Today 10 years ago I queued up at the Utrecht Chamber of Commerce to register Faraasha and start my work as an independent advisor & trainer. A little while after that, I quit a well-paid and secure job so I’d be able to fully dedicate myself to developing my business. The financial crisis was in full swing. Most around me said I was crazy to take the leap.
Choosing to follow my heart & dream over my mind’s objections and fears was one of the scariest, bravest and best decisions I’ve ever made; and life-changing to boot.
It allowed me to work together with students, diplomats, academics, the military, NGOs, the UN, think tanks, artists and fellow entrepreneurs, and develop myself into so many different ways and directions.
It would lead me into my PhD path and subsequently guide me towards my current book deal.
It took me to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, USA, UK and many more countries.
It allowed me to engage with a super diverse array of projects such as co-developing a theatre performance on Syria at the Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten; advising on a project for photo journalists from the Middle East for World Press Photo; delivering trainings on gender awareness in military and diplomatic contexts for WO=MEN, the ministry of Defence, NATO and Clingendael; preparing expats who got sent out to the Gulf for Mammoet; advising on projects on women’s political participation in the MENA region for Hivos; rolling out diplomatic negotiations simulations on the Arab-Israel conflict and the Iranian nuclear deal for universities and think tanks / Pax Ludens; and guiding a group of young women from Gaza visiting the Netherlands for UNRWA and Cordaid. And so much more..
The cherry on Faraasha’s birthday cake today is my current book project on Saudi women’s lives – writing will always be one of my greatest loves.
Faraasha means “butterfly” in Arabic and symbolises the colourful cross-pollination and transformation that drives me in all my work.