Name: Naashiah Saoud Al Kharusi
Date of Birth: 5 July, 1949
Place of Birth: Zanzibar
Education: Bachelors in Telecom Engineering (Ain Shams University, Egypt); Masters in Telecom Engineering (Essex University, UK)
Professional Background: Worked at the Ministry of Communication (PTT Department), Regulator, State Council Member, Freelance telecommunication consultant and Fashion designing business owner (Raniya)
Current Profession: President of the Oman Women's Association
Assumed office (working since): June 2012
Personal: She is the mother of three children and has three grandchildren.
Naashiah Al Kharusi, at the tender age of 13,wanted to study domestic science -the study of cooking, needlework, and other subjects concerned with household skills.
In an exclusive interview, Naashiah revealed she first saw herself working for at least a couple of years and then staying home with kids, while her husband made a living. Little did she know that she would be sent to a boarding school in Cairo soon after. "It changed me completely. Living in such a different environment than the one I came from had a profound effect on me," she reminisced.
Having always lived between women who all stayed at home – her mother and aunts - Naashiah Al Kharusi could not see doing something different. Back then, she was not aware of other possibilities.
It was in Cairo when a new world of opportunities dawned upon her. "Cairo was changing and changing fast after the revolution. Everyone around me –women especially – wanted a professional education and a respectable career. How could I not be affected by such a fever?" she regaled.
Around that time, Zanzibar also had a revolution.Her family was among the first Zanzibar families that decided to migrate to Oman in 1964.While the prospects looked bright, Naashiah Al Kharusi lost her childhood home. "I then knew that I have to depend on myself. When something like that happens in your life, it changes you in a way that you know that only you can take care of yourself. The world and the life I knew in Zanzibar were gone. And that's when I decided to have a career."
When Naashiah Al Kharusi developed a deep passion for work and ironclad ethics; her interest in domestic science was a long forgotten memory. She completed her Bachelors in Telecom Engineering thanks to her amazing math and physics skills. She then worked in the Ministry of Communication from 1972 to 1977.Soon she went to the UK to do get a Masters in Telecom Engineering degree. At this point she was married and a mother of two children. She took one kid with her while the other one stayed home with her family due to school.
She continued to rise within her career, doing freelance telecommunication consultancy on the side. She served the state council by sitting on the social, legal and economic committees and started her own thriving fashion designing business, until 2007 when she took early retirement from the Ministry.
She kept working for the government as a regulator until 2011 when she decided to expand her business and consultancy work. On the other hand, she always helpedThe Omani Women's Association, a place where she also served as the board memberfor quite some time. When the Association was in dire need of a firm leader, Naashiah stepped in and got elected as the president in June 2012.
Her passion and motivation to serve Omani women were sowed at a young age. Her father – a doctor by profession – and the most inspirational figure in her life, was a huge believer of women's empowerment. "He used to say that you educate girls to save them and protect them,not for earning money. Education for girls is their weapon against the world," Naashiah said in an exclusive interview while adding that she was raised in a home where morals and values meant everything.
"It is one of my legacies that I hope to pass down to my children and grand children. Working hard and excelling at it is what you build your life around. Helping others, having morals and honesty, while never usurping somebody's rights or succumbing to corruption is what I'd want my children to always live by," Naashiah Al-Kharusisaid while affirming her pride in humanitarian work and values.
These days she's working round the clock to implement two new major programs at the Association,one of them concerns children, their rights and protection whilethe other one being about the empowerment of women through trainings for different skills, education etc. She has also launched a very successful sports plan for young children in different areas of Oman to prevent drug addiction.
Message to the society as a woman and mother:
"I believe our nation should hold on tight to its values because that's what makes or breaks us. I would appeal to the parents in our society to be more responsible when it comes to raising their children. Our society should always keep its morale high and remember that education and values define us.Change will not come until we change ourselves. This is why we are doing our part, while passing on the hope to the younger generation because they will be the ones to bring progress and development."
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