“True Happiness Comes from Giving Back to Society”

Duaa is a Sudanese pharmacist, global health activist, who strives to inspire people to lead healthy lives. Duaa is deeply interested in women and children health. She is a life member of the national emergency response program (SAIND), UAE and the International Pharmaceutical Federation Program (FIP), and ministry of the Health Youth Council. Duaa organized her first initiative in Sudan (Dawaey) to help people who can’t afford medications. She seeks to lead global health in the MENA region and to empower women.

Q: Tell us a few things about your country, and also your life's story!

A: At a very early age, I used to watch my father reading the newspaper and watching the news, I found myself doing the same thing, maybe I wanted to feel like a grownup, somehow I started to see the world in a different way, I came to realize that the world is bigger than what I thought, and I was amazed by the diversity of people and culture. Unfortunately, I had to discover also that one fact, that had made a remarkable change in my personality. “We have something that others don’t “, this fact made me believe that if I knew what's wrong I could subsequently fix it. My father was mostly watching the national channel of SUDAN, and yes SUDAN is my home country. Few years from that time, my father had to take us from SUDAN, due to the ongoing conflict and the civil war that led to deterioration in the living circumstances. We moved to the United Arab Emirates.

Q: What is your view of the world as it is today? And how do you define the concept of a better world?

A: As I grow in the UAE, I learned more about accepting people from different backgrounds, races, and religions. Moreover, I have gained in-depth knowledge and understanding of the numerous inequities that exist in this world and came to that intrinsic belief that no one should lack to basic needs and resources such as food, healthcare, clean water, and proper housing and sanitation. Living in the UAE, make me believe that I am a citizen of the world.

Q: What are some of the key challenges in your society?

A: Inequality is a major problem in Sudan, many people lack basic needs such as health, education, clean water, and you are able to get these only if you are rich.

Q: As a woman what are a few of the hurdles that you had to overcome up until today?

A: As a woman, I faced many challenges, especially in the job market. I always had to prove that I am competent enough in my work and to be able to be in a powerful position.

Q: Why is the role of a mentor important for you?

A: A mentor may share with the mentee information about his or her own career path, as well as provide guidance, motivation, emotional support, and role modelling. A mentor may help with exploring careers, setting goals, developing contacts, and identifying resources.

Q: Do you have a lesson that life has taught you and you would like to share?

A: True happiness comes from giving back to society.

Q: Name a project, a foundation or a person in your country that you think is doing great work in helping improve other people's lives!

A: The project of "Mojadadon", it's an NGO that works on street children in Sudan. They aim to provide street children with food, clothing, shelter and education.

Q: What are some of the challenges that women in your country face and what efforts are made towards gender equality?

  • The limited jobs for women in Sudan
  • Early Marriage
  • Low level of education for women in Rural area

Q: Athena40 is the first ever global selection of the top 40 women forward thinkers, commentators, activists, authors, academics, entrepreneurs, executives, innovators. Can you think of a truly innovative and forward-thinking woman from your country that you wish to nominate for the Athena40 global list?

A: I would like to nominate myself because I think I have gone through different experiences, and I learned a lot, and I feel it's my turn to give back.

Q: Share with us a phrase, a poem or a story that you love or you find interesting!

A: “A Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tell me not, in mournful numbers, Life is but an empty dream!

For the soul is dead that slumbers, And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal;

Dust thou art, to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul. 

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way;

But to act, that each tomorrow Find us farther than today. 

Art is long, and Time is fleeting, And our hearts, though stout and brave,

Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave. 

In the world’s broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life,

Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife! 

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead!

Act,—act in the living Present! Heart within, and God o’erhead! 

Lives of great men all remind us. We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time;— 

Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,

A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again. 

Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate;

Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait.

Q: Tell us one thing that you have learned from your mentor.

A:  She helped me in thinking about writing my own book and motivated me.