The Importance of Economic Development for Women

“Higher education is the strongest, sturdiest ladder to increased socio-economic mobility.” -Drew Faust, President Harvard University

Financial independence is a gateway to freedom. A large issue women face around the world is lack of financial freedom, which creates dependency upon spouses, family members or communities, leading to the inability to speak up against any injustices. At The Asherah Foundation, we believe that financial independence derives from education. Aside from the increase in job opportunities, an education can create liberation and confidence in individuals all around the world.

Uneducated women are typically left out of crucial decision-making processes that ultimately affect them and their rights, creating a cycle of women without education unable to change their rights to education. While the number of women entering primary, secondary and higher education globally is increasing, there are still significant barriers to the accessibility of education, created by poverty, ethnicity, geography, and culture.

Increasing the accessibility of education and encouraging women to obtain higher level degrees will lead to their fulfilling of higher-level positions. Women in higher positions gain authority, respect and higher pay. Receiving higher pay will create a level of economic freedom for these women, so that they may use their authority and respect to bring changes in their community, without fear of those they were previously dependent on. As more women follow this path, they can begin to advocate for others all around the world. When creating rules and laws concerning the rights of women, The Asherah Foundation believes that we must educate those that will be affected, so that they may have a say in their rights.

Furthermore, as we educate our women and help them gain financial independence, we can begin to combat issues such as domestic violence and sexism. As women gain confidence in the workplace, we can expect to see an improvement in their familial affairs, political stances, and communities. Educated women can establish their own political leadership, create systematic changes, improve the lives of their children and educate the rest of their society on the importance of feminism. The Asherah Foundation strongly believes that educating women leads to necessary socio-economic and political changes that will allow women to gain the respect and equality they deserve.

Consider giving to our cause, so that we can continue to support women around the world on their journey with education:

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Follow us below to hear these women’s individual stories:


STEM Education: The Journey of Amani Jebril

“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.” – Michelle Obama, Former First Lady of the United States of America

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education for women and girls is critical for the improvement and well-being of society.  We have seen evidence that young girls interested in the sciences and maths are discouraged from pursuing those passions because they are taught that those are male subjects.  The Asherah Foundation recognizes that when girls are supported and encouraged in following their endeavors, they perform as well as their male counterparts.  Women bring a different perspective to problem solving, and we are committed to a world in which women can flourish in STEM.  

This is one of the many reasons The Asherah Foundation is delighted to share the story of Amani Jebril. Ms. Jebril was the recipient of our Second Chance scholarship in 2016.  She started on her journey by becoming a science teacher in Palestine, where she inspired her students to take their science education beyond the classroom.  In addition to changing the way these students viewed the scientific world, Ms. Jebril helped develop school scientific initiatives, such as using alternative energy sources for addressing real issues in the community.  While her accomplishments as an educator are impressive, she saw the larger problems facing those living in Palestine, and sought to further her education in order to improve her community in areas such as environmental pollution and shortage of water. She is dedicated to giving back to her community.

Ms. Jebril recognized that women and children are the most affected by environmental pollution and the scarcity of water, and that there are very few women studying these issues.  She is using her Second Chance Scholarship in order to earn her Masters degree in Water and Environmental Engineering and Sciences from Birzeit University.  In addition to her time spent in school, this remarkable young woman has been selected to consult on a Birzeit University project that aims to improve and develop studies in her field. She continues to create opportunities for the spread of scientific knowledge, and her contributions to education display her commitment to giving back to those around her, to better her community.

Asherah is proud to support Amani Jebril in her pursuit of higher education. We hope that you will follow Ms. Jebril’s footsteps in the spirit of giving back, in order to provide these opportunities to women around the world.

Give a second chance to go to school!

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2017’s Diverse Applicant Pool: Learn About These Incredible Women!

The Asherah Foundation’s 2017 applicant pool had 96 applicants! In order to understand more about our applicants, we have performed a statistical analysis.

Our 2017 applicants are global citizens, representing 39 different countries all across the world, which is displayed in figure one below.

2017 applicant pool graph one.pngFigure one: Home country of each applicant

We had 40 applicants from different areas across Africa. There were 4 women from southern Africa, 8 from northern Africa, 9 from western Africa and 19 from eastern Africa (mostly Uganda)! Our second largest pool of women was from Asia, spread across countries in the Middle East and south and west Asia, with a total of 38 applicants. The Asherah Foundation heard the stories of wonderful women from many different countries, including India, Pakistan, Lebanon and Syria.

