On a mis­sion to pro­tect ‘mag­i­cal’ man­groves

Society Magazine - - From The Editor - By Ruchika Dubey

Qatar-based Jor­da­nian sis­ters Lina and Dina are on a mis­sion to save one of the most mag­i­cal places in Qatar—the man­groves in Pur­ple Is­land

Qatar-based Jor­da­nian sis­ters Lina and Dina are on a mis­sion to save one of the most mag­i­cal places in Qatar—the man­groves in Pur­ple Is­land

As Mike Krieger, In­sta­gram Co­founder, once said, “Hear­ing ‘no’ a lot of times usu­ally tells you ei­ther you’re crazy or you’re on the right track, and you don’t know which one it is un­til you fi­nally launch.”

The most awaited mo­ment for all na­ture lovers is the launch of vol­un­teer based non- profit or­gan­i­sa­tion Green Man­groves, Qatar in April 2018.

Seven­teen-year-old Lina Nayel Al Tarawneh is one of the youngest green ac­tivists in Qatar. Fell in love with the nat­u­ral won­der on a fam­ily camp­ing trip, she is cur­rently on a mis­sion to cre­ate aware­ness and con­serve Green Man­groves lo­cated in Pur­ple Is­land, Qatar. Lina is stu­dent of Qatar In­ter­na­tional School and wants to pursue course in Ar­chi­tec­ture from Qatar Uni­ver­sity in fu­ture. She be­lieves “learn­ing is syn­ony­mous to ad­ven­ture’’. Lina and her fam­ily love kayak­ing, ad­ven­tures, sports, an­i­mals too. Dur­ing a trip to man­groves in 2014, be­ing a na­ture lover, she fell in love with man­groves. She ob­served that it is not a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for peo­ple of Qatar.

Dur­ing her fre­quent visits to man­groves, she re­alised that there is lit­ter near man­groves which may dam­age na­ture. This un­pleas­ant scene made her de­pressed and urged her to think about con­ser­va­tion of man­groves and launch a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion called Green Man­groves, in an at­tempt to cre­ate aware­ness among the peo­ple of Qatar.

“You can de­sign, cre­ate and build the most won­der­ful place in the world. But it takes peo­ple to make the dream re­al­ity,” she said.

Hav­ing sim­i­lar goals, in­ter­est in life for youth em­pow­er­ment and to save na­ture, Lina and her sis­ter Dina talk to Ruchika Dubey about their jour­ney of be­com­ing Founder and Co-Founder of Green Man­groves. Q: Tell us about Green Man­groves and what are the main ob­jec­tives of your or­ga­ni­za­tion?

A: Green Man­groves is a Doha based project of Qatar Foun­da­tion In­ter­na­tional un­der Qatar Foun­da­tion. Grant Provider is Ford Mo­tor Com­pany. Fis­cal Spon­sor is Qatar Foun­da­tion In­ter­na­tional LLC. We also got li­cense from Di­rec­tor of Nat­u­ral Re­serves by Min­istry of Qatar, to work and help con­serve man­groves in Pur­ple Is­land. Green Man­groves is be­ing part­nered with Aqua Sports, Kayak­ing Com­pany in Qatar. In col­lab­o­ra­tion with Aqua Sports Qatar (ASQ), we help lead­ing ac­tual kayak­ing trips with cer­ti­fied In­struc­tors pro­vid­ing all safety mea­sures. We have li­cence to work and con­duct paid trips.

Ob­jec­tives of Green Man­groves in­clude pro­mot­ing kayak­ing to build fit­ness and team­work skills while ex­plor­ing Pur­ple Is­land. In ev­ery two weeks, a group of ten peo­ple are taken to the man­groves

in part­ner­ship with Aqua Sports to help them un­der­stand man­groves in an ad­ven­tur­ous way.

To save man­groves and an­i­mals from dis­ap­pear­ing and also pro­mote clean ups and re­cy­cle. Learn­ing is di­vided into three sec­tors. Em­pow­er­ing youth, ex­plo­ration and sus­tain­abil­ity.

Con­ser­va­tion of Qatar’s Man­groves is to cre­ate a sus­tain­able Is­land and youth em­pow­er­ment.

To de­velop cre­ative ideas for en­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion. Hands on learn­ing oc­cur through free weekly Kayak trips to Pur­ple Is­land, where ex­pe­di­tions cater­ing to screw chil­dren and In­di­vid­u­als will help raise aware­ness and in­evitably save the man­groves in Al Khor re­gion.

Or­gan­is­ing Kayak trips at re­duced costs, en­gage in hands on ac­tiv­i­ties and clean ups. These trips serve the whole com­mu­nity, from school stu­dents to gen­eral pub­lic.

