Mind over matter: Lama Younis interview

Saudi academic and entrepreneur Lama Younis reveals why she set up the Hissah Enrichment Centre, and how she aims to develop individuals, communities, and cultural perspectives in the GCC region

“You were born unique and you should continue your life journey being unique,” exclaims the animated young entrepreneur sitting across the table from me, addressing the region’s females from her office in Dubai’s Knowledge Village.

“As a Saudi woman I found it incredibly challenging to get to where I am today. I wish for women out there to follow what they really want to be, what they really, truly, passionately believe in.

“Don’t just follow the crowd. I find it sad that you see so many women trying to do cupcakes. One person does it, and then 10,000 women want to do it too, just to be on Instagram!” she continues.

“I’m not a fashion designer, but I love shopping for clothes. I’m not a baker, but I love eating cakes. I’m not an artist, but I love the history and story behind each piece. I’m a forensic psychologist and criminologist and I love what I do.”

The woman issuing this rallying cry for women across the Middle East to pursue their unique destinies is Lama Younis, founder of the Hissah Enrichment Centre, and advocate for personal and societal improvement.

An academic high achiever who recently entered the world of entrepreneurship, Younis is vocal in her belief that individuals, families and communities can be transformed through empowerment, and has put her money firmly where her mouth is.

Hissah – named in honour of Younis’s mother – was launched in December 2013 with the aim of enriching interpersonal skills, developing personal empowerment, and improving social relationships on personal and professional levels for adults, youths, and children.

And while Younis’s particular area of interest is the understanding, education, and prevention of child abuse in the region, the Hissah Enrichment Centre caters for a much wider array of needs.

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