Management and Strategy building.
14- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Dancing is one of your great passions. You have learnt salsa, bachata, jive and belly dancing as well. How do you believe dancing can impact a person’s personality? And can it impact his/her learning ability as well?
Bernita Joseph: I strongly believe that every individual needs to identify their personal interest and potential apart from work. To me dance is my means of freeing myself from the regular world and entering a space where there is no room for judgment or evaluation.
Dance has only made me more confident as an individual whether it is to dance before a mirror or before hundreds of people. Learning to dance requires a lot of patience and continued persistence. Which is what one requires in any form of learning. This is what dancing has taught me and it is the same confidence I carry with myself when I address my stakeholders or facilitate a training for a set of audience.
15- HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: As HR Revolution we promote gender equality & feminism at work. As a woman, what drives you towards being more innovative & empowered at work?
Bernita Joseph: There is a lot of debate around gender equality and feminism today to the extent that people misuse these words and take it for granted. My drive has always been achieved from the team that I work with.
I believe you can achieve far more when you work in a team than working as an individual. In a team you can provide and acknowledge suggestions and allow one to try and test their opinion. There’s always room for making, accepting and learning from one’s errors. Backing your colleague irrespective of the gender is what drives me to being more involved, innovative and empowered at work.
– HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Dear Bernita, I sincerely thank you for this valuable and inspiring interview.
مقابلة صحفية مع إيناس عبدالقادر – مهندسة نسيج ومتحدثة في مؤتمر تيدكس وادمدني بالسودان
صحافة: محمود منسي
ثورة الموارد البشرية: إيناس لديك العديد من الخبرات في مجالات مختلفة، هل يمكن أن تعطينا نبذة عن نفسك وأعمالك؟
مهندسة نسيج حاصلة على درجة الماجستير في هندسة النسيج (إعادة تدوير مخلفات النسيج)، من جامعة الجزيرة بالسودان.. عملي مستقل كموظفة ذاتية في مجال التصميم والبحث العلمي.. بالإضافة إلى أنني أعمل في قسم التسويق في مصنع لأكياس القماش غير المنسوجة.. وقد أصبحت القضايا البيئية جزءًا من شغفي نتيجة لذلك قمت بتأسيس شركة ريتيكس التي تعمل في إعادة تدوير مخلفات الملابس، حيث أثر فيروس كوفيد على العالم كله.
و كانت نتيجة لتغيير جزء من خط الإنتاج لدينا إلى إنتاج أقنعة الوجه… وبالمزيد من التفكير في ريادة الأعمال كأداة يمكن أن تساعد الناس في تحسين حياتهم ، شاركت في تأسيس مبادرة
لمساعدة أصحاب (الأعمال الصغيرة).. حظيت بالتحدث على منصة تيدكس ودمدني في 2019.. أعتقد أن أي شخص في هذا العالم يمكن أن يوفر تأثيرًا اجتماعيًا أو بيئيًا وأنا أفعل ما بوسعي للمساعدة في نجاح المبادرات المذكورة أعلاه.
ثورة الموارد البشرية: كيف يؤثر عملك على المجتمع والبيئة؟
أنا اعمل في مجال إعادة التدوير لمخلفات المنسوجات والأقمشة، ولهذا المجال العديد من الآثار على البيئة والمجتمع حيث نعمل علي خلق فرص عمل جديدة وتحسين مستوى الاقتصاد المحلي. ونظراً لمشاركتي في عدد من برامج تنمية وتطوير المجتمع أهمها (برنامج القيادات الشابة من الأمم المتحدة وعدد من برامج ريادة الأعمال من المجلس الثقافي البريطاني)، فأنا الآن اعمل على نقل هذه الخبرات التي اكتسبتها من تلك البرامج إلي عدد كبير من الشباب والعمل على تطوير مهاراتهم ليكونوا جيلاً مهتماً بريادة الأعمال ومشاريع تنمية البلاد.
