2017 Second Chance Scholarship Application -Now Open!

The Asherah Foundation’s 2017 Second Chance Scholarship applications are now open! Our scholarship is open to women all over the world who  have a high school diploma or equivalent and who desire to begin or continue to pursue a post-secondary education or technical training program with the intent of acquiring skills necessary to advance in the workplace.

The maximum award amount is $2500 US and can be renewed for the subsequent semester. The award can be applied to expenses pertaining to a four-year college degree, associate degree, an accredited vocation/training program, or other post-secondary credential for the payment of costs relating to the recipient’s registration costs, tuition and related expenses for books, lab fees, and other classroom supplies and fees required under the recipient’s school curriculum. The deadline to apply is July 15, 2017.

If you or anyone you know is eligible to apply for the scholarship and would like more information, please visit our website here.

Asherah Foundation to Host National Volunteer Week Celebration!

National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 as a celebration of change-makers. This year, it falls on April 23-April 29, 2017 and we are taking the time out to shine light on our volunteers and recognize all the people who help make the world a better place. Over 62 million people volunteer every year in the United States alone! These people dedicate their time and resources to support a variety of causes including those in education, healthcare, arts, human services and so much more.

We are striving for unity and solidarity. Volunteers bring about change and in today’s increasingly interconnected world, we must all band together and use our collective power to support our fellow citizens. Currently, there are over 80,000 charitable nonprofit organizations in the D.M.V. area alone that volunteers have supported.

Statistics show that Washington, D.C. residents donate over $894 million to charitable organizations each year! These donations go towards the support of organizations that reach millions of people in need of services such as the Asherah Foundation.

The Asherah Foundation will be hosting an event in honor of National Volunteer Week on Thursday, April 27, 2017 to celebrate our change agents! This event will be hosted at 15th and Eads Restaurant in Arlington, VA from 6-8 p.m.

All attendees will get the chance to mix and mingle with the volunteers that dedicate their and talents in support of the foundation. Complimentary appetizers, wine and beer will also be served. Donations will be accepted and all proceeds go towards the support of the Asherah Foundation Second Chance Scholarship for Women!

Why do you volunteer? Come out and let us know!

Tickets for the event can be purchased on Eventbrite at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/national-volunteer-week-celebration-tickets-33080137582?aff=erelexpmlt.

Asherah Foundation hosts International Women’s Day at Washington, DC

The Asherah Foundation will host the 2017 International Women’s Day celebration in Washington, DC, United States on Wednesday, March 8. This sought-after event will reveal the tremendous work and life-changing impact of women around the world. The international community, global leaders, gender and human rights advocates, business executives, philanthropists and donor agencies among other notable change-makers will also be in attendance. Amidst networking and women empowerment discussions, the audience will enjoy wine, chocolate and light hors d’oeuvres in celebration of these amazing women.

Every year, March 8 has been highlighted as the International Women’s Day to celebrate the success, setbacks and prospects of women and girls around the world. The United Nations, UN member states, nonprofits, civil sector and the business community join in this annual celebration through a variety of outreach activities, advocacy campaigns – online and location based, women-centred events and high level panel sessions.

The Asherah Foundation is a United States 501[c][3] organisation dedicated to providing Second Chance Scholarships to women around to access postsecondary education. These women have been refugees,  single mothers, victims of domestic violence, gender-biased societal norms and many others who have overcome tremendous adversities. Your support and beliefs in our cause keeps us going stronger and empowering more women.

The March 8 event will be held at: WeWork, 1875 K Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20006, United States. The time is 6pm to 8pm EST. This event will also serve as the one year anniversary celebration of The Asherah Foundation. All proceeds generated will support The Asherah Foundation’s Second Chance Scholarships program for Women around the world.

Register for the event and buy your tickets at Asherah Foundation – International Women’s Day – March 8

 

AUTHOR: DERRICK KWABENA AGYAPONG

Natural Flow

Like the relationship of flowers to thorns, valleys to mountains, and the sea to a desert, “Art is the harmony of how things fit together,” my father told me. Everything in the world seeks a bond. Hands move to create, to reassemble an old vision, to communicate. Ears listen. Eyes see. A sour taste of sweat lingers between the lips. Wet ink and paint leave their mark on blank pages. Hungry for fulfilment, the touch begins with the beat of the heart.

In a society, enlightenment reflects through the community’s creative and literacy output, wherever it may feed, be it science, medicine, astronomy or poetry. During an economic downfall, humanities and art programs are first to suffer, which undermines their crucial role in a healthy and well-being. Indeed, the very program I am attending was subject to cuts in the first semester of my enrollment. Computer and industrial technology soared to alarming levels, whereby hand-required skills were severely ignored and harmed, a trend that limits public resources to arts, literature and craft, and marginalizes the essential role of culture to a vital living.

Book Art has become a rare and unique discipline. The program at Mills College overcame the shortsighted plan to have it eliminated. A flow of letters from international practicing bookmakers and organizations in the field had a share in keeping the program alive. The five semester MFA Book Art and Creative Writing program culminates into a final thesis exhibition, coming up in November for our 2015 cohort. Four semesters in, the experience of higher education equipped me with a wealth of tools and information. During my studies, I was able to develop my vision and voice, learning new skills and building confidence around my ideas and projects. It is my intention to pass on the knowledge gained during my time at Mills College to generations across the globe, through literacy activities and practices.

Bookmaking, painting, writing and performance mediums are used to compose various projects. Among them, Nun, a one of a kind in-progress hand bound book that references The Noble Quran. A series of paintings were inspired by the Arabic alphabetical character, Nun and an in-depth research exploring the narrative of language through the Arabic alphabet accompanies the work. A series of books titled Arching, utilize visual storytelling techniques to explore ways of reading and the nature of language to a broad audience. In addition, Anonymous Letter Writing, a community initiative, tackles the connection between handwriting and self-expression, the importance of craft, and the accessibility of art in the age of technology. A proposal to Mills College awarded the project the Writing and Community Engagement Fellowship in a competitive application process.

Arching (page from a book), ink on paper 2017, 5×7″, 2017arching2017-manar-harb

The entire community will be responsible for reiterating the place of the book in our contemporary society. With literature, paper-technology and bookmaking, let’s combine our efforts to strengthen the craft and art community worldwide, spread knowledge, and increase access to scholarly resources and creative outlets.

Thanks to the Asherah Foundation for the visibility.

 

– MANAR HARB

Manar Harb grew up in Ramallah, Palestine. She attended the Friends Schools and moved to the United States during the Second Palestinian Intifada, which erupted in 2001. She finished her last year of high school in Madison West High School and completed her Bachelor of Arts studies in Business Administration and Marketing at the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida. After returning home for five years, she moved to Oakland, California, to pursue her higher education. Find more images of her work and inspiration posts on Instagram: @mharb85

Email: manar.harb@gmail.com

Running towards the Frontlines of a Humanitarian Catastrophe

-Heather MacCleoud

Yemen is in the midst of one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.  Over 20 million people – 80 percent of the population—is in desperate need of humanitarian assistanyemen-health-systemce. [1]

The conflict has resulted in over 2000 deaths and one million people displaced. Yemenis are struggling to survive a
s fuel,
food and medical supplies are critically low due to the closure of land, sea and air routes. Just 14% of national fuel requirements have arrived in country since the end of March putting 10 million people at risk of losing access to water. Over 12 million people are going hungry as wheat and other staples are in increasingly short supply. More than 15 million are without access to health care as hospitals shut down due to lack of medical supplies and power cuts.[2]

One brave woman is working tirelessly
to help her people despite the conflict.

Dr. Ameera Al-humidi is working on a Masters of Pathology so that she can provide better healthcare to thameera-al-humidie devastated population of her country.  Instead of running from conflict and horror, she is working to improve her skills to better serve her Yemeni society.

The Asherah Foundation salutes Dr. Ameera Al-humidi!  Truly a Woman of Achievement and an inspiration to us all.

Donate Now: https://asherah-foundation.networkforgood.com/


[1]
Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen. CARE. http://www.care.org/emergencies/yemen-humanitarian-crisis

[2] Ibid.

