This interview is a part of Ananke’s special edition celebrating The Fred Hollows Foundation’s 30 years of change making in the fields of eye health and development. The Special Edition can be viewed here.
Let us begin by you telling us about yourself?
My name is Shahd Al Jumaily, I’m an Iraqi architect, Events planner, and TV host. I’ve been living in the UAE for over 15 years, and I consider it my second home where I studied and started my business.
With your immense body of work as a media personality and influencer, what are some of the highlights of your stellar career?
I’ve been through many different stages in my career and I loved watching it evolve as I got older, from starting my own business as a student to opening my events company after graduation, each step was a highlight for me at the time. One of the things I value the most is hosting my talk show on MBC Iraq, because I was able to discuss controversial topics that are mainly focused on women and gave them a platform to share their stories.
You have been appointed recently to become The Fred Hollows Foundation’s ambassador. Tell us how this relationship began and why?
I was honored to be chosen by The Fred Hollows Foundation to be one of their ambassadors in the Middle East. I was more than happy to join this role because of the incredible work and values that this foundation focuses on, especially that it sheds light on women in many struggling countries. We started by discussing our ideas and future projects, which can help promote this vision in the best way possible, and the relationship grew from there.
What does it mean “ending avoidable blindness and vision impaired” to Shahd?
It means doing the best we can, all of us as individuals, to help people get their lives back and give them a better future. This is the power of vision, it improves not only the life of the person suffering, but also everyone around him/her, their families, and the society as a whole. Especially, 90 percent of blindness and vision loss can be prevented or treated using known solutions.
Being a media personality and influencer, how can you play an influencing role to contribute to The Foundation’s vision: create a world in which no person is needlessly blind or vision impaired.
I think the main focus is to deliver the message, as simple as that. Awareness is a very powerful thing, sometimes there are no solutions simply because people aren’t aware of them. Our mission is to shed light on the issue, and explain how simple and attainable the solution is. That on its own can change lives.
The Foundation is celebrating 30 years of impactful changemaking this year, any last words?
I’m beyond proud of all the work that The Fred Hollows Foundation has achieved throughout these years, and even more proud that I can be a part of it and support in any way possible. I hope that this vision and message continues to grow, reaching and helping as many people as possible from all over the world, that’s the best thing we can do for our societies and people.