ثورة الموارد البشرية: من خلال خبرتك ومن منظورك الشخصي ما هي التحديات التي تواجه بيئة العمل بالسودان؟ ما هي مقترحاتك للتعامل مع تلك التحديات؟
إن من خلال تعاملي مع عدد من المؤسسات الحكومية والخاصة في السودان لاحظت أن معظم المشاكل التي تواجه هذه المؤسسات هي عدم الاختيار السليم للموظفين بمعنى عدم وجود الشخص المناسب في المكان المناسب، ويرجع ذلك إلى عدد من الأسباب أهمها الوساطة والمحسوبية وعدم وجود تعريفات محدده للوظائف، كما أن من التحديات التي تواجه مكان العمل عدم احترام الوقت في بعض الأحيان وعدم وجود توافق بين الموظفين في المكان الواحد.
يمكن التغلب على هذه التحديات بتوظيف الأشخاص حسب تخصصاتهم وخبراتهم في المجال المعين، وكذلك التوعية بالحفاظ على الوقت وزيادة الوعي بأهمية روح الفريق الواحد ونتائجها على العمل.
ثورة الموارد البشرية: كنتي من ضمن المتحدثات بمؤتمر تيدكس وادمدني بالسودان، ماذا كان محور موضوعك؟
في عام 2019 كنت أحد المتحدثات في مؤتمر تيدكس ودمدني، وقد كان أحد أهم أهدافي أن اصعد على مسرح تيدكس ودمدني وأشارك الجميع موضوعاً يعتبر من أهم المواضيع في السودان ولكن لا يتم التطرق إليه إلا وهو موضوع نفايات؛ الأقمشة والمنسوجات وأهمية إعادة تدويرها، تكمن أهمية هذا الموضوع في انه يؤثر بصورة مباشرة على الإنسان والمجتمع ككل والبيئة المحيطة.
وعندما يتم إعادة تدوير هذه المخلفات والاستفادة منها فإنها تنتج لنا بيئة نظيفة وصحية خالية من النفايات كما أن هذا المجال يوفر عدد كبير من فرص العمل للشباب، كما أن مثل هذه المشاريع تدعم الاقتصادي المحلي للدولة.
ثورة الموارد البشرية: ما هي النشاطات الأكثر شغفاً لكي؟
من أهم النشاطات التي أحب القيام بها هي مساعدة الآخرين في تطوير أنفسهم وتحفيزهم على ذلك سواء كان ذلك عن طريق المساعدة بالتدريب أو التوجيه والإرشاد أو التوعية أو حتى عن طريق منحهم الطاقة الإيجابية التي تمنحهم ثقة في أنفسهم.
ثورة الموارد البشرية: من وجهة نظرك الشخصية ما الذي يجعل منصة تيدكس مميزة؟
تيدكس من أهم المنصات العالمية التي يجب على الجميع أن يكونوا على دراية كاملة بها لما تقدمه من محتوى يفيد الجميع في حياتهم، خاصة أنها لا تنحصر في مجال معين بل إنها تشمل العلم والتكنولوجيا والإبداع والترفيه والكثير الكثير من المجالات التي تهم الناس وتجعل حياتهم أفضل، أنا أرى أن تيدكس هي منصة التعليم الإلكتروني الأولى في العالم.
ثورة الموارد البشرية: هل يمكن أن تقصي علينا تجربة أو موقف قد مررتي به وتعلمتي منه درساً في الحياة؟
في حياتنا اليومية نقابل عدد من الأشخاص ونخوض العديد من التجارب وبالنتيجة يؤثر كل ذلك علينا ويغير طباعنا وطريقة تفكيرنا وحكمنا على الأشياء والأشخاص، ومن أعظم التجارب التي مررت بها هي تجربة مشاركتي في مؤتمر تيدكس ودمدني حيث أنني كنت من الأشخاص الذين تنتابهم الرهبة والخوف من الجمهور ولكن وبعد الصعود على المسرح وبمرور أول دقائق شعرت بتقبل الجمهور لي واستماعهم لي بعناية كبيرة ومن بعد تلك التجربة أصبحت أكثر ثقة في نفسي وزادت مقدرتي على مواجهة الجمهور وبدأت بتدريب وتحفيز العديد من الأشخاص في عدد من المجالات وأهم ما انصح به دائماً أن يواجهه الإنسان مخاوفه ويتحدي نفسه وعندها سيندهش بالنتيجة.
