Shrouk Gamal is an alumna of the 2020 MCW Global Young Leaders Fellowship. She has started “Yellow vs Blue,”- an online initiative helping youth in Egypt and globally with mental health issues like depression and suicidal thoughts.
In this piece, we will not see only her outstanding contribution. Still, importantly we will dig into why she is doing this and how her involvement with MCW Global supported this initiative and lifted her as a young activist.
Throughout the piece, she speaks about how the initiative benefits the youth and fights mental health stigmatization. Shrouk further expresses her gratitude for MCW Global while highlighting its unique and precious place in her inspiring story.
She believes MCW Global helped her become a better version of herself and a better leader by enhancing her skills in youth leadership.
Shrouk’s story tells us, once again, how MCW Global helps communities worldwide achieve greater levels of health and prepares young people to become leaders of change in their communities.
Turning a Personal Challenge into an Initiative for the Community
Although her cause started from a personal experience, Shrouk, with her encouragement and the support from MCW Global, positively changed lives around her.
When she was younger, Gamal struggled with mental health issues, but she had little to no idea what she should do to overcome them.
“As I grew older, I became more aware of how they [mental health issues] affected me, and I began taking steps toward my mental health and things that worked for me,” she initially says.
She did not want others to go through what she had to go through in Egypt because she knew how it felt for others. Primarily, she goes on, since people do not care about those who suffer in silence from mental health issues.
MCW Global as a Platform of Support, Inspiration, and Connections
“I did not know where to begin; you know that feeling when you want to start something but are unsure where to begin?” she highlights.
That was her until she discovered MCW Global’s Young Leaders Fellowship and realized it was the place for her to start and shine.
“I worked hard to join so I could begin this small dream, and I did!”
In her words, MCW Global provided her with more than she could have hoped for.
“Thanks to the MCW Global, I had my mentor guiding me throughout the year, the modules, the learning process, our sessions, the engagement, and the other young leaders from around the world.”
For her, it was a year filled with learning, inspiration, connections, hard work, and, finally, her achievement of launching Yellow versus Blue!
“The initiative is not only for Egyptian youth but for all youth worldwide, to support as many as I can.”
Starting Small, Helping a Whole Community
Behind the launching is a story of hard work and dedication, about which she speaks more below.
“I began working on it on my own, learning how to design something unique and create useful content. After working alone for a few months, I decided that this project needed a team to grow, continue, and help more youth, so I formed one! I planned a hiring process and brought in a global team from Egypt, Romania, South Africa, China, and the Netherlands.”
Shrouk experienced a heartwarming moment when some of her team members told her that working for Yellow vs Blue changed their life vision and that it was their first time feeling respected, loved, and appreciated.
“It made me realize how much we became a family rather than just a team, and how MCW Global helped me become a better version of myself and a better leader, especially through self-awareness sessions.”
MCW Global is and will remain a massive part of her life.
“It [MCW Global] is what keeps me inspired to keep going when I feel lost because without the knowledge and support that I received through MCW Global, I would not have started this project with this quality, and I am still learning and progressing.”
A Campaign Tailored for Youth
Shrouk and her team created a story campaign to encourage young people to share their stories of mental struggles and how they overcame them to inspire others.
“We also created more mental health content with new positive habits for their day. We created the Wellness Whispers podcast series. In addition, I created some voice-over YouTube videos with letters that youth wrote for their friends to explain how they feel when they are depressed, but they never sent those letters, so I was their voice and recorded them, adding them to our YouTube as awareness content.”
Now she is preparing for something she has wanted to do for a long time. The mental health youth exchange will be held soon online, complete with a support group and therapy sessions. [Like MCW Global Facebook Page to stay updated on the latest about its alumni.]
This project may take some time to develop, but I am glad it exists to watch it grow! I am eternally grateful!
Conclusively, she believes an essential thing youth struggling with mental health can do is to Speak Up!
“Share your feelings with your loved ones, ask for help, and don’t be afraid to ask for it; things could be easier if you just took this step!”
You are always welcome to contact Yellow vs Blue and schedule a phone call or a coaching session!
By: Gresë Sermaxhaj
From mental health to projects creating youth-responsive and youth-inclusive governance systems, MCW Global helps youth achieve their dreams.