Female Empowerment

Few initiatives dedicated to the empowerment and emancipation of women have inspired us quite so enormously as Iron Women.

Launched in South Africa, it’s a project that we believe can, and will, take root all over the world – because it’s so desperately needed.

The idea is simple: train groups of women to drive state-of-the-art trucks and enable them to receive equal – or even superior – income to their male counterparts. Better still, they create funding so that the women can become the owners of the trucks they drive.

We have had the privilege to spend time with some of the Iron Women during their training and to hear their own personal stories. And we have learned how their daily lives – often in townships, with such danger and difficulty – are a constant struggle.

Each one of these women is a tower of strength, a beacon to others, and such a force to be reckoned with.

It came as no surprise to us that female truck drivers aren’t in it for the adrenalin rush like their male counterparts. As a result, there are almost no accidents, far less fuel is needed, and the trucks themselves are kept in pristine condition.

The Scheherazade Foundation is in awe of the Iron Women and is striving to spread the word of their achievements, in the hope of the initiative taking root elsewhere in Africa, and far beyond.

Iron women

Rub’ al Khali, or the so-called ‘Empty Quarter’ of the Arabian Desert, is a vast landscape which gave rise to one of the most fiercely proud cultures in human history. For centuries, Bedouin tribes have criss-crossed the desert, almost all of them men.

In the 1940s and 50s, the acclaimed English explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger traversed the Empty Quarter twice with his Bedouin guides. As tough as nails, he was a ‘man’s man’, and his writings described the fabled desert sands of Rub’ al Khali as the preserve of men.

A few months ago, we began work on putting together the first all-woman expedition to cross the Empty Quarter, bringing together inspirational women from all over the world. It’s been so fascinating to see how women come together as a community to solve common problems relating to exploration, while men so often feel the need to bask in the limelight as individuals.

Our ambition is for the first all-woman expedition to cross the Empty Quarter next year. Connecting women from many cultures and backgrounds, we hope to make the crossing of Rub’ al Khali an annual event.

Empty Quarter Expedition

Most of us take for granted the little luxuries in our lives – the warm, comfortable bed at night, the hot shower in the morning, three meals a day, and all the rest. More often than not we buy clothes that are new, and that fit, we’re educated at good schools and universities, have a steady progression of life opportunities, and have passports that open the doors to the world.

One of our missions at The Scheherazade Foundation is to bridge cultures in unusual ways. And, the way we see it, you can’t hope to bridge cultures until you’ve had a chance to experience other cultures and societies from the inside out.

My Normal is a project that aims to provide a window into lives that, on the whole/generally, are a far cry from the comfort zones in which we live.

The project aims to provide direct help with online and media studies for young women living underprivileged lives – from the townships of South Africa to the favelas of Brazil, and from the backstreets of Indian mega-cities to challenged communities in the Far East.

Comprising a series of regular micro-video diaries, the My Normal windows into communities at a granular level will provide an educational tool for students all over the world – creating a starting point for discussion and a dynamic, hands-on way to learn.

Too Young to Wed was established by award-winning American photojournalist Stephanie Sinclair, with the aim of stopping child marriages in Afghanistan and elsewhere. One of the most extraordinary non-profits The Scheherazade Foundation is championing, Too Young to Wed’s Afghan initiative is providing real-life opportunities for girls and young women who are in absolutely desperate need.

As the shadow of the Taliban looms large over Afghanistan, Too Young to Wed is saving young women from enforced marriage by providing their families with alternatives, and girls with education.

Too Young to Wed is an inspiration, and we are so proud to be collaborating with such an amazing charity. It proves that, when put into action, clear and sensible thinking can change lives in the most profound ways.

Too Young to Wed

Future Brilliance is one of the most unusual NGOs bravely enduring impossible conditions in Afghanistan, as well as working in the borderlands of Pakistan.

While a great many other charities have pulled out because of security issues, Future Brilliance keeps going with its projects that change lives at the grassroots level. Dedicated to the region’s extraordinary cultural heritage, the NGO was founded by the inspirational Sophia Swire. She believes strongly in fostering a sense of entrepreneurship so that Afghans can build prosperous futures of their own.

