And I say that life is indeed darkness save when there is urge,
And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge.
And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,
And all work is empty save when there is love;Gibran Khalil Gibran, from “The Prophet”
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Podcast Abeer: Volunteering Talent
Abeer Al Mujaini is the founder and leader of Psychology of Youth, a website and information platform in Arabic language to promote mental health in Oman. Abeer grew up in Europe and Oman. She studied psychology in Scotland and then returned to Oman for work. She found herself in a difficult situation professionally since psychology was still not well known as a science. Consequently, there were only a few professionals in Oman where she could learn and grow. She was lucky and after one year of voluntary work, Abeer found a job as a child psychologist at the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital where she diagnoses especially children with autism and experiences of abuse. Because of the small number of psychologists in Oman, Abeer felt the need to start building a network and working on professional standards for psychology. Together with a team of now 40, she built a volunteering organisation with the goal of forming a professional association for psychologists in Oman. Besides all her work, she did her Master’s degree and aspires to do a Doctoral program in the future.
Some publications about the volunteering organisation Mental Health – Youth in English: Times of Oman Oman Observer
49% of the Omani population are under the age of 18, similar to other Arab countries. More and more, research acknowledges this fact and tries to find out about the mental health status of this growing and maturing part of the Muslim population.
Abeer’s outstanding Competencies
Deep thinking and taking on different perspectives
Abeer likes thinking into things. She does not only think through certain topics but even goes beyond that. Abeer has the ability to connect topics with philosophical and religious ideas. One example she gave me was the way how she thinks about volunteering work. For her, helping others is not enough. Instead, she demands doing good but also in a sustainable way so that people pray for you afterwards. Most importantly, whatever one does should continue to give – like a well. Everything Abeer does, she measures against her principles. This puts the ladder high up for her own and other’s achievements. Abeer has clearly challenged herself understanding the Quran in a deeper way and she seeks to apply the prophet’s life lessons to her own. Nothing she does, comes across superficially.
Hard-working and motivated champion
Abeer is a hard worker and she has the stamina to succeed with very challenging projects. One aspect is her ambition not just to achieve the ordinary but something more like for example building a website for the volunteering organisation without any experience in the team and without asking for funding. She and her team succeeded and finished the website after only one year. Abeer champions for everything where she feels the need and she does that because she knows she can do it. At first, she did not seek the role as a leader but found herself soon in a leadership position. Now, she knows about her capacities. However, Abeer is aware that she still needs to learn and that the team is vital for success. She learned how to individualise her leadership depending on the needs and motivating factors of each team member. Abeer takes the time to find out each one’s ambitions and to engage them accordingly.
Abeer says about herself that she has too many ideas. As soon as she gets involved into a topic, her mind starts spinning and constantly seeking for connections and improvements. Sometimes, these ideas are overwhelming for others but in the right environment, she can flourish together with her forward thinking ideas. Abeer’s aim is to overcome the stigma of mental health in Oman. She proposes psychology and science for the traditional Omani society to become aware and deal with nowadays challenges for children and youth. Abeer found that the need was not only to support and provide preventative measures for the youth but also to give guidance for parents who are seeking help and maybe do not understand what they can do and what is happening to their child. Abeer knew that waiting for the government would take too much time, so she took action together with her colleagues. They are proofing the importance of their activities and the positive effects for the society and the government .
Find out more about Oman at the time of the interview in February 2020.