Though Africa had ahigher applicant pool than Asia, the individual country with the highest number of applicants was Palestine, with a total of 10 outstanding women. Additionally, we received applications from women in the USA, Jamaica, Belize, Belgium and Italy. Overall, the Asherah Foundation is extremely pleased with the diversity of our outreach to women all around the world.

Our next analysis (displayed in figure two) was of the types of degrees being pursued by these impressive women.

2017 applicant pool graph two.png

Figure two: degree type

The majority of these women are pursuing graduate degrees to further their education, with 11 moving on to doctorate degrees. The Asherah Foundation was incredibly inspired by the dedication and commitment these women have to their education.

Third, after looking at their home countries and types of degrees, The Asherah Foundation was curious to see what countries these women will be pursuing their education in, shown in figure three.

Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 7.03.36 PM.png

Figure three: the countries our applicants will study in

Many of our 2017 applicants intend to study in USA, the United Kingdom, and Palestine, and the rest are spread out across 27 other countries in Europe, Africa and Asia.

The Asherah foundation also wanted to explore the different subject areas that are being studied (figure four).

2017 applicant pool graph 3.png

Figure four: majors of study

There are 29 different subject areas, with the five highest percentages in science, business and finance, education, management, and medicine. The sciences are the highest at 12%. The sciences encompasses various fields, including physics, biomedical sciences, computer science, and chemistry. The Asherah Foundation is proud to share the stories and promote the successof our sisters around the world.

Finally, The Asherah Foundation would like to recognize the different age groups that are present in our 2017 applicant pool (figure 5).2017 applicant pool graph four.png

Figure five: range of ages

The ages of our applicants range from the youngest being 18 years old to the oldest being 52 years old. The most common age of our applicants is 26. We are excited to see such a broad range of ages that are continuing their education, following their dreams and creating a greater world for all of us.

Overall, The Asherah Foundation is overwhelmingly excited to see our outreach and mission growing to cover an abundance of countries, fields of study and ages. We are ecstatic to find a growth in recognition of the importance of supporting women globally, in the pursuit of education. With every application that our team receives, we are one step closer to a world that encourages our sisters to live out their passions. We are eager to find out what marvelous women our 2018 applicant pool will hold!

Interested in contributing to women around the world in their pursuit of higher education? Click on either link below:

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2017 Second Chance Scholarship Recipient: Maryline Jarbar

“When women thrive, all of society benefits.” – Kofi Anna

In its second year of offering the Second Chance Scholarship, The Asherah Foundation is pleased to find that our application pool has increased and our outreach is growing. We received almost 100 applications from 30 different countries. Women from countries including Yemen, India and South Sudan shared their phenomenal stories with The Asherah Foundation.  Our 2017 recipient selection process was difficult, as many of the applicants were deserving of this scholarship! We will continue to share stories of their incredible accomplishments on this blog.

The Asherah Foundation is delighted to introduce the exceptional Maryline Jarbar as our award recipient for the year of 2017. Ms. Jarbar overcame significant adversities in her life and continues to pursue her dreams courageously. She is the only member of her family thus far to have a secondary education and is furthering her studies in order to stay competitive in Liberia’s job market.

Ms. Jarbar is working towards a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Health Sciences at the Stella Maris Polytechnic University in Monrovia, Liberia. She is dedicated to the development of her country and the increase of opportunities for disadvantaged children and women in Liberia, and plans to use her degree to empower these communities. Through her advocacy, she hopes to contribute to the progress of literacy for all, better health conditions, and clean drinking water. The small village she comes from lacks basic social services and her dream is to fight for an improved society. One of Maryline’s many recommendations came from Pastor Waplo Dolh of the United Church of God in Christ. He highlighted her substantial contribution to her church community as Head of the Women’s Department.

The Asherah Foundation’s Board of Directors is honored to support Ms. Jarbar in her educational journey, commitment to development, and passions. We look forward to her success and congratulate her on receiving the Second Chance Scholarship!

Follow Maryline’s journey:

Interested in contributing to women around the world in their pursuit of higher education? Support our work!

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:

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



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 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


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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.

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Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen. CARE.

[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:

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