Team mem­bers:

In Green Man­groves, there are 7 vol­un­teers. Ev­ery­one is trip leader here. Lina worked very hard to im­ple­ment her project. She se­lected vol­un­teers to work on it from dif­fer­ent ar­eas – videog­ra­phers, photographers, mar­ket­ing per­sons to pro­mote it on so­cial me­dia, de­sign­ing and de­vel­op­ing web­site etc.

lina: Founder of Green Man­groves Dina: Co-Founder of Green Man­groves

Moa­mar: Han­dles com­mu­ni­ca­tion in news­pa­per/ for­mal doc­u­ments, writ­ing, pic­tur­ing and mar­ket­ing.

Orkhan: Han­dling fi­nan­cial and busi­ness related is­sues. Grad­u­ate from Carnegie Mel­lon Uni­ver­sity

Peter: En­vi­ron­men­tal Science

Grad­u­ate & Prin­ci­pal in one of the schools in Qatar. He han­dles lo­gis­tics and he is a coordinator for learn­ing pro­gramme.

Sara: High school stu­dent wants to pursue ca­reer in en­vi­ron­men­tal science from uni­ver­sity.

Su­sanne: She is a school teacher in a Ger­man School. She makes kids aware about Man­groves. She spe­cialises in younger year gen­er­a­tion.

Q: How is the re­sponse from peo­ple so far and how do you rate peo­ple’s aware­ness of green con­cept in Qatar?

A: We are happy with the over­whelm­ing re­sponse from the peo­ple. We re­ceive phone calls, E mails from Peo­ple, schools ask­ing about kayak­ing trips book­ing and about the launch date for Green Man­groves. Peo­ple of Qatar are ea­gerly wait­ing for Green Man­groves launch. Peo­ple from all per­spec­tive want to join the team.

It is not as great as it should be. Still peo­ple need time to re­alise re­spon­si­bil­ity towards na­ture. Peo­ple have to fol­low cer­tain green eti­quette like avoid plas­tic cups, poly­thene bags, use fab­ric bags or paper bags. As we live near coastal ar­eas and beaches, use of plas­tic bags makes it worst. If con­sumed by sea an­i­mals, it will harm them. When we eat sea food in­di­rectly we are con­sum­ing poly­thene. I min­imise meat con­sump­tion as it re­duces con­sump­tion of wa­ter. Go­ing ve­gan is also pre­ferred. We do not re­ally know from where food came from. We can lessen meth­ane & CO2 emis­sion, food waste and plas­tic waste too.

Q: Where do you see Green Man­groves five years from now?

A: I see Green Man­groves as en­vi­ron­men­tal kind of mo­ment...that aims to bring sus­tain­abil­ity in all as­pects in life which leads to con­ser­va­tion of our nat­u­ral ex­is­tence. The project pro­pels youth to find what their pas­sion is. They go and do some­thing about it. If they do not like some­thing they will have power to change that. Build sup­port sys­tem for youth to come and col­lab­o­rate. Go­ing out and do­ing some­thing for the com­mu­nity or for the world. Speak­ing to new peo­ple. Help­ing oth­ers will make help­ing our­selves.

Green Man­groves will be one or­gan­i­sa­tion to help peo­ple un­der­stand why we are do­ing this. So­cial me­dia is a tool to en­joy your time. Life is big­ger than the com­puter screens so come out and en­joy life.

Q: What’s your mo­ti­va­tion to work hard for con­ser­va­tion?

A: When we are suc­cess­ful in ac­com­plish­ing our tasks and the hap­pi­ness which we see in our fam­ily we get mo­ti­vated. When Lina was awarded grant from Ford Com­pany, our par­ents and my sis­ters were so happy which is a ma­jor pile that help us go­ing.

Q: Who is your role model?

A: Lina says her role model in her com­mu­nity is her mother be­cause she al­ways looks for her ways, finds op­por­tu­ni­ties around and goes out of the box de­vel­op­ing her­self. She doesn’t work but she used to de­velop new skills such as agri­cul­tural train­ing courses, yoga, cy­cling etc., some­thing re­ally dif­fer­ent. That even­tu­ally comes to us.

Sirian Hamsho is a Syr­ian in­ven­tor works in Gen­eral Electrics, USA works for re­new­able en­ergy in wind tur­bines. She in­spires me be­cause of her un­der­stand­ing of the world and she works so hard on her­self to de­velop her skills. In sum­mer, in high school she leaned 5 lan­guages at a time, pho­to­shop and Il­lus­tra­tor. She re­ally works hard. Lastly, chal­lenges we face in life is in our­selves. It is not ex­ter­nal fac­tors only but what we face and over­come with the chal­lenges in­side us. “Start with your­self first and re­move all bar­ri­ers in you.”

