Behind the Mask
Value Yourself — France
If 2020 has taught us anything, it is to embrace change and shape it! We are two close friends currently living in France and originally from Tunisia and Kosovo. As we were in the middle of a pandemic outbreak, all we could face was news reporting with COVID-19 updates, racial violence and deaths, riots, explosions, airplane crashes; the world has seemed upside down ever since.
Completely overwhelmed and drained by this broken world, we've decided to try and bring a little light of hope to our future and make it more inclusive. That's how our @diversityenthusiast initiative was born on Instagram and has grown significantly since then. Diversity Enthusiast is a social platform for cultural and diversity awareness; our goal is to make people more culturally sensitive and inclusive by understanding and appreciating each other's differences, journeys, and perspectives.
The biggest challenge we had to face last year as we were launching our initiative was our mental health being overly affected by the continuous on-and-off lockdowns and restrictions. Juggling between our studies, work, and life in the pandemic, we were often feeling down and lacking motivation and energy. At times, we doubted whether we'd be able to continue all the significant work we strive to do, but we are glad we prevailed. At the end of the day, our passion for this mission fuels us to make a positive and powerful impact on the world around us!
We often underestimate the importance of mental health, as well as the effects of fatigue and stress on the human body and mind, especially in the times of crisis. Mental health is not a joke, and our generation struggles with it more than ever; social isolation and discrimination experiences are just some of the factors that come into play. Opening up about mental health is not about exposing your vulnerabilities and weak spots; it is about saying “ENOUGH,” putting yourself first and valuing yourself!
You may not think so, but valuing yourself and your journey is a way of connecting with others. Because once we accept who we are and learn to embrace our differences and see ourselves in a positive light, we are more likely to spread this positivity and love with others as well!
— Omnia & Katarina, 22 & 22
Mulhouse & Annecy, France