We concluded our last of the year, and we’d like for you to meet our graduates, again!
Before we jump right in, we’d like to give a special shoutout to the mentors of the session, who’s input truly enriched the session for both the graduates and ourselves.
Reem Khalil – Regional Director at Drosos Foundation
Yousef El-Hallaq – Startup Acceleration Program Coordinator at Gaza Sky Geeks
Dima Sorri – Founder and CEO at Explore Agora
Ameen Riyad – Jusoor
Jusoor’s story began with challenges Ameen personally faced when he was in school. These include the lack of practical and interactive learning (especially during this COVID-19 moment), the lack of resources available, and the high cost of materials needed to conduct science experiments. The solution? Jusoor – a multilingual interactive learning platform which offers games that simulate theoretical curricula. Jusoor is currently being prototyped in a few schools in the Jenin area, and is so far showing very favorable results. Teachers and students have already noticed improvements in performance in relation to students who haven’t used the tool.
Jusoor was selected as one of the top 5 MENA projects by AlSalam Organization, they’ve also won in the Al Sam First Accelerator in Dubai and participated in the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival 2019 and we were nominated by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to represent Palestine in the Sheikh Salem Al Ali Award 2020. The Jusoor team hopes to expand regionally and globally. They currently have 23 local partners, 9 regional partners, and 3 global partners. Onto the world!
To connect with Ameen: [email protected]om
Mohammad Olwan – Seraj Learning for the Deaf
Mohammad Olwan is a journalist and content creator who in 2010, gave a film making workshop to a group deaf and hard of hearing people. His attachment to hard of hearing people was what inspired Seraj – an online interactive platform which curates and tailors courses and resources for deaf individuals.
There is an evident lack of resources and educational materials available Palestine, and the Arab world at large. This affects deaf people’s ability to pursue higher education, and later be able to acquire employment. Eseraj team is developing their courses, and aim to have 12 courses ready by February 2021, and 18 by June 2021. With Eseraj, Mohammad hopes to reach the 70 million deaf people in the Arab world, to provide them with the much needed resource.
If you have any opportunities for Mohammad, or to get in touch, contact [email protected]
Nada Nassar – Stera
Nada Nassar has been running Stera with her mother since 2014 from their home in Gaza. Stera is a sustainable fashion brand which uses existing materials to design and produce affordable clothing for the Gazan population. The business is sustainable and eco-friendly, as Nada solely uses available (and often neglected) resources in Gaza which protects the environment from pollution, and prevents water wastage.
The home-based shop also caters to the community’s purchasing power and limited income, most items range between $25 and $30. Since 2014, they’ve produced and sold over 3000 items. Nada hopes to be able to expand production beyond Gaza, well into Palestine, and the Arab world at large – further establishing her brand and providing job opportunities.
To get in touch with Nada, contact [email protected]
Abeer Alhams – Afkar Art Interactive Books
Abeer started Afkar Art Interactive Books project as a hobby in 2014 when she created a quiet book for son using felt fabric. She had wanted to offer him a learning tool which can keep him motivated in the process. By the end of 2014, Abeer was able to gain preliminal funding for her project, and demand for the product began to increase. She reached out to other mothers and schools to pitch Afkar Art Interactive Books.
Abeer began to officially produce books in 2017, and makes custom made books that are made to order, and eco-friendly. Since then, she’s expanded her efforts to give workshops, participate in exhibits. Abeer currently partners with mothers, special ed teachers, as well as a few schools in Gaza. Abeer aspires to establish her own organization in 2021 to train others to write and create interactive learning books with a focus on special education.
To get in touch, email [email protected]
Ibrahim Al-Tala – “Where is My Future”
Where is My Future? is a platform dedicated to helping high school students choose specializations in their college/university journeys. According to Ibrahim, many students struggle with choosing majors, and/or end up in more traditional specializations without taking into account what’s best for them. Ibrahim wants to leave his mark on society, and believes this is the best way to do that. Where is My Future is still in early stages of development, and Ibrahim is prototyping and validating the platform, and searching for team members. Ibrahim plans to launch the platform in February 2021!
If you have an opportunity for Ibrahim, feel free to reach out via [email protected]
Maali Diab – Muffaker
It’s no secret that interactive learning supports imagination. Maali shared that humans are born with 98% ability to imagine. Once a kid goes to preschool, that percentage decreases to 8%, and to 2% in school. I know, we were just as surprised to learn this fact…
From this fact, and inspired by her own children, Maali sought out to develop and create interactive learning tools to help teachers and school children boost imagination. She assembled a team, and Muffaker was born. And after four years of extensive research, Maali and her team deducted three things: teachers do not utilize interactive learning tools, available products and tools were very simple and haphazard, and that special education students were largely marginalized. To tackle this, and in the four years of research, the Muffaker team developed over 400 interactive learning concepts, and employed those into different learning tools. Maali and her team currently plan to train over 1000 teachers, and apply their work to 1500 students.
There are currently 120 Muffaker products in the market, and the hope is to create 120 more in the coming year.
Halima Abdelazzez – Hope Maker
In 2002, Halima’s mother struggled with, and beat cancer. Due to chemotherapy, and like many other patients, she lost her hair. This, in addition to the strain of therapy, had caused her mom to lose her spirit and confidence. 10 years later, and inspired by her mother’s journey, Halima started Hope Maker- an initiative to create wigs for chemo patients, by former patients, at affordable prices. Halima and her team aim to cater to the 3,000 cancer patients in Gaza at the moment, and continue to inspire every day.
Get in touch here: [email protected]
Akram Tammous – Solid Waste Management
Did you know that the Gaza Strip produces over 2000 tons of solid waste daily, 700 tons of which are from Gaza city? Did you also know that 90% of those are not being reused or recycled? To address this economic and environmental problem, Akram Tammous started a solid waste management project in February 2020. The project team plans to buy solid waste from people at the end of every month. The larger hope of the project is to help change people’s culture and behavior towards waste. Since the projects onset in February, the team has been able to manage 80 tons of waste, and aspire to manage 8% of total waste in Gaza by December.
Get in touch with Akram: [email protected]
Hanan Almurqaten – Palestine in a Box
Palestine in a Box is your online portal to everything Palestine! If you’re shopping for a gift (or simply treating yourself), you’ll sure find a lovely item from home to purchase. Hanan started Palestine in a box to help promote Palestinian artistry, and to provide artisans with a platform to sell their products. With Palestine in a Box, Hanan also helps celebrate and preserve Palestinian culture and heritage, especially during a time when even our culture is compromised. Through their website, you can also read about the artisans behind the beautiful items displayed, so you can know exactly who you’re supporting!
Co-written by Nisreen Zahran – a volunteer and intern at BuildPalestine. Before joining BuildPalestine, she was involved with various Palestinian institutions such the Popular Arts Centre, the Ramallah Municipality, and Al-Kamandjati. Nisreen currently holds an IB Diploma from EMIS, and is working on her applications to universities abroad.