By Marian Choueifati
How do we give a voice to Arab women? Give them a pen.
In a region where women’s voices have often been stifled, the “Voice for Arab Women” project, organized by DMAH, seeks to empower Arab women through the power of the pen. The third and final writing workshop recently concluded, equipping 12 talented Arab women from various countries, including Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, and KSA, with the strategies and tools to enhance their writing talents. This project aims to publish three books as part of the “VFAW” series, featuring essays from a total of 36 Arab women, each sharing their experiences, views, and success stories from a clear biblical perspective.
“Success comes when we surrender. When writing about success stories, be realistic and show the imperfections, because there is redemption in success” – Mrs. Keila.
Importance of Having a Voice for Arab Women
Why is it vital to give Arab women a voice? The answer lies in the transformative potential of their stories. Arab women have unique experiences and insights that are often overlooked or misrepresented in mainstream narratives. By providing them with a platform to share their voices, we create an opportunity to challenge stereotypes, misconceptions, and societal norms that have held them back for generations.
When Arab women are encouraged to share their successes, challenges, and perspectives, it opens doors for greater dialogue and understanding within their communities and beyond. In addition, it contributes to building a more compassionate and understanding society, which aligns with Christian values of community, unity, and bearing witness to God’s work. These stories serve as a powerful source of inspiration and encouragement for others, motivating them to overcome obstacles and pursue their aspirations fearlessly, in harmony with God’s will for their lives.
The Outcome of the Conference
The two-day training, led by author Mrs. Keila Ochoa and Pastor Suheil Madanat, proved to be a transformative experience for the attending women. The interactive and motivational sessions left plenty of room for contributions and participation, enabling the women to not only enhance their writing skills but also to explore the importance of cultural context in their work.
The trainees learned about the intricacies of the writing process, including different writing styles, how to incorporate fiction techniques in non-fiction texts, and the art of crafting a compelling narrative. The guidance they received on how to honor their audience ensures that their stories will resonate deeply with readers.
Beyond the writing techniques, the conference facilitated meaningful connections between the women. During break times, they shared personal stories, affirmed each other’s talents, and received one-on-one guidance from the writing coaches. This atmosphere of support and camaraderie further strengthened their resolve to be the voice of Arab women within their communities.
Making a Difference in the Arab World
The “Voice for Arab Women” project and its emphasis on supporting local authors hold immense significance for the Arab world. As the publishing landscape in the Middle East faces unique obstacles, providing a platform for local authors to share their voices becomes crucial in enriching Christian communities with relevant resources.
Local authors possess a deep understanding of the region’s culture, traditions, and societal nuances. This cultural relevance allows them to communicate Christian teachings effectively within the local context, bridging the gap between faith and daily life.
Furthermore, their fluency in Arabic and understanding of the language’s subtleties enable them to convey Christian principles and teachings in ways that resonate with Arabic speakers, making the message easily understood and relatable.
In addition to serving as cultural ambassadors, local Christian authors play a vital role in promoting dialogue and fostering understanding between different religious and ethnic groups. By addressing issues unique to the community, they can challenge stereotypes and correct misconceptions about Christianity in the Arab world, leading to a more accurate representation of their faith.
Storytelling changes lives because it is through authentically sharing their stories and testifying to what God has done in their lives, that these writers would impact other women from all over the world with rays of hope. Women need to see and acknowledge that the hardships they are going through do not define them. Their value emanates from God Himself who sees them through the eyes of Jesus who forgives, redeems, and restores.
The “Voice for Arab Women” project and the recent writing workshop have taken significant strides in empowering Arab women to find their voices through writing. By providing them with the tools, support, and platform to share their stories, we enable them to be catalysts for change in the Arab world. As these women become role models and leaders in their communities, their impact will reach far beyond the written page, inspiring a new generation of thinkers, writers, and empowered individuals.