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When a Passion Turns into a "real job"

April 20, 2017

“I’ve been told NO a million times”--Afef Ajengui, Project and Community Manager of Cogite Co-working space, expressed in her opening lines, the feeling that most youth had when walking into OYOHO Talks, first edition: 'تبّع غرامك.


(Tabaa Ghramek) 'تبّع غرامك took place the 15th of April in the youth center of Hay Ibn Khaldun in Tunis. The purpose of the event was to showcase positive examples and encourage youth in Tunisia to build plans to achieve their dreams. The event brought together inspired, motivational young Tunisian leaders to speak about how they succeeded in a creative career.


Tunisian youth from different neighborhoods around Tunis, including Ibn Khaldoun, Harariya, and even some from outside of Tunis like Kasserine and Bizerte, who are having a hard time making their career decisions and need inspirational orientation, attended the event in the hope of being inspired.  


Hosted by OYOHO, a local NGO focused on youth empowerment, 'تبّع غرامك ‘ is part of a series of events the NGO organizes called OYOHO Talks and the ‘forUs’ project.


In partnership with The U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), OYOHO launched the project ‘forUs’ which aims at facilitating the integration of youth in professional life by equipping them with soft and hard skills to achieve their personal action plans.  Unemployment in Tunisia is 15.5% (Source: National Institute of Statistics ), and even more so, youth feel limited in their career options. ‘forUs’ gave the opportunity for over 200 youth to pursue their passion while still gaining job skills that will push their careers forward. Today, they all have made great progress in reaching their dream plans.


The OYOHO Talks 'تبّع غرامك ‘ event sought to bring that same sentiment to the greater community of youth in Tunis. Eight speakers from different backgrounds showcased how they had followed their passion and made a career out of it by giving insight and nuance to the realities of what it takes to make it on your own, speaking from their own personal experiences on failure, rejection, and self-doubt, and how they turned their bad experiences into learning experiences.


Ibrahim Ben Abdallah- a well-known motivational youtuber in Tunisia and the founder and CEO of “Rebirth  For Consulting and Traineeship”- explained how he never wanted to pursue university studies, but he never knew what he wanted to do exactly. Eventually he found his passion in motivating people and coaching them in planning their personal strategies. Ibrahim has pushed youth who did get university degrees into not restricting their options and not living by excuses.


A second example of the exceptional stories of the speakers is Rym Ben Sassi who is an Anesthetist and a medical researcher who decided to choose a different career when she was expected, by her family and friends, to “have it all figured out”. Rym found her passion in Marketing and Communication and today she is the Communication Officer of Maison d’Image. Rym has inspired the audience to accept and look for change when needed.  


Sami Zekri, Meriem Aouadi, Muhammed Mkaddem, Hend Jbeli, also Fedy Kammoun offered life lessons about self-motivation and perseverance in turning their passions into successful careers. The event was emceed by Mohamed Alif Kahlani, an entrepreneur and a career counselor himself.


OYOHO Talks تبّع غرامك was not only an opportunity for self reflection and assessment but also an inspiration for starting a creative career.  We all have a strong fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for something, and these Tunisian leaders have showed us that it is not too late to look for it and let it lead us to a creative path.


This article is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Department of State. The contents are the responsibility of “Our Youth Our Hope” and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of State or the United States Government.”



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