This post is part of #GivingTuesday's #WomenWhoGive series, which celebrates women who are making a difference in their communities.
Abir Ibrahim, Founder & CEO Inua Naturals, Community Engagement Fellow at UNICEF USA
What inspired you to start giving?
I was born into a country that was wrapped in a civil war until it broke itself in half. Sudan was hit with a devastating famine that left more than half of its population without access to clean water, food, and adequate health. I experienced many women and children living in severe poverty. My parents were always grabbing for any survival opportunities and thankful to people, sometimes unknown, who offered a hand to grow. It’s these opportunities that led us to relocate to a better life in the UnitedStates.
My mission to improving my community, country, and world lead me to earning a master in public health focusing on women and children in Sub-Saharan Africa. My commitment to alleviate poverty and health disparities among women and children continued through my work at the UNICEF Sudan, UNICEF USA, Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., and Peace Corps in rural Tanzania. I established Inua Naturals, an initiative that works to empower marginalized women while at the same time solving the issue of malnutrition. Inua creates new industry and economies for women who do not otherwise have access to the global consumer. East African women are rising above poverty, raising healthier families, stimulating their local economies and inspiring the world around them.
What does giving mean to you? Why do you continue to give your time, talents, money, or more to your community?
I recognize that we as individuals are a compilation of everyone we have met, and everyone who contributed to our growth. It is because of neighbors, community, and various individuals—I was afforded a better life, access to better education and endless opportunities. ‘Giving’ means to pay it forward as others have done for me. we cannot change the world but we can cast stones across water to create ripples that inspire massive change.
What would you tell others who are looking to start giving back? Share a piece of advice will help them get started.
My advice is: understand your privilege and take action in personally meaningful ways. You are able to become an advocate for the people and causes most important to you using the most powerful tool only you have—your personal stories.