ثورة الموارد البشرية: ربما مفهوم “القيادة” يختلف من عصر إلا آخر بل أحياناً يختلف من شخص إلى آخر، ما هو مفهومك الشخصي للقيادة؟
إن نجاح مفهوم القيادة في الوضع الحالي يتعلق بصورة مباشرة بطريقة تفكير الأشخاص، والطريقة التي يشعرون بها، وتصرفهم بطريقة مسؤولة. فهي أكثر من كونها كاريزما أو شيء يمكن تعلمه بثلاث خطوات سهلة أو من خلال أحد البرنامج. حيث تتطلب القيادة القوية التطوير باستمرار. وليس بالضرورة أن يتمتع الأشخاص الأذكياء بالحكمة. ولكن بإمكانهم أن يتعلموا كيفية إيجاد سبل للتعامل مع التجارب الصعبة من خلال معرفة أنفسهم. كما أن العصر الحالي يعتمد على التفكير خارج الصندوق وإيجاد الحلول الإبداعية لجميع المشكلات التي تواجه الشخص القائد أو فريق العمل لدية.
ثورة الموارد البشرية: هل يمكن أن نتناول أحد التحديات التي قد مررت بها خلال حياتك العملية؟
في بداية هذا العام كنا نعمل على إنشاء ورشة لتصنيع الملابس الجاهزة وإعادة تدوير مخلفات المنسوجات، ولكن ومع ظهور فيروس (Covid19) توقف هذا العمل نظراً لتوقف الأسواق عن العمل ولم نتمكن من شراء كافة الاحتياجات الأساسية لبدء المشروع.
لم نتوقف عن العمل بل بدأنا بتحويل فكرة المشروع وتأسيس مبادرة تهتم بتصنيع الكمامات عن طريق الخياطين الذين توقفت أعمالهم وبذلك خلقنا لهم فرص عمل جديدة ووفرنا للجميع أهم وسيلة للوقاية من فيروس (Covid19).
ثورة الموارد البشرية: من وجهة نظرك الشخصية ما هي التهديدات التي تواجة إقتصاد السودان؟ وما هي مقترحاتك الاستراتيجية لتجنب المخاطر؟
إن الوضع الحالي في السودان غير مستقر في معظم القطاعات خاصة القطاع الاقتصادي وهذا القطاع يؤثر على جميع طبقات المجتمع باختلافها ومن أهم الاقتراحات الإستراتيجية التي يجب أن تطبق على البلاد هي أن نعمل على إصلاح المجتمع السوداني نفسه من خلال تكثيف التوعية والاهتمام بالأفراد وتوفير سبل العيش الكريم لهم، كما يجب أن يراعي أن السودان يحتوي على اختلافات كبيرة جداً بين الناس وعادة ما لا يتقبل أحد رأي الآخر أو توحيد الجهود مع بعضهم البعض لذلك فإن عمليات التوعية للأفراد والمجتمعات تخلق جيلاً أفضل ويعمل على نهضة البلاد.
ومن ثم إعادة النظر في السياسات الدولية للسودان وتحسين العلاقات الخارجية للبلاد، ومن أهم هذه الاقتراحات هي أن يُمحي أسم السودان من قائمة الدول الراعية للإرهاب.
ثورة الموارد البشرية: ما هي نصيحتك لمن يبغى التحدث بموؤتمر تيدكس؟
أنا أحب دائماً تشجيع أصدقائي أن يتابعوا كل الفيديوهات التي تطرح في منصة تيدكس، كما أشجعهم أن يكونوا حضورا لعدد من المؤتمرات وأحداث تيدكس في السودان خاصة تيدكس ودمدني، وبالفعل شجعت صديقتي حتى كانت أحد المتحدثين في المؤتمر السابق والآن أساعد ثلاثة من أصدقائي أن يكونوا متحدثين في المؤتمر القادم.
