“I believe that my passion, determination and belief are key to fostering a snowball effect of social benefits”, notes Badriya Al Siyabi*, whose passion for social work comes out vividly in her perspective on love
I Love My Work
It is me. I do it with love and passion, because I believe I can make a difference in people’s lives. Being a social worker and an ex-banker indirectly led me to become Badriya. My dream was always to be part of Omani women’s life and empower them financially where there is opportunity to do so. My work consists of a series of stories that develop through travelling both inside and outside Oman: if I don’t bring back souvenirs, mostly being food, I always carry with me stories.
I’m so proud that I was a part of Sidab Women’s Group success story. Who could imagine that a single bag stitched with love would change women’s lives in my home village Sidab, and it is the reason behind me obtaining my dream job in corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Omran; that enlightened me in identifying the difference between social work and CSR and the importance of having sustainable programmes with clear objectives, supply chains and added value.
My involvement in all initiatives was based on the community’s needs; hence, it was essential that I engage with the local communities to identify these needs. This gave me the opportunity to meet different categories of people from different backgrounds – teachers and students, entrepreneurs and artisans, business owners and workers and more. Each individual taught me something in life without their intention being so, and they taught me that each person has their own role in developing Oman.
Hence, from their stories, I became a storyteller.
From Khasab, the ladies of ‘Zaree’ taught me that sacrifices are essential in any change. They are a great example of involving women in the tourism sector and in promoting Khasab through their unique culture. I am so proud of them, as they successfully impacted the tourism industry in Oman.
Furthermore, through Salma and Aisha’s business, ‘Salma’s Chocolates’, I was taught how chocolate, made with love and Omani ingredients (except the chocolate itself!) can promote Oman, while being a leading example for youth entrepreneurship. I’m so proud of Salma and Aisha – they inspired others to follow their dreams.
Moving to Al Jabal Al Akhdar… I got a chance to visit this mountain range through my work. The task not only included engaging with the local community; I also had the chance to listen to my colleague’s stories, since I don’t drive to the Jabal. In Al Jabal Al Akdar two stories, specifically, were the most influential; they changed my perception of life.
The first story: While we were planting olive trees in the mountain, an old man approached me and thanked me, saying, “My daughter, do you know, that by planting these trees, you are also providing food for the birds and insects? May god bless you!” His words truly touched me, as I never thought of being able to have such an effect.
The second story is regarding the Farming for Hospitality initiative, whereby one of the farmers came to me and said “Do you know that now we have salads on a daily basis on our dining table…” Both stories taught me that when doing good deeds we don’t imagine how the benefit could expand.
From Khasab to Musanah, Muscat, Al Jabal Al Akhdar, Al Hamra, Masirah and Al Duqm, I met a lot of people though my journey, whose stories changed my life. For that I am truly blessed.