Speaking on World Youth Skills Day, Sheikha Aisha Khalid Al Qasimi, Director of Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah said: “This day calls for increased prospects for young people to gain access to quality training and skills development globally and through Sajaya, 4,000 female members have so far benefited from women’s empowerment programmes since its establishment in 2012.
Highlighting Sajaya’s achievements in developing the personalities of its members and sharpening their talents, Sheikha Aisha said: “Throughout the year, Sajaya organises many camps, workshops and domestic and foreign trips dealing with artistic, sporting and cultural aspects to empower the girls with daily life skills. Among these are workshops on self-development and life skills, among other seasonal programmes to engage them in field training. Sajaya also organises annual programmes such as the one-week Afaaq Leadership Camp, which is designed to equip our members with diverse leadership skills.”
She added: “We also organise international trips and tours that allow our young ladies to travel, exchange expertise and expand their knowledge. Sajaya gives the opportunity for its members to live real experiences and share them with others. These international tours have included a voluntary trip to Indonesia, a visit to Switzerland where they learned etiquette and a journey to Venice Biennale in Italy. They also travelled to Japan, and engaged in an adventure trip to Morocco where they summited Tokubal Mountain – the highest peak in Maghreb and the Atlas Mountain Range.
Referring to work standards at Sajaya, Sheikha Aisha Al Qasimi said: “We always aspire to adopt the best global standards and practices, which is illustrated in our participation in a significant number of local and international events, including Sharjah Children’s Biennial, Summer Camp and Fatima bint Mubarak Motherhood and Childhood Forum in Abu Dhabi.”
She added that Sajaya members were honoured at NYU Abu Dhabi’s Young Filmmakers Competition in 2017 and obtained certificates in various specialised programmes.
Sheikha Aisha underscored the importance of programmes and trips that help Sajaya take stock of the best international practices in youth empowerment and the continuous upgrading of services to allow young members to gain experience. This, she said, falls perfectly in line with the vision of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Rubu’ Qarn Foundation for Creating Future Leaders and Innovators, to prepare generations of Emirati female leaders who are able to meet the challenges of the future.
In its pursuit of adopting those best practices, the Sajaya team has visited several overseas institutions and projects that share the same goals, including the ‘Youth City 2030’ in Bahrain, the Play Town Project Mini Munich in Germany, the United Nations Conference on Youth in New York, and a number of youth organisations in the United Kingdom.
The goals of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohamed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member Ruler of Sharjah and Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi to nurture a generation of leaders is clearly reflected in Sajaya’s strategic plan, which has embraced 4,000 young members since its inception in 2012.
New identity and strategy
In 2014, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi approved the new corporate identity of Sajaya with a view to keeping up with the zeitgeist and Emirati national identity, and focusing its efforts on building a distinctive and creative generation of Emirati women equipped with historical, cultural and social knowledge.
Three years later, Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi established the Rubu’ Qarn Foundation for Creating Leaders and Innovators, which has four entities under its umbrella. The move aimed to achieve the country’s overall vision for building exceptional leaders and innovators, ensure the integration and partnership of the four entities and strengthen Sharjah’s position as a Child-Friendly City. In doing so, Sajaya has recently expanded the scope of target nationalities to participate in its programmes.
Sharjah Radio presenter and media figure Amal Al Muaini said: “I joined Sajaya when I was six years old. This has had the greatest impact in shaping my personality and helped me to become a tactful and more engaging speaker who is not afraid of challenges and knows no such word as impossible."
Al Muaini added: “Being a member of Sajaya had a big role in developing my skills and turning my dream of becoming a presenter into reality.”
Sara Al Mazimi, a computer science student at the American University, said: “My membership of Sajaya has helped me to acquire leadership qualities with confidence and encouraged me to develop the art of speaking in front of large audiences including a TEDx platform for young people.”
Sara, who created an innovative mobile app to help people find parking for their vehicles in crowded shopping malls, added: “My membership of Sajaya has also aided me on my journey to become a jury member at the Sharjah International Children’s Film Festival, an honour that I will never forget.”
Hind Al Juaidi, an entrepreneur, said: “To me, Sajaya was the beginning in my path to success. Through innovative workshops and programmes, I have benefited from everything I learned at Sajaya in terms of my personal and professional life thanks to Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi and Sheikha Aisha Khalid Al Qasimi, who have had a significant role in encouraging us to overcome any barriers face any challenges that stand in our way.”