Qisaty Project & Developing Talent in Children with Special Needs in Egypt
Edited By: Mahmoud Mansi
Qisaty Project – founded by Mona Lamloum – was launched on 26th December 2019 to support children talents through a series of storytelling, writing and drawing workshops.
The total number of children who participated in the storytelling workshop is 60 including the most talented 20 who were selected to the story writing sessions, 16 children ranging from 6 to 14 years old got their stories selected to be drawn by 19 children with special needs.
The drawing workshops were held in 3 cities in Egypt with cooperation with 2 special needs associations; Nida Society Rehabilitation with both branches in Cairo and Luxor. 14 children, and Ashab El-Erada Association in Alexandria. 5 children.
The children have different disabilities, hearing loss, partial blindness, movement disability, learning difficulty disability, mental disability and increased electricity in the brain.
Of course such an interesting project needs proper preparation and an intellectual plan. Mona Lamloum shared some of the challenges that she and her team have faced during the project:
1-The global pandemic and the sudden lockdown.
2- The fact that most of the children with special needs suffer from many chronic diseases which lowers their immunity, in addition to the huge responsibility that lies on the team while holding the workshop during the pandemic.
3-The fear of the parents of the children with special needs participation at the drawing workshops due to the pandemic and the lack of their immunity. Which was managed to concur with the help of the project partners in drawing workshops.
Eventually, Qisaty Project was held at exceptional circumstances and according to deadlines set up before the global Corona pandemic. However, the team did their best to get the project done within the lockdown with a quality that is aspired from the beginning, and that was done simply by teamwork, sharing a unified vision, and collaborating to find new solutions.
The result is 16 short stories in addition to 64 drawings by hands of talented children with special needs and with variable disabilities from three cities: Cairo, Alexandria and Luxor. Each drawing tells a different scene from a short story inspired from the children themselves to be published as a grand book that gathers the short stories and the drawings of all the talented young participants.
– Amideast: Hosted the story telling, story writing workshops and the day that gathered the writers and children with special needs mixed day.
– Nahdet Misr Publishing House.
– Marj3 Platform
– HR Revolution Middle East
– Arablit Quarterly
Children with special needs Associations:
– Nida Society Rehabilitation with both branches in Cairo and Luxor.
– Ashab El-Erada Association in Alexandria.
– Hanan El-Taher.
– Mona Lamloum.
– Zeinab Mobark.
Designing Storytelling and writing workshop:
– Mona Lamloum
– Yaqoub El-Sharouni
– Under the supervision of Shoikar Khalifa,
– With the help of respectful team at Nida Association at Cairo and Luxor.
– Ashab El-Erada Association at Alexandria by Sahar Zaiton with the help of Aliaa Abd-Elsalam.
– Rawan Said
– Ahmed Ismail
Q&A with Sherihan Elkamash; Researcher at the Center of Strategic Studies, Bibliotheca Alexandrina & Charity Activist
Interviewer: Mahmoud Mansi
“I am always trying to not lead members, but inspire them and gain their trust by encouraging my team to work on new projects. I help them make their work plan, and I provide them with some guidance and coaching to finally have a successful deliverable to help impact more people in the community.”Sherihan Elkamash
HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Sherihan you are multi-talented and active in building the community in several different ways, one of your main roles is working at the Center of Strategic Studies at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, can you tell us more about your role?
My main work is about making strategic researches. I also, write articles about the recent international political events. One of the main roles for me is to organize virtual discussions to discuss different economic and political subjects. I am always in contact with high profile degenerates in the political arena to make interviews with them to be published. I am also the social media specialist for the center, responsible for managing the official page by managing and posting the news, declare about the new events and conferences for the center.
HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: Across your career you have worked in different careers and gained different experiences. Can you tell us what did you learn from these experiences? And how those skills are helping you at your current role?
I have been working in many fields since a young age I have acquired professional experience in many fields for the past fourteen years; working in NGOs, media, research, translation and communications. These experiences taught me to navigate in different kinds of structures (public/private/international), as well as dealing with the internal dynamics of each organization. In my previous roles, I have demonstrated exceptional ability to manage external stakeholders including senior government officials, high-profile clients, and well-regarded organizations. As a trilingual officer, I can communicate effectively in Arabic, English and French.
Working in all those fields taught me how to work in full power with a great performance, deliver my work in a high quality and always being in time and following the timetable.
HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: You also have your own charity project “El Rahmoun”. Can you tells us more about managing people in a charity structured projects?
Let me first talk about myself when I was a regular member in NGO’s and volunteer projects. I starting volunteering since I was a 13-year-old school student. During those 21 years in charity, I’ve learned many things:
-I learned how to take the initiative to start new projects to help the maximum number of people in need.
-I learned more about contributing to the community and helping solve issues.
-I learned how to deal with all categories in my society, understanding their needs and being helpful to them.
-It is not only about leadership, but I have also been a great “team member”, by coming up with new ideas, working with enthusiasm and integrity.
As a founder or a leader for “El Rahmoun” charity group – like any business structure or project – it depends on the number of volunteers whether they are many or few, based on that we put a strong administration and operations management plan.
I am always trying to not lead “El Rahmoun” members, but inspire them and gain their trust by encouraging my team to work on new projects. I help them make their work plan, and I provide them with some guidance and coaching to finally have a successful deliverable to help impact more people in the community.
There is an interesting difference between a traditional corporate structure and a charity structure. In charity the individual is the one who deicides his/her responsibilities and commitment to the charity work. I cannot obligate them to attend the events or to do their tasks. Which means that I have to be their friend so they love me and maintain a good communication with the youth, meanwhile at the same time I have to be their leader when it comes to the big decisions. And this is the most difficult part. I think after 3 years of continuous work, while our volunteering community is getting bigger… my team and I are doing it well.
HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: How do you define success your own way? And what would be your success tips for youth?
I have learned the perfect strategy to achieve success, it is balance. We all have the desire towards success but those who are working and planning for it are the ones who are reaching their goals in a steady way. We all grew up with big dreams, seeking success in life, but few of us who understood that sustaining the success is the hard part. Balance is the key, youth need to know the importance of balance in their life between their studies, hard work, community service and social life. Youth need to make balance between physical, emotional and spiritual elements, to keep the high performance in everything they do. When we maintain our balance it shortly affects our sense of security and helps us to move forward. The balance in all activities in our days helps us maintain our mental health in order to have healthy minds and lifestyles. Stress is a serious threat to Youth and one should make it a priority to keep the stress away because stress prevents success.
Balance = Success
HR Revolution Middle East Magazine: With the development of technology, virtual communication and accessibility to knowledge, do you believe that some jobs are in threat? Can some careers take another form, offer different services and still impact the community?
The whole world is turning digital. The easy access to knowledge and data is the way of living now. Well, the development of technology can never be a threat. It actually helps us and is not a threat to our existence nor to anything created or made by the human being. NEW careers have been created and much more are on their way to glow and have place due to the virtual life. Furthermore, thousands of activities and services are provided through the internet now (website- social media) which also supports entrepreneurs and organizations to easily create new projects.
The Egyptian Government is taking the same track now in most of its governmental institutions. The pandemic helped a lot. It was a red light to hurry and accelerate our path, not only organizations that are turning digital but also individuals are becoming more focused on e-learning and other daily life services and in their lifestyles. I am very optimistic; because of the development of technology, new jobs are opening and great opportunities for youth which is very advantageous, beneficious and profitable to the growth of our great Nation EGYPT and to the rest of the world.
Thank you Sherihan for this interview and for developing and inspiring the community in such a unique way!
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