“When we build a team, we seek perfectionists!” a motto by which the ladies of NOON SALON live by.
NOON Cultural Salon was established in 2016 by a group of young women, who believed in making a difference. The name “NOON” was inspired from “NOON ALNISWA,” an Arabic term that refers to women and femininity and is reflected in everything the Salon is and does. It is the manifestation of women’s dreams, achieved by women’s efforts.
Through communal programs like Reading is Fundamental, Buthaina AlMaukhtar, the head and founder of NOON Cultural Salon, and its dedicated members (30 in total) have devoted their time and energy to spreading a message of cultural awareness throughout the community, hoping to not only help elevate Yemeni women, specifically, but Yemeni society-at-large.
NOON largely focuses on the activities
and functions that increase and
support cultural awareness within the
local community. For example, once a month, the organization hosts a cultural event, inviting influential women, such as Azal Al Thawr*, to share their stories of success. Serving as role-models, the invited-speakers encourage other Yemeni women to explore their own capacities and create success stories of their own.
NOON has also created a book club – a thing that is not very common in Yemen – where members discuss and exchange information on books they have read, during the previous month. This helps keep them motivated and more eager to continue reading. The ladies have also worked on creating various campaigns and activities that help emphasize and promote the importance of reading and its positive effects on society.
Children are of special interest. They are the most important target when it comes to NOON’s awareness efforts, as evidenced by their incorporation (and that of their needs) into the project’s aims and goals. The team has worked hard to create plays and competitions for the purpose of linking reading to entertainment. NOON has also focused attention on installing libraries in schools to ensure that children have access – if limited – to more books.
Shatha AlKohali – Co founder of NOON – says, “Just in the same way that a human body needs nutrients to survive, art–in all its forms–is crucial for the well-being and development of a society. In NOON, we view art as a form of expression, a way to leave a print, and a zone to encourage creativity.”
It is worth mentioning that NOON is entirely member-driven and member-supported, utilizing no external funding sources. They are, however, actively searching for sources of stable financial support to assist them in establishing a headquarters for the organization: one that will later serve as a platform for the activities and events they host.
NOON has managed to flourish, despite the war that has been going on since 2015. Watching the achievements of these young, dedicated Yemeni women teaches us that there is always room for change and that change is possible. There is still a chance for the Yemeni community, but only if we believe in our inherent potentials and those of the people around us.
Azal AlThawr*: Certified Coach on “Positive Education” and Founder of Little Steps.