Three years ago, Awat newspaper was just a vision. A vision for a group of young people, some still in highschool, and some barely out of highschool. We had no resources, very little experience, and no idea how far our vision would go. Yet here we are, proudly announcing our third year anniversary in December 0f 2013. It is amazing just how far that vision has gotten us.
Initially, when Awat newspaper was founded, the aim was to provide a platform for the youth to express their views and share their input about the everyday things that affect their lives. Our motto is and always has been, “Empowering you through your writing”. Although rich in media networks and newspaper stations, Kurdistan is quite limited in the amount of opportunity it gives the youth of the country to voice their opinions and engage in society’s activities. Awat has become a home for that voice; it is a newspaper anybody can turn to without being restricted in terms of freedom of expression. Even though Awat is an English newspaper, we have always prioritized ideas over language skills. You do not need a degree in English or journalism to become a part of our team.
Awat is not only about writing, it is also about integrity. We do not encourage progressive change in our society without taking an active role in that change. It is this notion that led to our founders decision to institionalize the paper. Awat has always been a strong supporter of democracy, and to portray this, we have also made Awat a democratic newspaper. Most of our current members have been elected into their positions, positions that are temporary and once again will be held up for elections in February.
For us, Awat also epresents passion. It sums up our beliefs about how young people should work together, we work because we believe in a cause, we work because we believe in our society, we believe in development and progress, we believe in our youth and their abilities to do amazing things. We support and motivate one another, and that has kept us going for three years now.
But all of this wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for the support of a big number of people who believed in Awat newspaper and its members, all the friends and family members who are talking positively about Awat. Of course, none of this would have been possible without our sponsor, a great funder who has been contributing to Awat for years without expecting anything in return or even trying to influence the path that Awat has taken over the past three years.
We started with ideas of promoting English language and empowering our youth by involving them in media, and now we find ourselves doing and aiming at bigger things. Now, our family has grown into a family of 18 members who come from different backgrounds, with their own beliefs and experiences, and that has reflected positively on our productivity. We are now organizing and covering events, sponsoring and encouraging emerging ideologies, and actively involved in our community and creating positive changes.
The current Awat family members will not lead Awat forever. We’re just the beginners. We started this idea three years ago, and we’re only building the foundation. It’s up to the next, younger generation to take Awat to the next level in serving our community, it’s going to be their duty to use Awat to make positive changes in people’s lives.
We want our youth to lead, we want them to believe that they have a responsibility towards their society. We want them to improve Awat, but at the same time, keeping the principles that Awat was founded on. Awat will always be an independent, English, volunteer based, and youth-run newspaper. Awat was and for now, still is the only one. But we certainly hope that it will not be the last.
If you think you have what it takes to be a part of Awat, and if you are interested in working with a dynamic group of people, you are more than welcome to join our family. The bigger and more diverse our family becomes, the better impact we will have on our surroundings.