Jawher is from Tunisia, and describes his journey into civic engagement. Frustrations in social and economic sectors motivated him to take action in the technology field. He emphasizes the importance of setting goals, and how past failures don’t define the potential for future success. This story was recorded in partnership with MALA, StoryCorps, and Benedictine University’s 2016 MEPI Program.
“In Tunisia, I used to live in a community of simple people. Actually, I used to live with friends that are pessimistic, but I had a great childhood. I had a great family, but I didn’t used to be in civic engagement or in association life. So I was just the type of guy that just goes to school, eat, sleep, and play video games. I actually felt frustrated a little bit because we have a lot of problems in my country. And people in my country have the necessities, but they are not working. So I was one of them, and I decided here to be hardworking, and to be on time. Seeing how the NGOs here and the United States how they work, was very interesting—I got a lot of different ideas that I wanted to apply there in Tunisia.
So since I was 11 year old or 10 year old, my father bought a desktop computer for me. So I was using it just to play video games. So when I buy the video games, I had a lot of problems on how to install these video games. I was very curious about how to install them, how to set up the operating system so that it can make everything work. And when I was trying that it was very hard. So I broke the PC too many times, and one time I tried to repair it myself and I succeeded on that. And after that, I was always trying and searching about the PC competence. And I was always repairing controllers. And after that I was very interested in designing and hacking, and programming even before going to school for computer science.
In the past few years it started to be a very interesting and a new modern field in the technology in Tunisia. So it’s still going to be more important so I mean, I think it’s my chance…I have the chance to be apart of that improvement and development of Tunisia in the technology field.
I want you to know that you should never be desperate. You should always have goals, don’t forget about your past failures, don’t stop thinking about the future. Just live your moment, have some goals, and try hard to achieve them.”