Future Brilliance is making a real difference in the kind of way that only small, dynamic charitable entities can do – assessing what’s needed, understanding how to solve problems, and paving the way for change in months, and years, to come.

Future Brilliance

Few initiatives dedicated to the empowerment and emancipation of women have inspired us quite so enormously as Iron Women.

Launched in South Africa, it’s a project that we believe can, and will, take root all over the world – because it’s so desperately needed.

The idea is simple: train groups of women to drive state-of-the-art trucks and enable them to receive equal – or even superior – income to their male counterparts. Better still, they create funding so that the women can become the owners of the trucks they drive.

We have had the privilege to spend time with some of the Iron Women during their training and to hear their own personal stories. And we have learned how their daily lives – often in townships, with such danger and difficulty – are a constant struggle.

Each one of these women is a tower of strength, a beacon to others, and such a force to be reckoned with.

It came as no surprise to us that female truck drivers aren’t in it for the adrenalin rush like their male counterparts. As a result, there are almost no accidents, far less fuel is needed, and the trucks themselves are kept in pristine condition.

The Scheherazade Foundation is in awe of the Iron Women and is striving to spread the word of their achievements, in the hope of the initiative taking root elsewhere in Africa, and far beyond.

Iron women

Rub’ al Khali, or the so-called ‘Empty Quarter’ of the Arabian Desert, is a vast landscape which gave rise to one of the most fiercely proud cultures in human history. For centuries, Bedouin tribes have criss-crossed the desert, almost all of them men.

In the 1940s and 50s, the acclaimed English explorer Sir Wilfred Thesiger traversed the Empty Quarter twice with his Bedouin guides. As tough as nails, he was a ‘man’s man’, and his writings described the fabled desert sands of Rub’ al Khali as the preserve of men.

A few months ago, we began work on putting together the first all-woman expedition to cross the Empty Quarter, bringing together inspirational women from all over the world. It’s been so fascinating to see how women come together as a community to solve common problems relating to exploration, while men so often feel the need to bask in the limelight as individuals.

Our ambition is for the first all-woman expedition to cross the Empty Quarter next year. Connecting women from many cultures and backgrounds, we hope to make the crossing of Rub’ al Khali an annual event.

Empty Quarter Expedition

Most of us take for granted the little luxuries in our lives – the warm, comfortable bed at night, the hot shower in the morning, three meals a day, and all the rest. More often than not we buy clothes that are new, and that fit, we’re educated at good schools and universities, have a steady progression of life opportunities, and have passports that open the doors to the world.

One of our missions at The Scheherazade Foundation is to bridge cultures in unusual ways. And, the way we see it, you can’t hope to bridge cultures until you’ve had a chance to experience other cultures and societies from the inside out.

My Normal is a project that aims to provide a window into lives that, on the whole/generally, are a far cry from the comfort zones in which we live.

The project aims to provide direct help with online and media studies for young women living underprivileged lives – from the townships of South Africa to the favelas of Brazil, and from the backstreets of Indian mega-cities to challenged communities in the Far East.

Comprising a series of regular micro-video diaries, the My Normal windows into communities at a granular level will provide an educational tool for students all over the world – creating a starting point for discussion and a dynamic, hands-on way to learn.

Too Young to Wed was established by award-winning American photojournalist Stephanie Sinclair, with the aim of stopping child marriages in Afghanistan and elsewhere. One of the most extraordinary non-profits The Scheherazade Foundation is championing, Too Young to Wed’s Afghan initiative is providing real-life opportunities for girls and young women who are in absolutely desperate need.

As the shadow of the Taliban looms large over Afghanistan, Too Young to Wed is saving young women from enforced marriage by providing their families with alternatives, and girls with education.

Too Young to Wed is an inspiration, and we are so proud to be collaborating with such an amazing charity. It proves that, when put into action, clear and sensible thinking can change lives in the most profound ways.

Too Young to Wed

Future Brilliance is one of the most unusual NGOs bravely enduring impossible conditions in Afghanistan, as well as working in the borderlands of Pakistan.

While a great many other charities have pulled out because of security issues, Future Brilliance keeps going with its projects that change lives at the grassroots level. Dedicated to the region’s extraordinary cultural heritage, the NGO was founded by the inspirational Sophia Swire. She believes strongly in fostering a sense of entrepreneurship so that Afghans can build prosperous futures of their own.

