International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024

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February 11, 2024 marks the ninth annual celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls In Science. Established by the UN General Assembly in 2015, it is a day to recognize the vital role women and girls play in science and technology and to celebrate the critical contributions of women in these areas. It also aims to promote the full and equal participation of women and girls in STEM fields, breaking down barriers to gender equality.

Anera is committed to the advancement of women and girls in all aspects of life, with education and skills training being a central part of our work in Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine.

Women and girls in the countries where Anera works often face a harsh reality when it comes to employment and other opportunities. Gender stereotypes and roles can get in the way of personal and professional advancement, and the unemployment rate is much higher among women.

Empowering women and girls with the education and skills to pursue careers in science and technology amplifies their voices and opens doors for their contributions to make lasting economic and sustainable change in their communities.

In honor of the 2024 International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Anera is highlighting extraordinary women on our team and in our programs.

Meet Mandy: Civil Engineer

Mandy is an engineer working to build a private school in Gaza.

Mandy Abu Kombouz is 27 years old, veiled, proud, and the only female Palestinian engineer on one of USAID and Anera’s project sites in Gaza. Mandy serves as the safety/office engineer, and is on a mission with purpose: to inspire young female students to break traditional gender roles and realize their full potential, even in male-dominated professions. 

Speaking of her career journey, Mandy says, “I was determined to show everyone that they are wrong and women are equal, just as capable, and can be just as good or even better.”

Meet Rima: Medical Donations Coordinator in Lebanon

Rima leads Anera’s medical donations program in Lebanon

Rima holds a bachelor’s in pharmacy and master’s degree in pharmaceutical biotechnology. She oversees Anera’s medical donations program in Lebanon. With a shortage of medication in Lebanon and climbing costs, Rima dedicates herself to ensuring neglected communities have access to medication.

One of the indispensable aspects of achieving a good quality of life is health. As a pharmacist, I am driven by my desire to contribute to the community by using my knowledge and experience to help patients improve their quality of life. Leading the medical donations program in Lebanon, I feel a deep sense of responsibility and fulfillment in being committed to our mission, which aims to ensure free and equitable access to medication and medical commodities to improve the well-being of the vulnerable population.”

Throughout the years, Rima says she’s learned the value of small actions that leave a big impact, “I’ve come to realize the profound impact even small efforts can have on the lives of others. Don’t underestimate the significance of your actions, as what may seem feasible or easy for you can make all the difference in the lives of those you serve.”

Meet Aya: Nursing Student

Aya wants to make an impact on her community with her training as a nurse.

Aya is a 27-year-old nursing student trainee living in Rashidieh Palestinian Refugee Camp in Lebanon. After learning about Anera’s partnership with local technical institutes, Aya applied for a scholarship and began her three-year vocational training program in nursing.

“My goal is to help people.” Says Aya, “Once I started my internship, I realized the importance of what I was studying and practicing as a nurse.”

Meet Hadeel: Medical Donations Coordinator in Jordan

Hadeel, seen on the right, on site to oversee the arrival of medical donations for Anera.

With a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from the Jordan University of Science and Technology, Hadeel chose to be a pharmacist because the profession combines science and service, “I value the opportunity to interact with patients and provide them with personalized care and education. It’s a rewarding and fulfilling career that allows me to use science and help others.” Like so many others, Hadeel has learned invaluable lessons in the field that are transferable to all areas of life.

“Throughout my career, I have learned that when I’m faced with challenges, I focus on altering the circumstances rather than blaming individuals. Seek solutions, adapt strategies, and maintain a positive outlook. I have grown to learn that failure isn’t defeat; it’s a stepping stone toward improvement.”

Meet Hanan: Mechanical Engineer

Hanan in hard hat and face mask at the training program.
Hanan has a passion for mechanical engineering.

Hanan is a 19-year-old mechanical engineering student enrolled in Anera’s UNICEF-supported training program in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon. She wants to enhance her skill set and become a role model for girls who share her passion for all things mechanical. 

“In our society, everyone sees mechanical engineering as a male profession,” Hanan says, “but I reject that bias and say every person should be able to pursue any career regardless of gender.”

Meet Sara’: Computer Programmer

Sara’ says she surprised herself with the programming abilities she learned in this course.

Sara’ is a 23-year-old Syrian in Lebanon with a bachelor degree in informational technology. She decided to enroll in one of Anera’s computer programming courses after struggling to find a job after graduating, which had an impact on her mental health.

“For me, bettering my mental health meant finding a purpose. So I focused on my technical skills — and one of the things I did was to join this course.”

Her self-esteem improved knowing that she is contributing to society through teaching children coding. Sara’ is generating income to support herself and her family and is on her way towards recovery.

Meet Tamara: Medical Donations Coordinator in the West Bank

Tamara works in the West Bank as the medical donations coordinator for Anera.

“As a doctor of pharmacy, I am driven by a deep desire to help others and positively impact their lives,“ says Tamara Al Jundi, medical donations officer at Anera. “Recognizing that health is fundamental to well-being, I use my knowledge and experience to ensure equitable access to medication and medical commodities for vulnerable populations. This mission fuels my dedication to the medical donations program in the West Bank, where I strive to improve the lives of those most in need.

Tamara faces unique circumstances as a Palestinian health professional in the West Bank, “Daily struggles with checkpoints, closures, escalations, and barriers mean long travel times and even the risk of not reaching my destination. Yet, knowing that I’m part of a vital effort to deliver aid to those who desperately need it fills me with purpose. This unwavering commitment to a humanitarian mission fuels my resolve to overcome any obstacle and keep striving to fulfill the responsibility I’ve embraced.”

Looking back at her career, Tamara reflects on the value of positivity, “ I also learned to approach challenges with a fruitful mindset, recognizing that setbacks don’t define us but instead fuel our drive to improve and strive for excellence.”



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