Manara Asad is an entrepreneur, activist and one of the winners of the global Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge. Her team, Muntjatna, is creating an online platform to help displaced people in Sudan sell their handmade products internationally. This UNICEF Youth Advocate shares her thoughts on fleeing her home, supporting internally displaced people and empowering others.
Welcome to Voices of Youth, Manara! Tell us a bit about yourself and what led you to become a UNICEF Youth Advocate.
I studied at the University of Khartoum, in the department of Zoology. I participated in UNICEFs Generation Unlimited challenge and last April my team became one of the global champions.
I was chosen to represent Sudan in the second Pan African Youth Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in the Nasser Leadership Fellowship for African Youth in Cairo, Egypt, and in the Youth Connekt Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. I volunteered to organize the Africa Science week as a scientist in the parasitology field and became the event organizer in 2019.
Also, I became a 'NEF' (Next Einstein Forum) Ambassador from 2019 to 2021 and was nominated to represent Sudan in the Euro-Arab Youth Forum about Dialogue on Peace and Security in Budapest, Hungary.
I hope to change the world through education and awareness campaigns.
Congratulations for winning the global Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge with your team’s project, Muntjatna.
Tell us about this online platform.
We created Muntjatna after we saw that youth in the Nivasha refugee camp, in Sudan, create amazing handmade products, but don’t have enough opportunities or income to invest in education. And they work with brick kilns that are very harmful to their health.
We built this online platform to help them sell their products internationally and to reinvest the income in youth education in the camp.
How did you come to live in the Nivasha Camp?
My father was killed when I was four years old. We had to flee our village in 2003 due to the conflict in Darfur, and then we lived in a house made of cloth that gave us no protection from the heat. Due to the high number of people in the camp, diseases spread widely.
What is the issue that you are most interested in?
I am passionate about developing youth and raising awareness of their rights through advocacy and mobilization. I’m also interested in human rights, education, and climate change.
What are your ambitions for the future?
My goals are to become a leader for women in the fields of Science and Industry and to be an international ambassador for UN Women. I hope to change the world through education and awareness campaigns.
What advice do you have for other young people who want to pursue impact like you?
To motivate and inspire them, to become a consultant for youth and children.