Meet Haya Al Habal
PGLF Bulgaria is proud to introduce you to Haya. She is a business student at Damascus University and is a program Coordinator at PilotLabs Accelerator. She previously worked as a Bookkeeper at Jusoor – Syrians Forward Together. And currently working on an initiative to support entrepreneurship, technology and innovation in Syria called Innovation HUB. She was involved with local and regional initiatives such as Startup Digest Syria, Startup Weekend Beirut 2018 and more.
How would you describe PGLF Bulgaria in one or two sentences?
PGLF Bulgaria is a program, which welcomes aspiring leaders of various professional backgrounds from places all around the globe. It is a place where you will most certainly feel challenged, but at the same time loved and inspired.
How did participating in PGLF Bulgaria affect your personal development?
It was a proof that everything is possible. It was demanding in many ways yet embarking on this journey made many things possible for me to achieve afterwards.
As a native Arabic speaker, PGLF Bulgaria was my first experience where I had to speak English the whole time. As a Muslim, I was challenged too. We have all heard news about Islamophobia and about hatred towards Muslims around the world, so I was wary whether I would feel or see this. I was afraid that I would be unwelcomed or hated on the solo reason of being a Muslim and having different beliefs. However, this was entirely not the case – I felt very loved and warm in Bulgaria. In addition to this, I am the only child. I had to persuade my family to travel alone at my age and to a country outside the Middle East. Not to mention how difficult it was to get a visa for Bulgaria for which I had to travel all the way to Lebanon to go to the embassy.
There is a quote I recall and it speaks my mind:
You learn to be confident not by realizing that you’re great, but by learning that everyone else is just as stupid, scared and lost as you are. We’re all making it up as we go along, and that’s fine.
Participating in PGLF Bulgaria made me realize I have potential combined with weaknesses just like any other person, whether in this small group at PGLF Bulgaria or of the whole population in the world. We do not gain our power by believing we are the best but by admitting our flaws and weaknesses and working together accumulating mutual strength to fill the gaps.
How did participating in PGLF affect your professional achievements?
There is no doubt that participating in PGLF Bulgaria gave me credibility to work on my mission. It is a proof that my skills and all the volunteering I do are recognized. Also, that I deserve to be a global leader, making an impact on my local and the global community. The program offers a network of inspiring leaders working on different issues. Everyone had something special to contribute to the project, an opinion and value to add to the discussions. To be in a room with all these people who you may collaborate with in the future, who can teach you a lot and love you and care about you is just something you do not stumble upon every day.
Which part of PGLF Bulgaria was the most useful to you?
PGLF Bulgaria was designed in a way that we had to work both alone and in groups. We get to answer questions we never thought of whether about ourselves or about critical issues happening in our world. It was made in a way that participants could interact. I had the pleasant opportunity to do assignments with people from different nationalities. Frankly speaking, this was something new for me to do. It was a face-to-face approach rather than on line communication. Because of this I realized that people have different ways of thinking, working and processing information. So clear communication and the ability to deliver your thoughts in the right way is an important skill to learn.
What did you learn or got reminded of at PGLF Bulgaria?
If I want to mention the top thing I learnt from this experience, it is that great people can be found everywhere, sometimes you just have to work harder in order to find and meet them. I have always wished for a similar experience so for me meeting the wonderful people in PGLF Bulgaria, was ‘a dream come true’. Life is too short not to love people, to live without hope, and not to create meaningful relationships.
Will you recommend PGLF Bulgaria to others and why?
Yes, definitely! Everyone would have a reason to attend this program. I believe it will help you to see through yourself and find what you need so that you work on it after the program.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
PGLF and Bulgaria have a special place in my heart now. The people who are working on establishing it, made it special and meaningful. Their love for their country was shown in the details of how this program was designed. Moreover, it was inspiring to see how they embraced people’s differences throughout the cultural night, by letting each participant present their country.
For more you can read our previous interview here.