Preserving Cultural Heritage in Egypt

  • Fatma Amerfatma

My deep and ever growing interest in the fields of arts and culture, especially film, has helped me set new career goals, which I believe can be completely achieved and added to by ample academic knowledge. I was first introduced to film archiving in 2013 when I joined Kurrasat Al Cimatheque, a film criticism and programming workshop organised by Cimatheque – Alternative Film Centre in Cairo. As part of the work, I was required to thoroughly research their film archive collection. Before long, I began working with Cimatheque as a film archivist and writer, assisting them in building and cataloging their rich library and archival collection.

As part of the Cimatheque team, I organized workshops and talks focusing on archives in order to study and question archival material. In an attempt to re-examine the function of existing archives, I curated film programmes and organised discussions towards learning about cinema and preserving film heritage, all in the endeavour of supporting local alternative film culture. As part of my work, I was also selected to attend the Berlin Film Festival in February 2015 as a young film critic in order to curate a programme from the Forum and Forum Expanded sections, which is due to premiere in Cimatheque in Fall 2016.

I have since continued to pursue my interests in film history and archiving by working with several media and arts related initiatives in Cairo, alongside Cimatheque, such as the French Cultural Institute. My work–be it as a freelancer, or full-time employee–all focused primarily on archiving, researching, facilitating the documentation and editing of new film works, general art programming, and critical writing.

The work I have pursued thus far is in many ways the natural evolution of a life-long passion for cinema and desire to see the art—in all its forms and complicated, interlocking histories—remain accessible to the general public. There is no true culture of film archives in Egypt, despite possessing one of the longest and richest cinematic traditions in the world. The few archives that do exist are not always centralized: most archives are small, unfocused collections in the hands of personal collectors deeply unwilling to share these vital aspects of cinema history with others.

Thus, the training I would receive at the University of Amsterdam is perfectly timed with my career goals, and the multitude of questions currently posed by the film archives in Egypt.

The resources available in Amsterdam, which allow students to work fully with archives, museums, libraries, labs, and nearby arts organizations will inevitably enrich my work
goals, and provide the know-how necessary to help build nascent film archives in my home country.

Besides wanting to be able to start critical work groups in film criticism, as well as initiate and work through dormant archives that have yet to be analysed formally through any analytical aesthetic discussion, my career goals also include:

  • Learning how to develop an easily accessible film archive in Egypt, wherein visual and cultural memory are heavily controlled by different forces.
  • Creating intuitive cataloguing and indexing systems based on international guidelines (including film reels, DVDs, videotapes, press releases, production stills, and a myriad number of three-dimensional items), to ensure accessibility of the collection.
  • Broaden my understanding of film archives, and learn curatorial theories that would help inform future programming initiatives.
  • Developing and conceiving policies and procedures in an administrative capacity to ensure the proper running of arts and cultural initiatives.
  • Sharing my knowledge with others in the local community on the basics of film preservation and restoration methods, both in conceptual and practical terms through hands-on training.
  • Fully understand researching methodology and how to incorporate them into archival work, and future analytical writing based on the archive.

In the absence of local training, the Master’s programme, Heritage Studies: Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image is incredibly relevant, with its deft combination of conceptual, theoretical ideas, hands-on training, and expertise. In addition, the network provided by the venerable institutions leading the process will undoubtedly benefit the work I hope to pursue in Egypt in the near feature. I truly believe that the capacity building and networking possibilities offered by the program will undoubtedly prove invaluable to and complementary to my current skill set.

Most endeavors in Egypt possessing an interest in archiving and preservation of moving images do not receive state support. On the contrary, they face constant obstacles in running their activities. Given the systemic corruption, level of negligence, and incompetency rampant in state institutions—especially when dealing with the preservation of its national patrimony—it is incredibly important for me to dedicate my time and energy to young, independent institutions that share my values.

Despite receiving Universal Studios Preservation Scholarship from The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) which covered thirty percent of the university fees, my operational budget is quite limited, especially in regards to living standards in the West. Unfortunately, I cannot adequately cover the cost of my attendance for the program in Europe, nor would I be able to cover the costs through the monthly salary I currently receive in Egyptian currency. Despite these challenges, I sincerely hope that the financial side does not hinder the furthering my archival studies, which in the future will be beneficial to countless cinema lovers in the country.

