Ms. Tumadar El-Hodeiri works for a peacebuilding organisation in Fezzan, Libya which aims to empower young people and ensure their voices are heard by the national and international community. In an interview with “Al-Mufaqira Journal”, we spoke to her about the goals of the organisation and the “You have talent” bazaar which took place late last year. The event “You have talent” gives women entrepreneurs, novices and young female talent the chance to showcase their creative works. The event is part of a program to provide logistical support to a larger group of women traders in Sebha. Last year in September, the “You have talent” bazaar took place, and it gained considerable regional and national attention via social media sites.
Al-Mufaqira: What was your role in the “You have talent” bazaar?
Ms. Tumadar El-Hodeiri: I was a member of the organising committee and responsible for taking photos during the bazaar.
Al-Mufaqira: What are the goals of the bazaar?
Ms. Tumadar El-Hodeiri: The bazaar is part of a program designed to achieve several goals. First, to encourage women in Sebha to showcase their talents to society. Second, to support new women traders to showcase their talents to the wider community. Third, to provide some enjoyment and entertainment for families including young girls in the city. Fourth, to connect investors with young women entrepreneurs to provide greater business support for their projects.
Al-Mufaqira: What was the impact of this program on Libyan women in Sebha?
Ms. Tumadar El-Hodeiri: It had a big impact on showcasing the talents of women and girls on a larger scale, giving them a greater boost to continue their work and creativity. Now four months after the bazaar, we have noticed that many more women traders have started up their own businesses.
Al-Mufaqira: What are the challenges facing women in the Libyan city of Sebha?
Ms. Tumadar El-Hodeiri: One of the biggest challenges facing women in Sebha is the lack of security which hinders women’s participation. After this comes the lack of encouragement for women’s economic participation by society.
Al-Mufaqira: In a meeting with an activist from the city of Sebha, the event was described as “having returned life to the city” and “given strength to women”. In your opinion, what is the role of women in peace building? And do programs like “You have talent” help to bring peace to the city?
Ms. Tumadar El-Hodeiri: “You have talent” bazaar was welcomed and appreciated by many people in the city, and it certainly contributed to returning life to the city. We need more initiatives like this that certainly have an impact in supporting women and in peacebuilding processes in the city.
Al-Mufaqira: Do you have a message to send, through this initiative, to the local, national and international authorities?
Ms. Tumadar El-Hodeiri: I hope the authorities in charge of international organizations will pay more attention and support us in these entrepreneurial endeavours. This bazaar hosted work in design, crafts, prints, cosmetics and photography in addition to a market for selling fashionable clothes and Moroccan culinary specialties. These initiatives deserve support because they contribute to local economic development, and they benefit society and of course the women participants.
Al-Mufaqira Journal would like to thank Ms. Tumadar El-Hodeiri for conducting this interview with us, and we hope that her work in peacebuilding reaches audiences in Libya.