Sajida Raza, 22, is a 3rd year medical student attending Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan. She comes from the Chitral area in the mountainous northern areas of Pakistan. It has no hospitals, only a few medical clinics, and it is often cut off from the rest of the world for months during winter.
With it’s potential to have a significant influence on the development of a more equal society, pursuing a STEM career in the digital age provides real possibilities for women across the world Elvire's pursuit of a doctorate in forest sciences comes from her passion for fighting climate change and her ambition to be a positive role model and flag bearer for women in science.
Lucia is pursuing a three-year doctorate in international public and monetary law at The World Trade Institute at the University of Bern. She is on a full scholarship, supplemented by support from the Spark of Hope Foundation.
As STEM industries continue to grow, so will their significance and power to drive societal progress. If women continue to make up just 29% of this workforce, the pace at which gender equality can be achieved globally will inevitably slow. But this doesn’t have to be the future,
“Girls [in these situations] never dare to speak up for their rights” because they live in a male-dominated society where speaking out could lead to punishment and even death. Usra is determined she can changes the lives of these young girls and women. She quickly realized that the answer is education.
Zarrina Abdulalieva is a mid-career professional in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, who completed her studies at the LSE, UK, She returned to Tajikistan in early 2017, where she is with the World Bank, focused on the design and implementation of a comprehensive sustainable development strategy that addresses environmental challenges in an efficient and transparent manner. “Providing clean, sustainable energy is not only crucial to eradicate poverty but also to fight environmental problems such as global warming,” she states emphatically.
The STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—industries are at the forefront of the gender gap in the 21st century. As the world becomes increasingly digitized, the need for workers in STEM-related industries is exploding. Chahd Mazyan, a Palestinian medical student studying in Lebanon, is one such example of someone driving change in a STEM field.
Cindy's goal of pursuing a career in medicine at the Universidad Cristiana Autonoma de Nicaragua is to not only fulfill her desire to help others, but to also improve her family’s quality of life. By studying medicine, Cindy is ensuring a better life for herself and her family while also inspiring her younger siblings to work hard in the pursuit of their goals.
Azernoosh is a dedicated 32-year-old pursuing her PhD in Globalization and International Economic Law at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. Originally from the Islamic Republic of Iran, Azernoosh was born into a society that had just gone through a revolution and radical change in government. She has a passion for research, international relations, international economic law, and development.
Aya Al Sayed is a 27 year-old Palestinian refugee currently studying medicine at Lebanese American University in Beirut where she has completed four years and hopes to pursue pediatrics. “I want to come back to work in the camps. I feel at home in my community, they respect me, and I want to help them.”
Laylo Merali is originally from Tajikistan and moved to Geneva, Switzerland. Pursuing her education at the University of Geneva, Laylo earned a Master’s degree in international policy & security through a program that is partnered with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). This program fosters a genuinely global centre with individuals from a variety of backgrounds and fields of expertise. “I believe that stability and development are closely related – one cannot occur without the other one. I want to make a difference by ensuring that developing countries and international organizations have well-considered policies that promote stability.”
Israa Isaa is a 23-year-old Palestinian refugee from the Mieh Mieh refugee camp near Sidon in south Lebanon. The camp was established 60 years ago and suffered heavy damage during Lebanon’s civil war. It is overcrowded, there are frequent water shortages, and health care is poor.
Shabina Jabeen, a 30 year-old science teacher from Hunza, Pakistan, completed a Master’s Degree in Educational Development at the Aga Khan University in Karachi in 2016 with the support of the Spark of Hope Foundation. Her story is defined by a fierce determination to pursue opportunities that most of us would easily take for granted, including the opportunity to achieve a higher education. Through her determination and the assistance she’s received, Shabina now has the potential to impact the education, health and lives of teachers and in turn, thousands of students over the rest of their lives.
20-year-old May Al-Herek has been witness to atrocities people in nations at peace cannot begin to comprehend. May is from Syria, a country that has experienced civil war since 2011. ISIS controls parts of Syria’s territory and has carried out massacres near May’s hometown of Hama. In Syria, May was a top student, but with conditions deteriorating rapidly, she took the opportunity to leave the country on a scholarship to the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh with the help of a collaboration between the University and the Spark of Hope Foundation.
Joanna is passionate about community development, particularly the development of infrastructure. She is frustrated by her country’s dependence on foreign firms to carry out local development projects while using locals as laborers, rather than passing on necessary skills and expertise. As a skilled civil engineer, Joanna plans to promote the training of locals in her community.
Tahira’s undergraduate professional studies have served as a key to achieve her goals, but she knew that to advance academically, she would need to pursue a graduate degree. She knows that her time at AKU-IED will be a key tool to help her broaden her vision and understanding as an educational professional. Tahira knows that completing her M. Ed. will allow her to serve her school and community more effectively.
The mountainous geography and harsh climate of the area where Seema Ali comes from makes it difficult for people to pursue education or secure employment. A lack of educational facilities has led to a high school dropout rate, high unemployment, and increased illegal activity and suicide rates. She developed a keen interest in the education and development of marginalized and financially disadvantaged people. Her goal is to start a school system in Northern Pakistan to make quality education accessible and affordable.
To Guljahon, a scholarship from The Spark of Hope Foundation means a chance to make a positive impact on the world. It will allow her to pursue higher education at Wartburg College in business management and entrepreneurship. Her wish is to give back in such a way that she can have a positive impact on the world.
When Jodi-Ann began her MBA program, she was on her way to fulfilling a dream that was ten years in the making. In 2006, she set a goal to complete a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), and began working towards that goal immediately by gaining work experience and saving all her earnings to put towards her education. Her hard work paid off when, in 2015, she was accepted to the University of British Columbia.