Travel is a language that brings people closer together, a bridge that connects East and West and makes the world a more humane and harmonious place. Meet the enthusiastic 25 year old Haifa Beseisso a great ambassador representing Muslim girls abroad; she turned her passion for travel into means to convey messages of love and coexistence which often most media fail to portray.
AWM met Haifa Beseisso founder of Fly with Hiafa and we talked about the idea behind her project, how it started and what objectives are behind it,
After my dad’s passing my mother raised me and my sister on her own. She taught us that success is attainable if we believed it as such, she always told us there is nothing impossible in this life and we can achieve all what we desire with persistence and determination. She always told us that when we work we must show the best of what we’ve got and give it our all. She also taught us the value of time and to take advantage of it, and to make challenges a reason for success. The many lessons I learned from my mother still guide me and pave the way for my success, her words are always in my mind and every time I face a challenge I think of things she taught me.
Tell us about your education and how you started your career and later your project?
In 2012 I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Information and Communication Studies from the American University in Dubai. Soon after I landed a job in one of the major Middle East broadcasting corporations, and although my dream was to be a presenter and in front of the camera but I was given a back stage position instead, due to me wearing the Islamic veil. This gave me the motivation and drive to prove myself and show that my veil is not an obstacle that prevents me from being a successful presenter; I was determined to turn this challenge and make it a reason to succeed.
During my work I got an opportunity to travel to the USA and other countries for a program relating to travel, I noticed on my trip people’s passion and curiosity to learn more about our culture. I saw the warm welcome that I received from people when I applied the equation of (my veil + a smile) I always raised people’s curiosity about me and my Islamic culture. I was happy to answer their questions and show them that Arab Muslim girls are capable of doing anything. I believed and still believe the magical power of a smile and beautiful bright colors in attire, plus confidence have a positive effect on others and can go a long way.
On these trips I applied one of the old lessons I was taught; to make most of my time, I wanted to take advantage of every minute of my tour and from here came the idea of documenting through video some of our expeditions while walking in the streets and asking people what is your dream? We made 5 unique videos that reflect the different cultures we visited.
The videos were a success and got large number of views which encouraged me to take it a step further and follow my dream; after building this base I resigned from my job and focused my energy on my project “Fly with Haifa”.
Here I would like to take the opportunity and give thanks to Idea Media Productions that support my work through production and management aspects.
I am proud to say that today we have made 25 videos that reached around one and a half million views worldwide.
Our episodes include Asia and Africa; some of our unique and most viewed episodes are from Zanzibar and another from Korea where the theme revolved around tasting some of our Arabic dishes.
Now we have two more playlists in the works one that is focused on Arabs answering their questions and another for Westerners that clarify aspects about our culture.
When you traveled was the focus just on filming “Fly with Haifa” only? And where did you get the funding for your travels?
Would you believe me if I told you that in my life I believe in the law of attraction, if you want something bad enough the universe will bring it to you one way or another. Most of my travels had different reasons, each one with its unique story, some came about from volunteer work, others were work related, I just found a way to use my time wisely and film as I went along.
What is your support system?
My biggest supporters are my family even relatives back home in Palestine always watch my videos and complement the work I’m doing. My mother was and continues to be my biggest supporter, she told me to follow my passion and make my dream come true, the many lessons she taught me are my compass and show me the way, she always encouraged me to work hard and give the best of what I know.
We know of your other talents, tell us about them?
Yes I have a passion for fashion design that is one way of portraying ones identity and I believe in the power of colors and how they influence people. I am also a voice over artist and have my share of characters that I played.
What advice do you give young girls?
Dare to dream and be creative into turning these dreams into reality, find ways to make it happen. If you believe in your vision the “how” will take care of itself. Prepare for challenges and don’t give up, turn challenges into means to success, believe in yourself, have confidence and most of all believe that anything is possible.
Follow Hiafa on her adventures on her YouTube Channel Fly With Haifa
For this interview in Arabic click here:
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