Sunday December 22, 2019
To kick off a women’s empowerment campaign, AXEER has released “Yama,” a new song featuring Zap Tharwat and Doaa El-Sebai now available on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Produced in collaboration with Hivos, “Yama” aims to spark discussions about the challenges faced by Egyptian women in various fields. “Yama” was composed by Sary Hany and the music video was directed by Yara Ayyash.
“Yama” sheds light on how Egyptian women still face many obstacles yet continue striving to fulfill their ambitions by completing their education, excelling in their careers, and assuming pioneering roles in their fields. In conjunction with the song’s release, AXEER has launched a social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter under the hashtag الكلمة_بتفرق#, (“a word makes a difference”). Through telling the story of Nada, the song’s protagonist, “Yama” emphasizes the fact that women’s surrounding communities—including family, friends, colleagues, and classmates—play an essential role in supporting women’s achievements, many of which then have a positive effect on society.
“Yama” revolves around the fictitious story of Nada Ahmed Abdullah, who lives in one of Egypt’s governorates. At the outset of the video, Nada tragically loses her young sister to heart disease, which compels Nada to study medicine and develop a cure to prevent other children from suffering a similar fate. In this story, the audience watches as Nada struggles and succeeds to convince her father to let her pursue her studies in Cairo and the difficulties that Nada faces upon arrival to this big city. The story concludes with now-Dr. Nada attending an award ceremony, where she receives recognition for her medical and research contributions, namely the development of a cardiac pacemaker which has saved the lives of many children. This final scene also highlights how Nada’s family—including her father, husband, and daughter —and the broader community join together in recognizing Nada’s achievement.
Through this story, “Yama” aims to spark discussions about how women in Egypt still struggle to exercise their rights or lack equal recognition, despite their accomplishments and contributions. Today, many women in Egypt still face significant difficulties in their day-to-day lives, such as access to safe transportation in order to study or work. The video also features how many of these challenges can be amplified outside of major urban centers such as Cairo.
As described by Muhammad Sayed, Chief Operational Officer at AXEER, “we spent several months preparing for this project, which aims to empower women in Egypt across different fields and change stereotypes which hinder Egyptian women’s efforts to successfully advance in their respective fields. For example, women are often considered unqualified to occupy leadership positions, despite many examples of women serving as ministers, leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists, and pioneers in various domains.”
Yara Ayyash, director of the “Yama” music video also shared her opinion, adding, “many women in Egypt have faced similar situations as Nada, the video’s protagonist. For example, families may refuse to let their daughters pursue fields of study where they travel far from home or to work in jobs which require long hours or are perceived as particularly difficult. Consequently, many talents are being lost and society also loses the opportunity to benefit from these contributions.”
Ayyash added, “I am happy to participate in this project which opens discussions about the obstacles and difficulties faced by Egyptian women and how each individual in our society can contribute to countering them.”
A pioneering company in the production of meaningful content and socially-conscious storytelling, AXEER has produced several projects supporting women’s empowerment in collaboration with UN Women, including: “Nour” by Zap Tharwat and Amina Khalil, which raises awareness about the need for gender equality; “Meen El Sabab” (Who is the Reason) by Zap Tharwat and Menna Hussein, which addresses sexual harassment; and a social experiment entitled “What If We Changed Roles?”
“Yama” is part of an Africa-wide, Hivos-supported women’s empowerment campaign taking place in Egypt, Kenya, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe. This campaign is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Yama is now available on AXEER’s YouTube channel here: