Born for entrepreneurship: Batool’s challenging journey

August 16, 2022

Batool Muhiessn, entrepreneur and an activist

UNDP Jordan

Young women with disability have been realizing significant milestones for centuries despite structural and cultural barriers. Young women with disabilities face double discrimination due to their gender and disabilities. They have limited opportunities, as they either live in a way that is limited due to social constraints or fight for their path in life. They are challenging the narrative and carving up space to advance their lives overcoming obstacles they face while supporting others along their journey.

Batool Muhiessn is a 26-year-old young woman born with Cerebral palsy (brain paralysis). Batool has impaired mobility which reduces the range of motion for various joints of her body. She was able to partially walk with extensive physical therapy at a younger age. living with her parents and younger brother, she completed her school with the support of the family. She said, “As the only child with a disability in my family, I believe that it was a shock for them as well as a blessing. My school years were hard, and I faced numerous obstacles, but I graduated”. Today, Batool is an activist and an entrepreneur leading an initiative that provides support for children with disabilities. She is the only young woman with a disability participating in UNDPs “Jordan in Figures” initiative implemented in partnership with Jordan Economic Forum.

Batool was not sure what her life will look like after high school, however, her disability didn’t stop her. “I remember I was confused on what to do next, I used to paint during school but my disability, not being able to use a pen to draw made it an impossible task”, Batool added. Her passion for drawing back then made her think about how she can upscale her drawing skills, she discovered that drawing can be easier using innovative software, and she enrolled herself in a graphic design diploma course using graphic software and learned to draw easily.

She said, “I remember I looked at myself in the mirror after my first job rejection and asked myself how I look different, and how can I change that”. This setback didn’t stop her”. Her passion for drawing led her to start her small business, Be Creative Jordan, focusing on designing and printing calendars and notebooks with drawings and quotes about people with disability.

Now, a devoted activist for the rights of people with disability, she advocates and gave awareness in schools on the rights of people with disability and the need for inclusive approaches to support them. “Be Creative for Children and Youth”, became Batool’s passion. A Specialised platform she set up to provide creative pedagogical and educational tools, using fun educational techniques for children employing innovative approaches. Furthermore, and as part of this initiative, she developed manuals that can synthesize the public on the proper methods to interact with people with disability. “The idea of the initiative focusing on inclusion was born out of my personal experience and suffering”, she added.

Despite the challenges that come with entrepreneurship, it was the vehicle in which Batool was able to channel her passion, promote inclusive practices and support young people with disabilities

Her initiative targets everyone interested and eager to learn more about new innovative inclusive tools. “This initiative has a special place in my heart, I worked hard to reach this level. I am confident that what comes next is greater as well”, Batool said.

As a young activist, Batool forced herself to participate in several national and regional programs and conferences tackling several subjects that interest her. She needed to learn more and to raise her voice as a woman and as a person with a disability.

One of 24 young men and women in the “Jordan in Figures” initiative led by UNDP and the Jordan Economic Forum through a series of data-driven debates that brings together the development community (policymakers, media, civil society organizations, and youth) in an open dialogue about key development priorities and challenges in Jordan, reflecting in retrospect on 2020 and the next decade of action in the countdown to 2030.

Batool's participation in this initiative is vital, her character was what this initiative looking for. “I can sum up Jordan in Figures initiative in two words a ‘learning journey”. This journey focused my perspectives and sharpened my skills”, Batool said. The initiative tackled numbers throughout the several boot camps convened for the participants, as well as touched base on some subjects related to youth challenges and alternative approaches to finding solutions”, she added. This initiative is distinctive as it comes from the youth themselves with a focus on interpersonal development, Economic Leadership, and Data-Born Insight.

Batool’s engagement with UNDP Jordan brought important personal experiences and nuances in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and support for creating an equal and inclusive society where the rights and needs of young men and women with disabilities are respected.