Grow Where You Are

21-year-old Esraa wins an online learning opportunity in an initiative aligned with GenU

Dalia Younis
21-year-old Esraa wins an online learning opportunity in an initiative aligned with GenU
UNICEF/Egypt 2021/Dalia Younis
18 August 2021

While scrolling her timeline during the lockdown, Esraa stumbled into an online post that turned out to be a great opportunity for her career.

The 21 years old who lives in a village in Sinoures Directorate, Al Fayoum in Upper Egypt is currently a student at the Faculty of Special Education, Fayoum University. With no access to school, she had an interesting opportunity to have access to an online training course in a field she’s highly interested in: Graphic design. 

This opportunity was brought to her by one of the newly-planned initiatives in response to COVID-19 pandemic aligned to GenU called #Meshwary_Ekbar_Makanak Initiative which comes as part of Meshwary project remote/online learning modalities. 

"Meshwary" (translated as “My Journey”) is a project supported by UNICEF in cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and funded by the Embassy of the Netherlands, the Swiss Embassy, and USAID. It aims to train adolescents and youth to become more economically and socially empowered. 

“Ekbar Makanak” (translated as "Grow Where You Are") was designed to be a full-fledged social media initiative that includes interactive virtual activities/videos as well as resources for youth viewers to learn more on 20 topics related to their skills development and career prospects while staying at home.    

21-year-old Esraa wins an online learning opportunity in an initiative aligned with GenU
UNICEF/Egypt 2021/Dalia Younis
“Most of the graphic designers I see in my village are men,” Esraa says, “there are some girls, but with very limited career choices as our families wouldn’t easily approve staying away from the village for work.”

The topics were picked to help youth realize the opportunities they have to make a living from home and make use of the lockdown time to get acquainted or broaden their knowledge on topics such as decision making, creativity, graphic design, coding, social media marketing, etc.  

Esraa began by watching a video presented by a young female expert in graphic design. For her, it was very inspiring to see a female role model in the field whom she previously thought was male exclusive. “Most of the graphic designers I see in my village are men,” Esraa says, “there are some girls, but with very limited career choices as our families wouldn’t easily approve staying away from the village for work.” 

Now that she had the chance to enhance her skills in graphic design while staying at home, Esraa was very eager to join the competition.  

Competitors were expected to fill out a test, share the post and tag as many friends as they can in the post. Among 48 participants, Esraa was selected as the winner as all her answers were correct. “I didn’t only pass the test with a 100% score, I also tagged no less than 55 of my friends to let them know about the opportunity!” she says. 

The prize was an online certified Arabic-speaking graphic design course of 29 lectures. By the time UNICEF interviewed Esraa, she had already started taking the course and applying some of the concepts she was learning.