At Cosmic Centaurs, we prioritize learning about the various causes that matter to each team member. Each of us channels our efforts toward different causes, whether it be uplifting marginalized voices, advocating for animal welfare, or promoting women's empowerment. This intentional exploration of our diverse interests strengthens our ability to support one another and contribute collectively to bettering the world. This holiday season for us is about 'Making it Count' and wrapping up the year with intention and impact, and we invite you to join us. This article highlights 6 causes we care deeply about, along with ways you can support them.
1- Hadeel: Equal Representation in Media
Since I was introduced to the sociology of media back in high school, I’ve been critical of everyday media. It's important to create spaces in media landscapes for communities to narrate their own stories. Coming from a culturally diverse country and experiencing the 2018 Sudan Revolution, I understand the power of art and media in reclaiming and democratizing narratives. As Sudanese, we knew little about anything outside the capital and the world knew little about Sudan. The revolution opened new spaces for inclusive and accurate portrayal both locally and globally.
That's why I'm intentional about consuming media that sustains the work of diverse and independent contributors, especially from less-represented communities. I actively support and share the work of creatives, cultural curators, and independent media platforms from Sudan and the region. Here are some organizations to keep on your radar: Nas Shagala - a docu-series of civil society initiatives by diverse Sudanese communities, Sunu Journal for African archives, and Shasha Movies for independent SWANA films. If this resonates with you and you want to support Sudanese artists to continue telling our stories, you can donate to the Sudan Artist Fund. I hope that we all, someday and in some way, feel heard and seen in everyday media.
2- Lama: Animal Welfare
I grew up in a country that has a homeless animal crisis, and I occasionally see stray animals that are hurt or injured. As someone with pets at home, seeing these animals triggers something deep inside - I would hate to see my own cat and dog in the same position. To give back, I donate to TNR (trap, neuter, release) programs and try to feed the animals I see in the streets or those living around my area. If you feel compelled to support this cause, you can donate to ESMA, an Egyptian charity organization that operates a shelter and adoption center.
3- Marie: Education for Underprivileged Children
As someone who believes in the potential of every child, I find it disheartening to see barriers hindering children's access to education. Almost 60 million children of primary school age are not in school, mainly due to poverty or conflict. I strongly believe that no matter where a child is born, they deserve the fundamental right to education. In my previous role, I actively took part in various book drives, supplying essential learning resources to underprivileged children and refugee children in Lebanon. If you share this passion, consider donating to organizations like Unicef or Save the Children.
4- Marilyn: Women in the Workplace
In the Middle East, women face significant challenges that stifle social and economic progress; According to PWC, $575 billion is lost every year by the MENA region due to legal and social barriers that exist for women’s access to jobs. In Lebanon, women’s unemployment rate was at 16% in 22, that’s 1 in every 6 women.
Born in Beirut in the late 1980s to Antoinette, a pioneering software engineer, I witnessed firsthand the power of determination and support in overcoming barriers. My mother, one of just six women in a class of 400, juggled dual full-time jobs while raising us with the belief that ambition knows no gender.
This is why we launched the Cosmic Centaurs fund in partnership with edseed. Since April 2021, we have raised almost USD 10,000, and proudly supported 15 young women in completing their graduate degrees.
5- Maya: Protecting Nature and the Environment
Nature has always been integral to my well-being. As a nature enthusiast, my PhD research focused on environmental pollutants, uncovering diverse sources of pollution, particularly the detrimental impact of waste on the ecosystem. In response, I try to better control household waste, including recycling paper, cardboard, and plastic; and donating plastic bottle caps to Arcenciel as part of their initiative to offer wheelchairs to people who need them in exchange for each tonne of collected bottle caps. I also find it particularly fun to set aside food waste to feed rabbits, horses, and geese! Domaine de Taanayel is my favorite place for these eco-friendly activities!
6- Tala: Higher education for refugee youth
Less than 1% of conflict-impacted youth, approximately 100 million refugees globally, currently have access to higher education funding. It's a stark reality pushing many to forsake their educational aspirations for low-paying jobs, perpetuating a cycle of poverty. In tackling this challenge, there lies a transformative opportunity: each instance where a single refugee has the chance to attend university and secure stable employment holds the potential to uplift not only their life but also their entire family and community. This ripple effect, breaking the chains of poverty, underscores the crucial importance of providing access to higher education for conflict-impacted youth.
My mother, dedicated to this cause, enabled hundreds of Arab youth in Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Sudan, and Yemen. Her crowdfunding platform edSeed is a social crowdfunding network for education platform connecting donors, education organizations, and students to crowdfund for education. The donor selects student profiles, pays school tuition or related expenses, and the students learn how to create campaigns and undergo upskilling and training in marketing and storytelling. Create a better life for entire families and communities and donate to edSeed today.
Ask your Team: What Causes Matter to You?
Encourage open conversations within your teams about the causes and social issues that resonate with each member. Through these discussions, you'll discover new information and context about each other, gaining insight into what makes each person unique and special.
Every effort, whether it's dedicating time to learn more about these causes, engaging in volunteer work, or contributing funds, plays a role in creating meaningful impact and instigating positive change. For more ideas on how to give back, check out our Make it Count Series and subscribe to our newsletter.