Big Dreams Start Within: The Story of Ayat
Ayat Amr comes from humble roots. Her parents were raised in UNRWA’s Husn Camp for Palestinian Refugees. It is perhaps this past that has developed in her a great empathy for the suffering of others.
Ayat has always been an avid volunteer and found herself helping out at Mar Mansour Orphanage a few years ago. During her time there, she created a “dream box” and encouraged the children to write down their dreams and slide them inside. The first time she read the “dreams” – things like “I dream of getting a headband” – she was heartbroken. Ayat knew then that she had to do something so these children can dream bigger. Through her involvement at the orphanage, Ayat has now touched the lives of 500 children.
Dreaming big has always been Ayat’s way. When Ayat was in seventh grade, her father Mohammad took her to visit the National Education Center for Robotics in Jordan, a place where people created and designed smart robots. She was captivated by everything she saw. Ayat immediately started raising funds so she could enter the robot competition the following year. It was going to cost her $1,700 and her family could not afford that much. It took Ayat two years to save money. She entered the competition, won the programming award and confirmed her interest in Engineering and Robotics. She is currently finishing up her undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering at the Hashemite University and has plans to work towards a Master’s program in International Relations.
Just like any other strong woman living in the Middle East, Ayat has encountered many obstacles along her path. At 19, when she was awarded a life-changing internship at Microsoft in Germany and the United States, her Dad was anxious about her travelling and living alone, away from her family in Jordan. He decided to tag along. He was impressed to see her “in action” – an autonomous and strong young woman. He trusted her more and began to challenge those warning him against “giving his daughter freedom”. Ayat could fly as high as she wanted.
Ayat caught the attention of UNESCO. In February 2017, the UNESCO Amman office supported her activism by nominating her to represent Jordan at the Youth General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The event revolved around the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Ayat travelled alone to the event.
Ayat was selected Youth Ambassador for Jordan at the 14th Annual International Human Rights Summit in New York (August 24-28th), with sponsorship from the UNESCO Amman office. The theme was improving awareness of human rights. Ayat’s intervention focused on the right to education. It was a great opportunity for Ayat to voice out the concerns of many back home and meet other influencers from around the world.
Ayat’s story is one of triumph and optimism.
“You have to create opportunities for yourself and work for change in your own community first,” she says.
Ayat believes that constructive progress starts from each individual. She continues to teach students in schools and reach out to those in need. She acts for change, and this is why she has been involved in NET-MED Youth activities.
“I hope my experience as a young woman will inspire other girls as I work towards fulfilling my duty as a global citizen. I want to represent youth and discuss openly the challenges we face. Our role in society goes far beyond academic involvement. When we are committed to serving our community and giving back, we can all contribute to making this world a better place,” says Ayat.
Activities building skills among youth organizations and young journalists; to enhance youth representation in media and promote freedom of expression, media and information literacy and youth-generated media content.
Activities joining youth organizations, employment experts and different national stakeholders to engage in dialogue and work together on unemployment solutions and skills needs.
Activities empowering youth to participate in the communal and national development, revision and implementation of national youth strategies and public policies.