Future Brilliance is making a real difference in the kind of way that only small, dynamic charitable entities can do – assessing what’s needed, understanding how to solve problems, and paving the way for change in months, and years, to come.

Future Brilliance

Bridging Cultures

At The Scheherazade Foundation, we believe that cultures cannot be bridged without understanding and information. The opportunity to understand and to be informed should arise as early as possible.

So, our The World in a Box project provides a cornucopia of world flags, maps, games, musical instruments, and all kinds of other elements of culture from all over the world.

Our sincere hope is that, by having all five of the senses touched by life and geography from elsewhere, kids will develop a genuine interest in disparate cultures.

With the correct funding, we plan to be able to link classrooms and individual students all over the world, to make the children of today worldly and wise citizens of tomorrow.

One of our three key objectives at The Scheherazade Foundation is to bridge cultures, and to do so in unusual ways. We are fascinated by the way historical injustices continue to shape the world in which we live, creating bumps in roads that, in many cases, ought to be far smoother.

These bumps in the road of shared cultural pathways are frequently the result of events that took place centuries ago. In a time of Black Lives Matter, against a backdrop of new order, we are striving to repatriate priceless treasures left over from colonial times.

An example of this is the work we have been doing to acquire dozens of objects stolen by British forces from Abyssinia back in 1868, and to return them to modern-day Ethiopia.

The initiative has led to a great deal of exposure across international media, and has fostered goodwill between Ethiopia and the United Kingdom.

As well as the many objects we have repatriated to the people of Ethiopia, we are working with a leading British barrister, Samantha Knights QC, and her team, to return eleven utterly sacred altar tablets known as ‘Tabots’ to the Coptic Church of Ethiopia.

Returning Heritage

For a thousand years, in Cairo’s ancient Court of the Tentmakers, craftsmen have created textiles that, quite literally, have protected lives. Sewn into the tents, and woven into the embroideries made there, have been amulets and talismans – regarded as powerful forces for good.

There’s another tradition in the Court of the Tentmakers which stretches back more than a thousand years – that of storytelling. For, as the artisans do their work, they tell tales, as they’ve done for centuries. The belief is that, through a kind of alchemy, the stories are attached to the objects themselves.

As passionate champions of stories and storytelling, as well as ancient arts, we are sorrowful that the traditional crafts of Cairo are dwindling. At one time there were literally hundreds of thousands of people in the bazaars – working with leather, brass, wood, and canvas.

Alas, their numbers are declining at an astonishing rate.

We are thrilled to be working with expert master craftsmen in the Court of the Tentmakers to keep alive traditions linked to stories and storytelling, which go back to the era of A Thousand and One Nights.

At The Scheherazade Foundation, we believe that cultures cannot be bridged without understanding and information. The opportunity to understand and to be informed should arise as early as possible.

So, our The World in a Box project provides a cornucopia of world flags, maps, games, musical instruments, and all kinds of other elements of culture from all over the world.

Our sincere hope is that, by having all five of the senses touched by life and geography from elsewhere, kids will develop a genuine interest in disparate cultures.

With the correct funding, we plan to be able to link classrooms and individual students all over the world, to make the children of today worldly and wise citizens of tomorrow.

One of our three key objectives at The Scheherazade Foundation is to bridge cultures, and to do so in unusual ways. We are fascinated by the way historical injustices continue to shape the world in which we live, creating bumps in roads that, in many cases, ought to be far smoother.

These bumps in the road of shared cultural pathways are frequently the result of events that took place centuries ago. In a time of Black Lives Matter, against a backdrop of new order, we are striving to repatriate priceless treasures left over from colonial times.

An example of this is the work we have been doing to acquire dozens of objects stolen by British forces from Abyssinia back in 1868, and to return them to modern-day Ethiopia.

The initiative has led to a great deal of exposure across international media, and has fostered goodwill between Ethiopia and the United Kingdom.

As well as the many objects we have repatriated to the people of Ethiopia, we are working with a leading British barrister, Samantha Knights QC, and her team, to return eleven utterly sacred altar tablets known as ‘Tabots’ to the Coptic Church of Ethiopia.

