Maha AJ grew up proud of her Sudanese-Iraqi heritage.
From the time she was small, Maha Jaafar’s (or Maha AJ as she’s known to her fans) family constantly wove her mixed cultural identity into her life. Her dad would present her traces of Sudan and instruct her culture’s heritage and customs, while her mom would show her how to create both Iraqi and Sudanese dishes.”Mother always encouraged us to be proud of our Sudanese legacy without losing our Iraqi identity,” she says in a YouTube video. “I never felt I was lost between cultures. Instead, I knew I belonged to both, but each in a different manner.”Photo via YouTube Creators for Change/YouTube “Living here, you have all types of nationalities all around you,” she states. “It is very multicultural and there are people from all different countries, and everyone still holds onto their individuality, so you can understand their culture.”However, stereotypes and prejudices still remain there. Maha is on a mission to change that. Despite growing up in a diverse nation, she often felt mesmerized by classmates who didn’t understand her mixed legacy. Began to feel competitive and restricting, since she believed people were trying to ship her to a cultural stereotype.
So Maha set out to crack through the misconceptions about her distinctive history by creating videos that celebrate it.
YouTube Creators for Change/YouTubeShe’s is using her artwork and her platform to help”bridge the gap” between the civilizations in her community. “Our diversity is what makes us wealthier, stronger, and more beautiful,” she states,”and the world needs to see all that beauty”It’s why Maha is one of YouTube’s 47 Creators for Change Ambassadors— an initiative for YouTubers hoping to inspire awareness and compassion for diverse communities. The global initiative titles Ambassadors from all over the world using their channels to promote inclusivity and diversity and induce social change. Each Ambassador receives grant money to put toward”social impact endeavor” videos and to aid them in adding their voices to important events and initiatives around the globe.Ambassadors also pay it forward by mentoring Fellows — up-and-coming creators who work with Ambassadors to help make a dialogue around social issues in their communities.Maha’s YouTube debut two years back put her on Creators for Change’s radar. These days, the 25-year-old dentist spends half her time fixing people’s teeth and half of her time following her passion for producing budding videos.
Becoming a Creators for Change Ambassador has had a big Effect on Maha.
“It has been among the greatest experiences in my life,” she states,”because it’s made me feel supported and valued. It made me have a platform to reach more people and inspire more people, and it gave me a lot of motivation for myself to proceed with what I want.”Maha says she wishes to use her station to share the positive things about her cultural heritage and also to correct misconceptions and stereotypes, especially about Sudan. She wants her videos to join people and promote our shared humanity.”My ultimate aim,” she says,”would be to make people understand that we are all one, and there’s no need for hating on each other or not understanding each other, because at the end of the day we are all humans.”
These global Ambassadors, like Maha, reach countless individuals. Their messages have the potential to change the world.
As Maha says, anybody with a cell phone and/or internet can make connections with people and produce a platform for positive change.As more and more young men and women find not just entertainment but heroes and idols in the YouTube space, it’s heartening to know that there are amazing, actual individuals doing aware function to bring people together and promoting ideas and actions which will lead humanity into a better future for all.