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Female Chimeras: Palestinian women tell the world that they are strong and capable

"It helped them and empowered them to say I’m here I exist, and you can hear my voice because I have a one"

Jerusalem24 – When she sat in the studio with us to talk about her platform; one that provides a space for women to inspire women, you could see it in her eyes, and hear it in her voice; a woman who is passionate about her message and work.

How it all started

Tala Alsharif, journalist and founder of Female Chimeras – says that majoring in journalism was a childhood dream with many obstacles, mainly being a female from Hebron, a city that’s considered to be very conservative. She says, “I went to Birzeit university in 2013, I chose to study journalism. Many people in Hebron were surprised with my choice because the field is male-dominated, and Hebron is a conservative city. Even in Birzeit University, where I studied, many were shocked that I’m from Hebron; I didn’t fit into the stereotype created about women from Hebron.”

“During my 4 years in broadcasting journalism, I’d choose stories about women for the assignments we were handed. I took the responsibility to tell my teachers and classmate how women live in Hebron. I wanted to break stereotypes about women”.

Tala points out that women are always portrayed as victims, she confirms that only 12% of Palestinian women are represented in media, 50% of this coverage spread negative models of gender equality.

The story behind the name

Chimera according to Greek mythology is a hybrid creature composed of parts from more than one animal. Tala chose the name “Female Chimeras”, as it is used to describe the strongest creatures, “when you say female chimeras it’s because women, Palestinian women, for me are the strongest in our community,” she says.

“When I first started Female Chimeras I filmed with women in Hebron, I used to always communicate with as many people as I can to find the stories and women I wanted to cover. In the beginning, I had an issue convincing them to speak in front of the camera. It was hard for them to accept to appear on a camera, to talk about sensitive topics. Because in Hebron almost everyone knows each other, and women were afraid to be exposed like that”.

Stories to Inspire

After the first and second stories were published, Female Chimeras started receiving messages on Facebook from women who wanted to share their stories. The way Tala produced her stories succeeded in achieving her goal of inspiring people and providing a space where they can live the experiences of these women; who face many challenges in their lives but breakthrough.

“When women wanted to talk about their stories, it helped and empowered them to say I’m here I exist; and you can hear my voice because I have a one”.

Tala adds, “I came by a page on Facebook while I was checking a Facebook group, “رحلة التوحد مع كنان وكيان  Autism Journey with Kinan and Kian”, a mother was talking about her twins who have autism and breaking stereotypes.

The story has more than 25k views, and an incredible number of comments supporting the mother who many say is so inspiring to them and is helping other parents to understand their kids and help them.

Power and passion to get moving

Each story has a powerful impact on Tala, “when I interview women and they start telling me their stories and the challenges they face, and how they are facing all these obstacles, how they deal with and create their paths, I look into their eyes and I can feel all the power and the passion they have, they motivate me and give me a feeling I can’t describe. When I’m down, I visit my platform and watch these stories all over again, and they immediately get me motivated”.

Everyone faces lots of obstacles in their lives, if Bushra, Sharifa, and Laura, can deal with the obstacles in their life and create their paths, I can do it too. We all can. This is how these women inspire others, she adds.

Female chimeras, started for Palestinian females to tell the world that they are strong and capable. Tala dreams of going bigger and providing this platform for women all over the world to share their stories and dreams.

For more details follow the link to the full interview!

Nadeen Alshaer

Alshaer is a Palestinian journalist, a Birzeit University graduate with a B.A. in TV and Radio Broadcasting Journalism. Alshaer has 5 years of experience in the field of reporting and presenting. Currently works as a reporter and presenter/producer for PBC and Jerusalem24. She’s a UN and Kelley School of Business alumna

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