 

Cimateque website and its social networks pages:

Donate Now: https://asherah-foundation.networkforgood.com/

Help for Cancer Survivors

-Esra’ Hamdan

esra-hamdan-stand-up-to-cancerI first heard the term “Physical Therapy” when I was a child as my own sibling (Sarah) who is only two years older than me was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy disease and the only treatment for her was & still is physiotherapy and rehabilitation sessions. I was going with her to physiotherapy sessions and since then I had a passion to become a physiotherapist.

So, when I finished my high school I had only think of myself as a physiotherapist and I worked hard till I graduated with very good grades in the bachelors degree in 2004 and after working three years as a research assistant in Al-Quds University, I got a scholarship to continue my master degree in United Kingdom, as I did my master in Rehabilitation Sciences from the University of Nottingham in 2008.

During my work as a physiotherapist and also a clinical supervisor at Al-Quds University from 2004 till now, I have dealt with many cancer survivors in hospitals and clinics, but when I had a cancer patient in my family, the issue was different and I have become more oriented about the ongoing complications that affects their quality of life, and from all my siblings I was the most helper for my late father during his illness of lung cancer till he died in 2011. Therefore, that was my starting point of passion in conducting research about cancer survivors, especially trying to help women with post breast cancer survivors which affects the women itself and her everyday life details as we are living in a society that Arabic Culture affects our daily life as well as our dealing with Cancer and as a women from this society I can know exactly how it feels and how I may help females there by being specialized in cancer rehabilitation field and having my education in a very good country such as United Kingdom. Cancer survivors have many complications that is affecting their quality of life such as joint pain, limited range of motion, lymphatic edema, shallow breathing and low physical activity which are issues that physiotherapy can address and trying to decrease it if we are starting to work with those survivors as soon as possible and if they continue to do the exercises alongside with other adjunctive cancer treatments they will have a better quality of life.

esra-hamdan-clinical-supervisionUnfortunately that it is in my society, there is a lack of knowledge from both doctors and patients about the role of physiotherapy and rehabilitation for cancer patients and that’s what makes it more interested and challenging for me in doing up this research about physical activity, quality of life differences between different countries and cultures to have holistic view about this issues and trying to understand where is the gap and so start to work upon it. Moreover, till now, there is no specialized programme or higher degree education for physiotherapy in Palestinian Territory and that’s why I did my masters in UK and now am studying my PhD as well in the United Kingdom. Higher education as well as specialized education in Cancer will help me as a women myself as well as help up my family and female patients when I will come back to help them in our Arabic community and its restrictions and barriers for physical activities . All this reasons are why am doing my PhD nowadays with a very expenses fees that it’s on my own.

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2016 Scholarship Recipients

  • Heather MacCleoud

The Asherah Foundation is proud to announce the winners of the 2016 Second Chance Scholarship for Women around the World: Sindia Palominos Moreno (Instituto Profesional Los Leones, Chile) and Amani Jebril (Birzeit University, Palestine)

Sindia Palominos Moreno
Degree: Preschool Education

Institution: Instituto Profesional Los Leones

sindia“I come from a family of 8, with limited resources, where there was no money to pay for higher education. As a result my siblings and I (I am the 5th one) had to leave our town (Curacautin, 9th region of Chile) at an early age in search of new opportunities. This is why I started to work to pay for my expenses and to be able to live…

I continued my studies but shortly discovered I was pregnant, surprisingly with twins, I had no relatives who could care for them while I continued my studies…so since I could not count with that assistance I had to stop my studies to care for my daughters for a year and return to it when they were old enough for daycare. The time passed and I went to the university asking to be reinstated, however, the classes were held during hours that I needed to be home with my daughters…

Presently I am preparing my thesis (the last step to finish my studies) but, I have the 2016 debt which I have not been able to pay, since my husband’s salary cannot pay our house hold expenses, children’s expenses, studies, etc. This is why I am appealing to you, I only need to pay for 2016and I will be a Professional Educator, a career that I love. To educate, teach and guide children, the future of this country, is an arduous task, difficult and complex, but that with love and passion for what you do, can be achieved.” (English Translation)

Amani Jebril amani
Degree: Water & Environmental Science
Institution: Birzeit University

“During the past few years, I noticed the deterioration in my country…in issues of environmental pollution and shortage of water resources caused by several reasons including serious weaknesses in the management of water resources.

