My name is Kamal Abdoun and I am 24 years old. I was born in Sharkia, Egypt. I live with 5 family members, and have a younger brother and sister.
In Sharkia, it is very hard to find a job in my career. It is a poor city, famous for agriculture and there are not many chances to get good work so I moved to Cairo in 2012 to find a job, after graduation from Zagazig University.
My parents are so important in my life because they taught me lots of things and helped me to get over any problem I may face. My mother is housewife; she was always there for me to help me and to give her support in many fields during my life. My father graduated from faculty of agriculture and had worked for many years in Qatar, but can no longer work. He is a wonderful man who helped me find myself and give me his support in every part in my life, and he gave me confidence and made me feel good about myself. My dream was to be an instructor who can impact people and change their lives.
I graduated from the faculty of commerce, accounting department in May 2011. A major problem in the educational system in Egypt is the mismatch between the skills demanded by job market and the output of the educational system. It is difficult in Egypt to get a job match to your dream job and needs especially after the January 25 Revolution and in the current situation. A declining economy is forcing companies to downsize employees.
I'm a young man who just entered his 20s with lots of expectations and responsibilities on his back. I started to search about my first job and I applied for accounting office I passed the interview just because the job required accounting background. I was unhappy in my job, I worked for two months until I realized that there were no benefits from the job. I only reviewed numbers, and the salary was too low, only EGP 200 per month (less than USD 30). I decided to leave the job for a new opportunity. I applied for many companies but never was called for an interview. My resume wasn't strong enough, and realized I needed more skills to get better job.
One day, my friends told me that there is a training institution called the Education for Employment Foundation | Egypt that provides job training for free. Getting this professional training was the turning point in my life. When I graduated from university, I couldn't write a resume and didn't know how to act in a job interview. In my job training I learnt how to manage my time, how to show my ideas through presentations, and how to work with a team and how to act as a professional.
After graduating from the program, I got the chance to interview at Raya Contact Center as technical support advisory, on their UAE project. I tried to study the basics of networks in a short amount of time and I passed the interview and technical test. I was responsible for trouble-shooting technical queries and complaints, advising customers on technical issues and contributing to a team effort by accomplishing related results as needed. But still I wanted to do more. I did additional tasks such as analyzing our team performance and implementing action plans to improve our systems and helping new customers. I satisfied myself and pleased my team leader.
I discovered that I love interacting with people so I learnt many skills from my work, such as handling complaints, commitment, multitasking, work under stress, meeting deadlines and expanding my business network. This helped me to apply to Bank Misr as Customer Service Representative and pass the interview. I also applied for a scholarship that qualified me to be a Senior Accountants for Microsoft Dynamics AX Consultancy, which will be an important step in my career and my childhood dream to be an instructor in this field.
Being employed is really different. It impacts me and my family. I feel more independent. I can pay for food and rent, and help support my family. Sometimes I take courses to improve my skills and get promoted. The way my family and friends look at me has changed, I am a role model for my family and in my community. I have more friends and a bigger network and enjoy spending time with my colleagues outside the workplace. I feel more confident.
I have also established a student activity called MYG (Make Your Goal) in my university to help students improve their skills and enable them to get free training. I also have helped another team in my village to do awareness campaigns, exchange our experience and educate illiterate people.
Finally, I want to say that being employed change my future outlook. I realize that we can change ourselves, change our country and be useful. For the young people who haven't found a job, the road to success is paved with failures and mistakes. Failure is an event, not a person. If you fail it doesn't mean that you are a failure. It means you tried but didn't make it with the right attitude. Every failure makes you smarter, stronger and better equipped for success. Every day is new chance to add new skill and improve yourself. Help others add a value to your country.
Our wealth lies in the youth. They are the backbone of the world. We should give them the chance to work and create their own opportunities to build the future, achieve their dreams and improve the world. The youth in Egypt are enthusiastic and full of energy. We can unlock their potential by giving them this chance to help their country become better.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and the Middle East and North Africa not-for-profit Education For Employment (EFE), in conjunction with the third anniversary of the self-immolation of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi on December 17, 2013. That event kicked off what has come to be known as "the Arab Spring" and brought the Arab youth unemployment crisis into the global spotlight. EFE's mission is "to create job opportunities for unemployed youth in the Middle East and North Africa." For more information about the Education For Employment, click here.