Hero Diaries - Marwa

Marwa supporting essential workers

Marwa is a Peace First grantee, MENA Country Ambassador and the creator of the project: COVID-19 in Tunisia. She has aided her Multiplicity Janitors with necessary equipment to protect themselves and save lives. She applied for a Rapid Response grant after hearing about the opportunity through her Fellow-in-residence, Josiane Atallah. Marwa’s project was created to address the health and safety of community members. She believes that we all need to help wherever we can. This is Marwas’s story.

“I was in my country Tunisia when I first heard about COVID-19. I am a primary school teacher and was on holiday doing some global citizenship courses and trying to fulfill my administrative duties remotely with the organization I am volunteering with. Actually, the same time I became a Peace First Ambassador was in parallel with when I heard about the Pandemic. Honestly, before COVID hit, I was planning another project, BookAid, on the Peace First platform. But due to COVID-19, I changed my idea to another project that could help the situation.

Some of  my friends  here in Tunisia have been directly impacted by  COVID-19  and are now recovering . This virus changed my life in many different ways.  First, let’s take a look on the “full part” of the glass. I had more time to practice my hobbies! I love writing and cooking, and found more time to chat with my friends, take some online courses and talk more with my family. 

But now, the empty part. I had to delay all my volunteering activities. I had to stop my civic engagement plan for community musketeers.  “Community Musketeers “ works with primary and high schools in rural & urban cities, teaching students soft skills (public speaking, conflict resolution, leadership, etc) and then gives students a chance to make a change in their communities through realizing  small projects. So, for now I am doing online volunteering with an African NGO and taking my CTP courses with World Youth Alliance.

My initial thought was about creating something that may change or support others and the community at the same time without putting myself in danger. My mother works in the municipality and by coincidence, I heard from her that the municipality janitors do not have enough equipment to do their work. 

I went to the municipality and I had a meeting with its president. I found that janitors lacked many necessities and their safety was potentially threatened. I knew that by providing them with medical equipment like masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, and bleach, they would be able to protect themselves and do their job efficiently, saving other people’s lives.

My project impacted the overall health of my community through aiding municipality janitors. The Municipality was financially unable to provide the janitors with the extra needed equipment. However, I knew the janitors are the soldiers that protect us as a community through regular cleaning. If they lack the needed equipment and aren’t protected, we are all unprotected.

It is clear that Peace Fist has great plans for the future. I learnt a lot during this journey and have gotten the chance to see the difference between the inconvenience and the injustice. Moreover, I know more about how injustice works, through digging to find causes and impact and talking to others. 

I think young people should get more involved because, as Kofi Annan says, “you are never too young to lead, and never too old to learn." Giving young people a chance is so important, because investing in youth is investing in building peaceful communities and global citizens. Giving young people the opportunity to carry responsibility, to play a role in their local community and to think outside the box helps them to leave their comfort zone and be problem solvers! Young people have the power of innovation, the desire to change, and brilliant ideas which can make all the difference.”