I had the chance to go to school and to graduate from a public university in Morocco.
It was a chance to study, for a girl who is one of the few in her family to have gone that far.
But, it is what happened after university that led me to dedicate myself to social innovation, specifically helping unemployed Moroccan youth. I hope I can convince other young people to make the same decision.
Years ago, with my university diploma in my hand, I was thinking that the hardest part was left behind. Nevertheless, the reality of adult life caught up with me: the future that I aspired to, was taking a while to come. Indeed, like any young university student, I wanted a better future and the starting point for me was to find a job.
Typically, as any young graduate would do, I started sending my resume and cover letters, thinking that, "with my Master's Degree, finding a job will be easy. At the end of the day, who will say no? I am a Master's Degree graduate after all!"
Even with my degree, I started collecting "No's" and sometimes no responses at all. This situation had negative effects on my personality and especially my self-confidence. I started doubting myself, my university choices and my ability to work and achieve my aims. What surprised me was that it wasn't just my case; my friends and classmates were facing the same challenges.
To get out of this situation, I took a job-training course at a social-sector nonprofit. To keep learning, I started an internship there, even though the social field was not what I had in mind when I had started my job search in the private sector. Back then, no one told me that interning at the nonprofit organization, Education For Employment in Morocco (EFE-Maroc), would be a life-changing experience that would make me discover a real and deep passion for the social sector.
As an intern, I was not considered an accessory, which was the case for a lot of internships I had. Instead, I was a real asset to the team. This is what social businesses provide: from day one, I was involved in the daily work, and had real tasks for which I was held responsible for.
No matter what your diploma or your background is, once you step foot in the social field, you'll have to do your part of the job and be responsible for it.
After months, I applied for a job within Education For Employment -- Maroc, and I was fortunate enough to be accepted and to start working as a project coordinator.
Usually, when I say that I am working in the social field, people tend to think that I am working there during my free time, or it is just a fun project where there is no responsibility, no deadlines... and overall that it's not a "job."
Well let me tell you something: working in social business is a job!
It's a jobthat offers more learning opportunities than any other field. It's a job where I have to challenge myself everyday, where I have to give the best not only for myself, but for others as well, and where I work for a cause.
The learning process in the social field is efficient, and the professional experience can be larger than the one gained even in the biggest international companies.
In the social field, I've learned the importance of teamwork and also to be creative in order to find solutions. I've learned not to spare any effort to achieve my goals, because at the end, those goals are not about me, but about the wellbeing of others. It also has given me the chance to develop multi-purpose skills and to work independently.
Working for a small organization where each staff member plays many roles has made me aware and involved in the different areas of operations, and has given me the chance to meet different people and partners. This helped me improve my communication skills, learn to be a good listener, and develop management, leadership and negotiation skills.
I've had the opportunity to meet leaders and change-makers, and to be involved in international projects that improved the lives of many people.
What is even more attractive, and this is what makes me more passionate about my job, is the impact that it has on others.
Waking up every day knowing that my job is positively impacting lives is the most rewarding thing I can have. I can see and feel this impact in the faces of the young alumni of Education For Employment who, thanks to our trainings, have secured a job and all of the dignity and freedom that comes with it.
How many people have the chance to see this?
Working in the social field isn't just about fighting for a noble cause, in my case; it's also about doing what I love every day.
I've shared tears and laughs, hardships and joys of our alumni. They are not just anonymous graduates or names on a database. They became my friends, brothers and sisters... they became my family.
While working for a social firm, I started a journey of change and growth. But as they say: The best is yet to come! And I hope other young people will join me on this journey.