Saida Ibrahimava is one of the Co-founder of International youth organization called Youth to Youth Initiative, based in Lithuania. At the moment the organization has several chapters throughout the world and it performs its activities on the global arena. She has more than ten years of successful experience in the nonprofit sector and more than five years working experience for governmental institutions.
Currently, she serves as a Director of Projects Development under Y2Y Action Hub (an interactive online incubator for socially beneficial ideas, concepts, startups, projects and initiatives created by youth and for youth).
She enjoys focusing on the topics of youth leadership, Human Rights and dignity, deradicalization of youth, peace-building, social entrepreneurship, arts and culture, and has a strong passion for sustainability education.
She is the UNAOC Fellowship alumna, One Young World Coordinating Ambassador for Eastern Europe and Asia, the Co-author of couple youth initiatives and the Co-creator of several Leadership programmes, including Leaders to Leaders Training in Hong-Kong.
Here are some eye-catching parts from Saida Ibrahimava the Co- founder of Youth to Youth Initiative.
SUKONNA: Tell us about you?
Saida Ibrahimava: My name is Saida Ibrahimava, I come from Belarus but currently reside in Moscow, Russia. I have been successfully working on implementation of projects for the last decade, both in the nonprofit sector and governmental institutions. For this period of time I have launched and implemented more than twenty projects in the sphere of social inclusion, youth development, education, sport and volunteer movements. I have earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in International Relations from Belarusian State University and Masters of Arts in International Economy and Politics from Charles University in Prague.
Three years ago I became the Co-founder of International youth organization called “Youth to Youth Initiative”, based in Lithuania. At the moment the organization has several chapters throughout the world and it performs its activities on the global arena.
I am UNAOC Fellowship alumna, One Young World Coordinating Ambassador for Eastern Europe and Asia, the Co-author of couple youth initiatives and the Co-creator of several Leadership programmes, including Leaders to Leaders Training in Hong-Kong.
Based on my academic background, I also serve as the trainer and a lecturer on the topic of youth deradicalization and a peaceful integration in the society.
SUKONNA: Tell us about your organization?
Saida Ibrahimava: Youth to Youth (Y2Y) Initiative’s mission is to make the youth community stronger and more skilled/skillful by empowering youth, giving them the tools and appropriate training, teaching them skills, and providing networking opportunities around the world in the areas of social innovation, intercultural dialogue, project management, and sustainable development of communities. The organization was founded in 2015 in Lithuania but with an international mandate.
Y2Y works on the three levels: through organizing and bringing to the global leadership community International Summits; through launching, implementing and sustainably developing socially-beneficial projects at “Youth to Youth Action Hub” (a highly responsive, community-driven online incubator and accelerator), and, finally, through trainings, summer schools and workshops aimed to strengthen skills and empower local community.
SUKONNA: How did you start?
Saida Ibrahimava: Y2Y started as a collaboration of three girls from Poland, Lithuania and Belarus who wanted to organize an event for youth without engaging stakeholders able to influence the agenda or place their commercial or other interests in it. The event was designed purely by young people for young people tackling the most pressing issues. The success of the event gave us an idea to build an annual framework for such events. This is how “Youth to Youth Initiative” started.
SUKONNA: When did you start your journey and how was it?
Saida Ibrahimava: In the very beginning we had absolutely no idea where this path will lead us, we were full of romantic views and our aim was overall blurry. I think this is what 95% of startups feel and go through. Since time, we grew, transformed the structure of the organization, lost some core team members and gained others. The path was rather hilly with ups and downs but in my opinion, it was only the way to see what are the core activities to leave and develop, what are to give up on. At the moment we are going through another resctucturization because any organization is a living body and requires adaptation to the new trends and global developments.
SUKONNA: Who is the inspiration behind your decision to become an entrepreneur?
Saida Ibrahimava: Actually I have never had a clear picture in my mind of me being an entrepreneur. I just followed my inner voice when we started to prepare the 1st Summit just as an informal group. Half a year after, when we were registering the NGO, I realized that it was it. It was the exactly thing I wanted to do in my life. This is the moment and that is the feeling when I always pull out from my memory when in doubts. This is my motivation to go forward because there is nothing to compare to the feeling of finding your own way.
SUKONNA: What kind of work your organization do?
Saida Ibrahimava: As I have mentioned already, Y2Y provides for youth from all over the world opportunities to learn, implement their ideas and projects and network for making the impact bigger. It empowers communities and stands for sustainable development. We organize international and regional summits, we provide separate trainings and workshops and complex courses on leadership, social entrepreneurship and innovations at summer school, we organize and inspire to organize others local community talks on important to youth topics, we develop and implement socially-beneficial ideas, action plans and projects submitted by youth in our online incubator.
SUKONNA: What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
Saida Ibrahimava: Like any other startup or young organization, we have experienced and, sometimes, we still do now fundraising problems. This area is one of the most challenging and requires big investments of time and efforts. I guess we are still learning how to do it in the best way. Apart from fundraising, we had a problem of a communicative nature. Our team is international and the majority of people reside in different time zones what makes the process of internal communication difficult. We have tried many diverse platforms and co-working spaces to adjust the communication inside the team but it wasn’t easy. The secret lays in the balance between several most used spaces for online work. We combined Skypes with Facebook team chats, Google drive and What’sApp.
SUKONNA: What is your future plan?
Saida Ibrahimava: Something that has never changed is our global aims. We still plan to turn the incubating system of “Y2Y Action Hub” into a universal space for youth to develop their projects. This process is rather costly as it requires big financial investments as well as technologically it’s very challenging but we are constantly working on the improving the idea and attracting partners to collaborate on its creation.
SUKONNA: Can you tell us about any habits you have/things you do, which set up success every day?
Saida Ibrahimava: I have a calendar that I always carry with me. It’s a thing that is in charge of my time. I put all my thoughts there, record minutes after meetings, mark appointments and write tasks to do. I believe that such habit will help you to control your time, to prioritize your tasks and be always on time for any meeting. Another point is our visual memory. Writing important things or complex matters will help you to memorize them if necessary. It’s quite handy, plus, if you are bored, you can always draw there.
SUKONNA: What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Saida Ibrahimava: The most important in the life of social entrepreneur is a discipline. It’s hard to be in control when visibly there is no control. So I would suggest developing any sort of skills and acquiring any tools that will help you to organize your time and your work.
SUKONNA: We would like to ask you about your Favorite Quotes.
Saida Ibrahimava: My favorite quote is… It’s a quote by Henry Ford: “There is no man living who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can do.”
SUKONNA: Thanks a lot, Saida Ibrahimava for sharing your story with our readers.
Saida Ibrahimava: Thanks to SUKONNA. I wish SUKONNA good luck.