Returning Heritage

For a thousand years, in Cairo’s ancient Court of the Tentmakers, craftsmen have created textiles that, quite literally, have protected lives. Sewn into the tents, and woven into the embroideries made there, have been amulets and talismans – regarded as powerful forces for good.

There’s another tradition in the Court of the Tentmakers which stretches back more than a thousand years – that of storytelling. For, as the artisans do their work, they tell tales, as they’ve done for centuries. The belief is that, through a kind of alchemy, the stories are attached to the objects themselves.

As passionate champions of stories and storytelling, as well as ancient arts, we are sorrowful that the traditional crafts of Cairo are dwindling. At one time there were literally hundreds of thousands of people in the bazaars – working with leather, brass, wood, and canvas.

Alas, their numbers are declining at an astonishing rate.

We are thrilled to be working with expert master craftsmen in the Court of the Tentmakers to keep alive traditions linked to stories and storytelling, which go back to the era of A Thousand and One Nights.

Harnessing Folklore

Almost all of us grew up with illustrated books which transported us through our imaginations to distant lands. We rode on flying carpets, stared into the gaze of genies, and crossed oceans in pirate ships – our imaginations inspired by the pages of our favourite books.

Now, imagine being raised in a place in which there are no storybooks. It’s almost impossible to conceive. But millions of kids throughout the world go through childhood without ever being exposed to a treasure trove of illustrated books.

We have been hugely inspired by the Alif Laila Book Bus Society, a leading NGO in Pakistan, which aims to give children the tools they’ll need for adulthood.

One of the excellent initiatives we have been supporting are Camel Libraries, which take illustrated books to kids who live far from the beaten track in rural areas. Our hope is that, with time and funding, the hands-on project will be scaled up and transported to other countries across Asia and far beyond.

Alif Laila Book Bus Society

The Scheherazade Foundation is working flat out to release collections of teaching stories from around the world.

Our thinking is that stories, and the ability to tell them, are like train tracks running from the distant past to beyond the next horizon. If we tell the teaching stories, they slip into our subconscious and thereby keep society on track – as they have done throughout history.

We are intrigued by how the same stories are found all over the world – whether in the Upper Amazon or in the Himalayas, and how certain themes and ideas are irrepressible in the folktales that mirror our lives.

Over the coming months and years, we will be publishing a large amount of folklore, gleaned from all corners of the earth. We will also release material that explains how stories work, and how folklore is linked to every facet of the human journey.

These publications will constitute a foundation stone of thought and experience which we hope will be a starting point for wider initiatives around shared world culture.

Almost all of us grew up with illustrated books which transported us through our imaginations to distant lands. We rode on flying carpets, stared into the gaze of genies, and crossed oceans in pirate ships – our imaginations inspired by the pages of our favourite books.

Now, imagine being raised in a place in which there are no storybooks. It’s almost impossible to conceive. But millions of kids throughout the world go through childhood without ever being exposed to a treasure trove of illustrated books.

We have been hugely inspired by the Alif Laila Book Bus Society, a leading NGO in Pakistan, which aims to give children the tools they’ll need for adulthood.

One of the excellent initiatives we have been supporting are Camel Libraries, which take illustrated books to kids who live far from the beaten track in rural areas. Our hope is that, with time and funding, the hands-on project will be scaled up and transported to other countries across Asia and far beyond.

Alif Laila Book Bus Society

The Scheherazade Foundation is working flat out to release collections of teaching stories from around the world.

Our thinking is that stories, and the ability to tell them, are like train tracks running from the distant past to beyond the next horizon. If we tell the teaching stories, they slip into our subconscious and thereby keep society on track – as they have done throughout history.

We are intrigued by how the same stories are found all over the world – whether in the Upper Amazon or in the Himalayas, and how certain themes and ideas are irrepressible in the folktales that mirror our lives.

Over the coming months and years, we will be publishing a large amount of folklore, gleaned from all corners of the earth. We will also release material that explains how stories work, and how folklore is linked to every facet of the human journey.

These publications will constitute a foundation stone of thought and experience which we hope will be a starting point for wider initiatives around shared world culture.