And I noticed a problem documented by many feminist studies in the areas of environment and water, is that women and children are the most affected by water scarcity and pollution of the environment. And that the resulting tragedies are mounting.

Hence I decided to go to (step 2) in the interest of the environment and waters from simple ideas that are destined for the school environment, to scientific and academic specialization in this area, with the aim of doing studies and projects related to water, energy and the environment, and which take into account the reality of drastically and needs of women in Palestine, especially the poor and marginalized.” (English Translation)

 Congratulations 2016 Scholarship Recipients! 

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2016 Applicants: Women of Achievement around the World

  • Heather MacCleoud

The Asherah Founation was started in early 2016 with the goal of providing Second Chance Scholarships to Women around the World. Our first applicant cohort included 19 women ranging from age 21-47.  Some were divorced, some were separated from their families (due to war, illness, etc…), some were providing for their families.

Where Are They?

Applicants to our first cohort were from 15 countries[1]:

table-countries

What Are They Studying?

Applicants to our first cohort were involved in many fields from healthcare to therapeutic art:

table-degrees

What Are Their Stories?

Applicants have survived war, disease, domestic abuse, child marriage, civil unrest, etc… In order to be eligible for our scholarship program applicants must:

  • have survived;
  • must be accepted and already enrolled into a program leading to a postsecondary credential; and
  • explain how this credential will help them “provide for their communities”

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word-cloud-map-applications

*This Word Cloud was created from their Application Essays

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[1] Many of those in Europe or the USA were originally from conflict regions in the Middle East but had transferred to schools in these safer locations.

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The Story of the Asherah Foundation

-Heather MacCleoud

March 8, 2016: My colleagues and I have worked with international higher education for decades.  We have been hearing about the refugee crises in the Middle East and Latin America for several years now. It is International Women’s Day.  We decide to take action.

Scholarships: The economic impact of a postsecondary degree enormous[1]. However, equitable access remains a pressing issue.

  • Despite rapid growth in tertiary [postsecondary] education around the world, many challenges remain, including in expanding and promoting equitable access…and encourag
    ing desired values, behaviors, and attitudes. –World Bank
  • Goal # 4 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.

Women: As noted above, the UN has just signed on to its Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 5: Achieve Gender Equality and Empower All Women and Girls:

  • While the world has achieved progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment under the Millennium Development Ggender-inequality-unescooals (including equal access to primary education between girls and boys), women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence in every part of the world.
  • Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.

Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and
economic decision-m
aking processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.

Much of the focus traditionally has been on youth and girls. As women, we realize the impact that other women can have on their families and communities through their example. We also realize that most scholarship funds are not dedicated to women.  Scholarships are traditionally designed for young women who have already showed great leadership potential, who do not have families, who have not yet faced great adversity in their lives.

Second Chances: As we read more about the refugee crises, as Ebola, Zika, War, Civil Unrest, Child Marriage, Assault, Poverty take over the headlines, we realize that there are few options for women who have 1) survived tragedy, 2) demonstrated a commitment to gender-gap-indeximproving their situation (and often the situation of their families and communities), and 3) are actively seeking to continue their postsecondary education. These women have fought enormous odds to be where they are at and deserve support to continue their heroic journeys.

We start this foundation. Our goals are simple: 1) Provide support to these incredible women, 2) Raise awareness of these heroines in our world. We do this through providing scholarships. As possible, we also do this through providing access to our extensive international professional networks, through personal support as we are able, and through providing a venue to for them to share their stories.

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[1] World Bank Group (WBG) research shows that globally, the rates of return for graduates of tertiary education are the highest in the entire educational system—an average 17 percent increase in earnings.

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