Social/Human Rights Activist & Graphic Designer, Istanbul

I met Mona on a long airplane ride from Indonesia to UAE. What an inspiration she is. Not only was she moving to Turkey (on that very flight) she was hoping to combine the background in graphic design with the Syrian refugee crisis work. This inspirational young lady has driven with convoys into Syria to distribute the medical supplies and food to the communities there, all while the IS soldiers looked on. 

1. Name

Mona Arafat.

2. Where is your hometown, country?

Well, I always find this question very confusing , I can't define "hometown" , because deep inside me , I find mixture of cultures and nations, in a way that this answer won't represent any useful information about me. But in any case, I'm originally Syrian, born and raised in Saudi Arabia, currently living in Istanbul. 

3. What is your profession/career/title/self-label/designation?

I have just finished my degree in graphic design, but I would rather say that I'm a social/human rights activist.

4. What was the journey like to get where you are (career wise)? When was the mental shift to start the journey? (& What made you interested in refugee issues? And how did you ultimately end up on that convoy truck?)

It feels like I have been always waiting for a chance to do this, waiting to get old enough to leave alone, but I have never expected it to be this close, in my head, it was more of Africa, India, anywhere that help would be needed. When Syrian crisis broke out, it was very hard for us to keep watching from distance while children, women and men were suffering every day to get the rest of their human rights and daily needs! I lay down every night next to my brothers knowing that some kids just around their age are struggling all night away from their bedrooms, houses, families, and country! A friend of mine told me that she had this Idea in her head, a convoy for children! A convoy for children it was :)

5. Biggest accomplishment since deciding to work with a Non-profit dedicated to helping Syrian populations? (Any stories you want to note?)

It’s not a big accomplishment or anything, but it's just something I like to remember every-time I have an idea and worry of how effective it would be. There was this camp where we visit every once and a while , we used to sing song with the children that would bring them some joy , they were just funny , but at the same time the singing together with one tone make them bind and reconnect . One time, we were coming back for them after a long time, kids where everywhere near the doors singing the songs to show us that they still remember! 

6. What was biggest disappointment and plan to overcome it? (Any stories you want to note?)

We couldn't do any convoys (to Syria) in a long time now due to the circumstances. 

7. Advice for other women?

Connect with yourself, know what you want and believe that no one and nothing ever can stop you from reaching it but yourself! 

8. Where in the world do you feel “tallest”?

I'm short :) 

9. What is the future goal/challenge (career goals in 5-10 years)?

I'm going through an internal exploring phase right now, so maybe I would have and better answer in few months.

10. What fears are you still hoping to overcome?

Fear of sickness. 

11. What inspires you?

People who would never give up on all goodness they have within no matter what they go through. Beauty, colors and smells :) 

12. Would you do anything differently if you had to do it all over?

Not yet :)

13. Who is a “WOW Woman” in your life who inspires you (and why)?

I believe there is A WOW moment in every women's life. But in general, I WOW deep inside me whenever I see a woman who succeeded in finding balance in her life, has a wonderful career life, a great loving family, but at the same time she hasn't forgotten herself in all this mess ! I wish I would be able to do that :)

14. Where can others find you/your work (links to websites, blogs, etc.)?

On Facebook


and on Huffington Post Arabic.