I had the privilege of interviewing Lubana Khaled, the founder of an international NGO dedicated to empowering women around the world
Lubana, could you start by sharing your personal journey with us? How did you come to Belgium as a Syrian migrant, and what motivated you to establish an NGO to help women globally?
My journey began as a Syrian migrant. I arrived in, ,Belgium, only speaking Arabic and English, seeking safety and a better future for myself and my family. I used to work as a lawyer in Syria. And I have witnessed a lot of injustice against woman. Even in Syria I felt the need to help them with their struggles, but I haven’t had the possibility to act and help. I thought, naively that injustice against woman didn’t exist in Europe…It was quite a negative surprise to witness that this also happens here.
I realized that to address the challenges faced by women, a sustainable and global approach was necessary. This realization became the catalyst for the establishment of my international NGO.
Can you tell us more about your NGO and the specific initiatives you undertake to support women?
Certainly. The NGO I founded is called “Zone femme,” and our mission is to empower women and support them when needed. We operated online in various countries, during COVID, providing education, skills training, sports, cooking classes,it was a true success!
‘Zone Femme’ focuses on multiple fronts. When we noticed that giving support to the children of these woman was a big need, we also focused on them – so we provide also al these classes to their children. So the mothers can breathe, or focus on something else…
That sounds incredibly impactful. How do you ensure the sustainability and long-term success of your initiatives?
Sustainability is a key aspect of our work. We believe in the power of collaboration and community engagement. When establishing our projects, we strive to involve local communities from the outset. By working with community leaders, we ensure that our initiatives align with the needs and cultural context of the areas we are in.
Moreover, we empower women to become active participants in decision-making processes, both within their communities and in our organization.
Have you faced any challenges while establishing and running your NGO, and how did you overcome them?
Establishing an NGO from scratch is never easy, and there were certainly challenges along the way. Securing funding was a significant hurdle initially, but through persistence and networking, we managed to gather the necessary resources to launch our projects. What also is very important is TEAM WORK – without people I trust, and a supportive husband, I wouldn’t have been able to do this.
Another challenge was navigating cultural differences and building trust within the communities we served. We recognized that it was essential to approach our work with sensitivity, respect local customs, and most important: speak the language and read about the laws.
Lubana, your journey and the work you do through Zone Femme are truly inspiring. Thank you so much for your collaboration.