Asma Mansour, The story behind the story: How would you define freedom?

Asma was born and raised in a traditional Tunisian family where a child has to obey the rules and follow the path of life set out by her parents. “Tunisian society has its diseases. It is a country with lots of pressures and no possibility to create or be yourself.” Passionate about grassroots innovation, economic progress, youth and women participation, Asma began writing at the age of fifteen about society, her perception of life, women in her family and their roll in the community.

She believed she could, so she did

At the age of 15, after walking home with a boy one night, her father beat her and called the police, accusing her of being a prostitute, after which she was taken to the police station. This story had a significant effect on her life. People were talking about her, her mother trusted the word of her father over hers. The advice she was given was to see a psychologist who told her she needed to accept that their society is what it is and that there was nothing she could do about it.

Focus on the good

Asma: “I needed a plan first. I needed to stand up for myself. That took me 12 years.” But Asma developed a recipe for herself. “I created a positive environment where I could be myself. Be and feel happy with myself and with the people around me. I had to stay focused to feel good.” It helped her to discover herself. Doing good was social therapy for her. The co-founding of a human rights organization called the People’s Movement for Human Rights Learning (PDHRE Tunisia) was driven by her passion and belief that people must lead the change they desire. The organization aims at integrating human rights into citizens’ daily lives. In light of the Tunisian Revolution, Asma played an active role in Tunisia’s quest for democracy.

With seven languages under her belt she actively translated information for several foreign newspapers to help the global community get a clear picture of her country during the revolution. During Asma’s involvement in the citizen sector, she witnessed the great needs of the civil society. With her passion for solving social causes and her heightened skills of leadership, networking, mobilization, problem solving and creativity Asma utilizes the Center for Tunisian Social Entrepreneurship to work with the Tunisian government to support a more sustainable, citizen-oriented direction and generate positive social change within youth who are at the forefront of decision-making and innovation.

Find your inner peace

Asma wanted to create a place where young people can feel comfortable and create their own lives without judgement. They are stimulated to make their own decisions without restrictions. Asma ends her speech:

“I am happy to say that I was a good inspiration, at least for my mother because after years she could decide for herself and got herself free. I hope that everybody can find her inner peace.”

Text by: Diana Gacs