White Helmets: TedxAmsterdam 2016

I was hired by TedxAmsterdam to coach and live translate a speech for Raed El Saleh, the founder and leader of the White Helmets group in Syria.

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The theme of this year’s TedxAmsterdam was #NewPower, a large and loose term that pools in a variety of ideas, projects, and movements which offer new perspectives and literally new power to challenge the status quo.

My first responsibility was to help him generate strong talking points and draft them into a compelling speech. Secondly, I coached him on the use of body language, tone, and the number of words and sentence structures to deliver a powerful speech.

During the event, I was also asked do live translation as he delivered his semi-structured speech for the audience.

The White Helmets are a group of about 3000 volunteers distributed  around 120 centers in eight districts in Syria whose mission is to save lives post airstrikes and attacks. They are local search and rescue teams trained to pull people out from under the rubble. Read more about them on their official website and you can follow their live updates on Twitter.

Here is the full video of Raed El Saleh’s talk, translated live by myself:

He Left Brazil to Live like a Refugee in Europe

I talked to a Brazilian human rights lawyer who joined refugees on their journey crossing borders in Europe and facing the same challenges and obstacles:

Brazilian human rights and criminal lawyer Edgard Raoul used to work at a law firm in Sao Paulo. After a few months of feeling helpless while watching images and videos of people fleeing Syria and other conflict areas for a dangerous journey through Europe,  he quit his job and left his life behind.

He wanted to experience what refugees fleeing to Europe were going through. He started his journey in Turkey, then went to the Greek island Lesvos, Athens, through Idomeni onto Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria and Germany. All along the way he lived with refugees.

Our MENA contributor Faten Bushehri is interviewing Edgard in Amsterdam, where he is currently taking a break to prepare for his trip to the Middle East. He says he wants to understand where refugees come from.

In this episode of GV Face, we ask Edgard about what motivated him to leave his life behind and what he has learnt meeting and living with refugees.

Read the original article on Global Voices 

Opportunity to Volunteer in Lesvos for Bahrainis (Or Arabic Speaking candidate)

This is a one time opportunity to encourage mainly Bahrainis to get involved in humanitarian work and help refugees.

About the opportunity:

  • Deadline is December 26th
  • This is a donation given by a Bahraini who wished to remain anonymous and will cover only flight ticket. You are expected to pay for your hotel, car rental, living expenses, and visa if you need one.
  • This is not part of a team, or an official organization that you will join. You are expected to work independently and be able to establish relationships and connections on the ground to collaborate with. We will put you in touch with some people, but there is no fixed schedule of activities and things to do that you would follow.

About you:

  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Fluent in both Arabic and English
  • Have funds to cover the other expenses
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Can be there for a minimum of 10 days
  • Can work under pressure and in intense situations
  • No health problems that requires special care
  • Submit a brief report (one page) about your experience after you come back

Things to know:

  • Mytelini and Lesvos is the same place. Two names for the island
  • There are rarely direct flights to Mytelini, you’d have to stop in Athens first
  • It is cold these days in Lesvos especially at night by the shores
  • The experience is mentally and emotionally and physically exhausting
  • There is a big Facebook group where all volunteers and NGOs are discussing all kinds of things, and there are files available to explain dynamics of the island and information
  • If you’re selected, you would get a general briefing of all the information you need to know.

If interested, email the following to fatenhbu@gmail.com:

Cover letter explaining:
  • Tell me about yourself and background (basic information: name, age, location, and who you are)
  • Why you’re interested in volunteering in Lesvos?
  • Why do you think you’re the perfect candidate to be chosen?
  • What is your previous experience in humanitarian aid, or any relevant experience?
  • This could be a very heavy experience, some days are slow and easy, others are traumatic for both refugees and volunteers. How do you usually handle emotional situations and shock (any relevant example?)
  • When is the earliest that you can be in Lesvos?

Priority goes to:

  • Bahrainis (and then all arabic speakers)
  • Volunteers who can leave as early as possible
  • Volunteers who already have a visa
  • Volunteers who live in Europe *for minimal flight expenses*

Podcasts: Lesvos Diaries

About three weeks ago, myself and a friend decided to launch a campaign, to raise funds for refugees in the Greek island of Lesvos. On November 16th we hopped on a plane to Lesvos to provide basic supplies and help with the donations we have collected.

It’s difficult to grasp and capture our time there with simple written words. The conditions need improvement, and the stories of arriving refugees are heart breaking. We worked at several camps with other volunteers to try to improve the situation as well as provide basic supplies in preparation for winter.

We started a Sound Cloud account where we shared and will continue to share some of our experiences.

For updates on our work in Lesvos follow our Instagram account @impactlesvos

The Idea of a Newsroom on the Cloud (Dalet XN newsroom explained)

I joined Dalet company at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) 2015 to test drive one of their new initiatives called Dalet Xn News. A new virtual newsroom hosted on the cloud with no infrastructure. An idea very convenient for field journalists, where access to professional equipment, internet or software may be limited.

How does it work? I explain…