And then there was light…

nina-iraq light image

By Nada Ahmed

It has been over three months since I wrote my first article for Nina. I was then still waiting for an opportunity, a light at the end of the unemployment tunnel so to speak. I know I said at the time that I was still hopeful but, looking back, I realise that I had gone into the wait-and-see ‘default’ pattern, without even a glimmer of hope. As my savings depleted ever further, I was having to face up to the fact that I was broke, middle-aged, unemployed, Iraqi and a WOMAN. It was a tough call!

It was then that a life-time friend asked me for a favour. She needed me to translate an article for a non-profit magazine she was supporting as a volunteer. The work was for Nina-Iraq. My friend had a job and was too occupied to do extra tasks. The favour was not pro-bono. My friend explained that the magazine would pay for any translation work. Although it wasn’t much, I very much appreciated her thoughtfulness; I knew she was trying to help and I was grateful.

I translated the article and sent it. Nina then published it. A while later my friend came up with another proposal;

“Why don’t you write an article for the magazine and talk about your experience of job hunting here in Iraq?”.

Well, I initially I was really unsure of whether anyone might be interested in this story or indeed, how my experience could have any kind of impact! However, I saw no harm in taking this suggestion further (it was a nice change in fact!), so I started writing.

I honestly shared my experiences, notwithstanding the challenges I faced, around my job search in Iraq. I had no idea, at this stage that the feature I wrote would resonate with an audience, let alone the executives of the magazine itself! Anyway – that’s exactly what happened. The article was completed and Nina’s Editor in Chief liked it. So, shortly after publication, both my friend and the Editor proposed to meet via Skype and talk about a potential opportunity for me going forwards with Nina.

I was thrilled! Finally, someone saw potential in me. This opportunity saved me from borrowing money and I was truly grateful. From then on, I started translating almost all the articles Nina publishes in Iraq, from Arabic to English and also the other way around, depending on the language of submission. Soon I realized how lucky I was; to be part of such an enterprise is both enriching and inspiring. To read about other experiences and how people are thriving for a better life and for the betterment of their communities is admirable. By providing a platform for sharing knowledge and awareness Nina manages to bring people together. Nina makes us aware of challenges that face us all, but also suggests ways to overcome them. Indeed, others might have experienced Nina as I have – as a medium that has helped shaped direction at a turning point in my life.

So, back to my story… at this point another actor entered the picture. A regular writer for Nina who worked at a prestigious organization called my friend for some advice. Her employer had a vacancy and she wanted to know if my friend knew of anyone with the right skillset to support this vacancy. Both ladies knew each other via Nina, so positive introduction was already a given –through my first article. This then led to a recommendation and my first interview in a year. Strange how fate can deal a random card that can transform a life in an instant. In my heart I somehow knew that my search for a permanent job had finally come to an end. I was right and I will start work later this month.

I have been overwhelmed by the level of support I have had from the team at Nina. I therefore thought that the very least I could do was to write this as a note of appreciation; paying tribute to the ladies who have made this all possible for me. So, to my lifelong friend Lemya Ayub Nina’s deputy editor, co-founder and Editor in Chief Madeleine White, and Nina-Iraq contributor Ms. Nour Hamed; from the bottom of my heart, thank you ladies of Nina… you are an inspiration!

Ed comment: It has been a pleasure Nada and we hope that despite your new commitments, you will be able to support us with translation support. If anyone else has a success story they would like to share via Nina, please Email us at or go to share my story.


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