Based in Jerusalem, Etaf Joulany struggled to find work that would allow her to tap into her creative side while having an impact on families struggling to cope with the stress of daily life. While her degree in architecture allowed for a degree of creativity, it was not enough for Etaf, who was determined to bring her passion for creative arts to her local community.
It was at this juncture that Etaf realized that her calling was art therapy. Not only would this allow her to introduce many stressed-out families to the healing power of the arts but also serve as the catalyst for Etaf’s newfound career choice as a professional trainer specializing in creative therapy. However, acquiring the resources, skills, and networks to turn this newfound passion into a viable business was no easy feat.
During this time, Etaf learned about MENACatalyst’s newly launched GIZ supported program based in Jerusalem, Empowering Youth Through Digital Skills Development. The program is currently helping aspiring self-starters gain the business know-how, digital skills, and access networks of support via mentorship groups to guide participants through the journey of launching a viable business. A distinguishing feature of the program is the focus on empowering participants with the power of digital solutions to help them virtually improve their outreach, which has become needed now more than ever amidst the ongoing effects of COVID-19
“MENACatalyst gave me a chance to believe in myself and the chance to develop my professional skills and business project through a series of courses, workshops, and mentorship with experts so that I have a chance to have an impact and change lives.”
Etaf quickly joined the program and is now part of an impressive group of self-starters growing their business ideas into viable digital-based ventures that will help them achieve self-employment while having an impact on local markets and, most importantly, communities.
Etaf has begun to build a working concept behind a training program that will help families, children, and adults, recover and heal from their stress and trauma. To do this, Etaf is setting in-person and virtual training and workshops on an individual and group basis. The purpose is to help people of all ages learn how to use artistic tools to better achieve a more grounded sense of self-awareness and help participants learn how to express themselves through the transformative power of storytelling, art, and play.
The next steps for Etaf include officially opening her very own creative therapy center, which will not only focus on in-person sessions but incorporate virtual meetups, courses, and training to people all over Palestine. Etaf is also working diligently to create digital content for her virtual platform and aims to reach at least one million followers within the next three years.
When asked what advice she would give to other aspiring women self-starters, Etaf had this to say, “You are the manifestation of hope and perseverance, never stop being yourself and never stop creating hope for others.”
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