Shreen left a career in offshore engineering to work in the third sector, going from being the only woman on a ship of 400 men to working with all-female charities. She now works on a care farm in the Midlands.She was born in London shortly after her Kurdish Iraqi parents arrived having escaped Saddam Hussein’s regime, and finds it hilarious that no one (apart from other Kurds) can guess her ethnicity.
?!X: What’s the Future You Choose?
SA: A future where people are happy to introduce a little more white space into their lives would be fucking amazing. Excess is a modern problem we haven’t learnt to deal with yet – an excess desire to buy, to eat, to compete, to get fitter, smarter, happier, richer, younger. Nothing ever seems enough, and I believe it is this never-ending desire to reach some imagined unattainable goal that needs addressing. And if the privileged in society decided they’d had enough, doesn’t that mean more for those who never had any to begin with? In theory, it could. An amazing book on this is ‘Enough’ by John Naish. It seems like a simple topic judging by the blurb on the back but it’s really inspirational and changed my life in unexpected ways. I’ve drawn a big cartoon love heart on the front cover with permanent pen to remind me how deceivingly lovely it is. I’d also love to see more empathy from our leaders (who typically come from a certain type of background) and more young people getting involved in activism – clearly the desire is there, but maybe there’s a lack of understanding as to how to go about it. Our leaders need to engage with the public more and the public need to engage with their leaders more. It should come from both sides.
?!X: What’s a ‘think’ to create this future?
And if you can’t travel to expand your mind, someone’s neatly done it for you:
?!X: What’s an ‘act’ to create the future you choose?
SA: I’m currently in the middle of writing a very practical social activism guide. It’s going to be made available for free on my personal website, is mostly aimed at young people but will be useful for all ages. It’s free because I want as many people as possible to realise how easy, enjoyable and rewarding activism can be. Invisible Children proved that hundreds of millions of people actually give a damn about those in less fortunate situations. My guide is about turning that powerful energy directly into a practical force for social good rather than waiting for other people to do it for us. I’ve even managed to chuck in a quote from Fight Club in there. It’s gonna be a lot of fun to read, and hopefully inspiring and instructive.
?!X: What’s a ‘vote’ to create the future you choose?
SA: Grassroot Diplomataims to bridge the gap between civil society and MPs, and I think their work is critical towards a government that can represent us better by actually talking to us and empathising. Novel idea, I know.
?!X: Future Soundtrack – What song would you take with you into the future?
?!X: What are your five all time favourite weblinks?
Follow Shreen on Twitter @shreen_ayob
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