Shereen Ghazzawi tries to overcome the challenges of the new society – helps womens to integrate into society
Shereen Ghazzawi came to Sweden with her husband and two children in 2016. She used to live in the UAE before moving to Sweden. Shereen is an accounting graduate with a diploma in photography, but she was not lucky to find a job in her field. But she did not succumb to the challenges of the new country and remains at home, waiting for the opportunity to come. Instead, she has actively participated in society through the activities she organizes for women, in order to motivate them to go out and engage in society and to overcome the difficulties they face in the new society. She co-founded the Arabys Aktiva Familjer association with other women. In addition, she organizes many activities in cooperation with Sensus and Studiefrämjandet. Shereen also held an exhibition of photographs reflecting the beauty of nature in Sweden in Växjö Library during a Sensus activity and won the award for Best Exhibition.
How do you overcome the challenge of the new country?
I had no fear of facing life in a new homeland. Because I am a social person and I like to learn about different cultures. Difference is not a problem for me. The real challenge in the new country is not the difference in culture, but the language was the challenge, which I am still working on developing.
Shereen began participating in church activities when she was living in Lammhult, where she created a small group of women to meet regularly and organize recreational activities for the children.
- When I moved to Växjö, I went to the Nallen in Araby Familjecenters with my children, and there was a section for children over five years old, and there I got to know many people and from there it was the beginning. I met a woman named Adela who was my inspiration, as she opened the door for me to get to know the community and participate in activities. Adela and I founded the Arabys Aktiva Familjer association with a group of women from different cultures. After that, I started a training course to teach belly dance for women through the association'. Since then I have started to know what Studiefrämjandet means, what does Araby park arena mean and what is Sensus, and I have known myself and discovered my talents. Sweden is a country that brings out talents. Previously, we had no opportunity to express our talents. But here I started practicing my talent in belly dancing by teaching women belly dancing, a talent that I am proud to master. I discovered that I was able to teach children dance, and through the sensus, we started a dance course for children. I opened another course with my husband to teach singing to children. We had about 30 children. Says Ghazzawi.
Why did you choose to teach belly dancing?
I didn't choose the bellydance, but bellydance chose me. I also mentioned that dancing is a talent that I did not have the opportunity to express before. When I came to Sweden, I was able to express this talent. It was Adela who first suggested to me a dance course. In addition to my husband's support and encouragement for me.
What message would you like to convey through teaching belly dance?
The message is to free yourself with dance and bring out your inner self through dance. There are many things and many talents buried inside us that we cannot express for several reasons, like the feeling of shame may be due to culture, customs and traditions, fear of criticism.
Shereen not only teaches women and children dancing, but organizes many activities, like: reading, walking and other activities.
- I discovered that I love reading and books, so I started another activity to encourage women to read. We read the books and meet to discuss content. In addition, I had a walking activity around the lake and in different areas in Växjö, and a cycling activity. In the summer, the walking activity is accompanied by children. We encourage women to walk and exercise, Shereen Ghazzawi says.
Shereen points out that the main goal of all these activities that target women is to encourage women to integrate into society, and remove the fear that leads women to fear facing society because of cultural reasons or other reasons.
Today, I have about 200 women on a WhatsApp group in Kronoberg, with whom I share everything that can be benefited from, such as job advertisements, training and awareness courses, activities and others. Some companies and organizations are now contacting me to reach the target groups in case there are activities or Advertisements or something like that. And this group I created personally out of my desire to help. Because I know very well that there are many who do not know the available opportunities and need help and guidance. Shereen says.
Shereen holds a special activity for women called "Ladies talk" and the idea of the activity is for a group of women to meet once a week to talk about everything that bothers them.
– The group has become a family and friends so that we all feel safe talking about our problems and fears. Sometimes we play the game of honesty. The idea for this activity came from the fact that we only want people to hear us. Sometimes, we don’t want solutions or advice, we just want people to hear and understand us. Most of the women are far from their families and close friends, so we need this kind of friendship and a sense of security to get rid of the pressures that face us.
In addition to this activity, I organize evenings for women. For example, everyone who wants to participate pays a nominal amount, we book a place and set a certain date where the women meet to dance and have fun. We also provide coffee and food. Because Växjö lacks entertaining places, So we try to create as entertaining an atmosphere as possible, says Shereen Ghazzawi.