For Dina, “self- in­vest­ment is best in­stead of money In­vest­ment.” I ad­mire the one who is not fo­cused aca­dem­i­cally but im­pact­ful and suc­cess­ful to change the world. One who In­vest in ed­u­ca­tion or skills or any as­pect of life is role model in it­self. My role model is Ari­ana Bab­cock, Amer­i­can pho­tog­ra­pher. She is a nor­mal per­son not so fa­mous or glam­orous but she in­spires me be­cause she tries to go out in forests and tries to do hikes and make short videos and films with her dog. Peo­ple will look up to that. It In­spires peo­ple and she made or­gan­i­sa­tion for Down syn­drome peo­ple to in­cor­po­rate with na­ture and go­ing out try­ing new things with other peo­ple. In day-to-day life, Ari­ana is mak­ing im­pact. I be­lieve any­one can do won­ders and make changes in the world.

Q: Do you have plans to ed­u­cate chil­dren about man­groves con­ser­va­tion?

A: Yes, we are do­ing a lot of ef­forts. En­vi­ron­ment aware­ness pro­grammes for schools. We give pri­or­i­ties for kids to visit man­groves. We are vis­it­ing schools, send­ing E-mail to schools to pro­mote schools to take ed­u­ca­tional trips to man­groves. Our part­ner Aqua Sports Qatar is ar­rang­ing kayak­ing trips for chil­dren. Aqua Sports ed­u­cates chil­dren in a fun way about eco sys­tem and man­groves. They bring chil­dren to Al Khor area for camp­ing and ex­plore veg­e­ta­tion in that area. We visit schools, uni­ver­si­ties and give pre­sen­ta­tions about man­groves

Q: What are your short -term and long-term goals to save the man­groves?

A: Our short term goals are to make ev­ery­one un­der­stand im­por­tance of man­groves. Ex­pa­tri­ates as well as lo­cal com­mu­nity should be in­volved so that they should be in love with them. We need to change pub­lic be­hav­iour towards en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion. As a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, we are pro­vid­ing peo­ple kayak­ing trip at a low cost. We don’t take money for fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits. We also pro­vide hand on ac­tiv­i­ties, clean ups and gen­eral in­for­ma­tion to con­serve en­vi­ron­ment. Aim­ing to change be­hav­iour of peo­ple in terms of sus­tain­abil­ity, we are work­ing out­side the en­vi­ron­men­tal as­pects.

Long term goals are to hope­fully or­gan­ise work­shops ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic to learn how to save man­groves in

Qatar Na­tional Li­brary. For their self- de­vel­op­ment like in pub­lic speak­ing and be­com­ing young lead­ers. To or­gan­ise work­shops for youth to cre­ate fu­ture lead­ers for Green Man­groves. Em­pow­er­ing youth is our mis­sion. Ev­ery youth has de­sire to ac­com­plish their goals and make their dreams come true and we will help them to ful­fil it by pro­vid­ing proper train­ing.

Q: What’s your ad­vice to peo­ple about sav­ing man­groves and go­ing green?

A: We shouldn’t see con­ser­va­tion as some­thing which hin­der self­de­vel­op­ment but to see con­ser­va­tion as a tool to de­velop. Con­ser­va­tion and de­vel­op­ment go to­gether in the same di­rec­tion that’s how green na­tions are made. And if you go to man­groves, you will know and feel how much man­groves give to you in terms of in­trin­sic value, your feel­ings in terms of ex­is­tence, in terms of con­tri­bu­tion to the en­vi­ron­ment. So you will feel the re­spon­si­bil­ity and pas­sion to pro­tect these ar­eas. You won’t feel bur­den to save.

About ‘go­ing green,’ Lina says - I be­lieve each per­son thinks some­thing re­ally small also makes a big dif­fer­ence in the world. Avoid plas­tic cups for drink­ing hot liq­uids also makes the dif­fer­ence. “One bird is saved with one word’’. I used to be a so­cial me­dia ad­dict. From us­ing Face­book and In­sta­gram six hours a day, now I re­strict my use of elec­tronic gad­gets to a very lim­ited time. Dina sug­gests avoid plas­tic cups, poly­thene bags. Use fab­ric bags or paper bags.

Ruchika Dubey is a long-time Qatar res­i­dent, for­mer HR pro­fes­sional and is a mother of two kids. In her spare time, she loves to so­cial­ize, dance, jew­ellery mak­ing and writ­ing blogs on places in Qatar


RucHIkA DubEYis a long-time Qatar res­i­dent, for­mer HR pro­fes­sional and a mother of two kids. In her spare time, she loves to so­cial­ize, dance, jew­ellery mak­ing and writ­ing blogs on places in Qatar.

The group hopes to em­power a new gen­er­a­tion of young peo­ple to look af­ter the man­groves.

Cur­rently there are seven vol­un­teers in the team and ev­ery­one is a trip leader.

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