Since returning home, Dima Alardah has added to her empowering work by joining the Norwegian Refugee Council to provide sports programs to Syrian refugees living in camps throughout Jordan. At one point in her life, she dreamed of becoming an Olympic badminton champion. Years after retiring from competition, Dima now dreams of restoring hope to women and girls all across the Arab world.
What is a strong woman? In December 2015, a team of American women, including the directors of the Center for Sport, Peace, & Society and former U.S. Women’s National Team soccer players Mary Harvey and Lori Lindsey, traveled to Egypt and Jordan to find out the answer. Over the course of two weeks, they visited six alumnae from the U.S. Department of State and espnW’’s Global Sports Mentoring Program to experience their work first hand. These inspiring changemakers — Dina Ibrahim, Hayam Essam, Yasmin Helal, Caroline Maher in Egypt and Dima Alardah and Batoul Arnaout in Jordan — have won medals, launched NGOs, empowered communities, and even brought sport to Syrian women and girls in refugee camps. They are strong women empowering a new generation of girls and women in the Middle East. Learn more about the Global Sports Mentoring Program: http://globalsportswomen.org
Years ago, Yasmin Helal was thriving in Cairo. With a successful career as an engineer and a storied history on Egypt’s national basketball team, she would’ve never expected to leave that all behind to start an education initiative in one of the city’s most under-resourced neighborhoods. As the founder of Educate Me, she is now impacting the lives of more than 400 students through holistic education, including sports and life skills training. This is her story. Edited by David Thompson.
A former national team basketball player, Hayam Essam always found strength and courage on the court. Since returning from the U.S. Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program in 2013, she has dedicated her life to using basketball to change the lives of girls in one of Cairo’s most underserved communities.
After an injury forced her away from contact sports, Batoul rediscovered herself on the bicycle. Often the only female rider on the streets, Batoul dedicated herself to creating a path for other girls and women to follow. After participating in the U.S. Department of State and espnW Global Sports Mentoring Program, she returned to Jordan to create these opportunities through BOOST (“Better Options and Opportunities for Sports Today), the initiative she founded to bring hope to the underserved in Jordan.