1. Home
  2. About Tio
  3. News
  4. Alumna starts her own non-proft for underprivileged children

Alumna Jihad sets up a non-profit for underprivileged children

Tio alumna Jihad Yasser Ali met disadvantaged children and orphans during an internship in Turkey. This was the moment she knew what she would dedicate herself to in the future. Now, at the age of 25, this passionate entrepreneur has found her purpose in life. With her own foundation, Make a Kid Happy, she and her team are enhancing the happiness of children both in the Netherlands and abroad. 

During Ramadan in 2022, Jihad and a group of women wanted to do something for others. “We came up with an Eid-al-Fitr gift project: we arranged gifts for children without parents or children from poor families. We were able to make many children happy in a short space of time. After that, we started a new project. And another. And then suddenly I realised that I was fulfilling my dream of making children happy!”

Projects for children

Now Jihad, the founder and her team at Make a Kid Happy - which is now an official non-profit - are continuing to set up new projects for children in less stable living situations. “We organise events to raise money and awareness, like football tournaments for young people with influencers acting as coaches. With the proceeds, we help children at home and abroad, such as the earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria”. In 2022, Jihad then founded another company with Baladi The Agency: a full-service creative digital consultancy that helps brands grow with storytelling and innovative strategies.

Jihad’s days are filled with a wide range of activities associated with running her organisations. She organises events, coordinates activities for children, sets up fundraising campaigns, maintains contacts with volunteers, partners and stakeholders, and manages social media accounts and her teams. 

Making a difference

“The best thing about my work is that we can do something for others and make an impact”, Jihad says. “Together we make a real difference for children who are less fortunate in life. That’s important to me. I think every child has a right to a happy childhood. If I can contribute to that, then I’m very happy”.

Helping even more children

Jihad has high ambitions. “I want Make a Kid Happy and Baladi The Agency to grow into leading organisations that leave a lasting impact on children’s lives. I would like to reach even more children and help them in a sustainable way. And I want to further professionalise and expand our organisations so that we can do even more for children in need”.

Young Amsterdam Awards

Jihad is unstoppable. With Jihad at the helm, both organisations have enjoyed rapid growth. And her efforts did not go unnoticed. With Make a Kid Happy, she was nominated for the Young Amsterdam Awards in the social engagement category. While she did not win, she received the most public votes. “It’s great recognition for the work we do with the team. In this category, all nominees are winners. We all work for wider society and want to help others”.

Studying at Tio

Jihad studied at Tio. First, she studied for the MBO in Hotel Management before moving on to the bachelor in Hotel and Event Management. “I chose Hotel Management at Tio because I wanted to learn all about hospitality. After that degree, I wanted to develop further in the field of marketing and event management. Tio Hotel and Event Management had an excellent reputation in this area. I don’t regret that choice; I still benefit from what I learned at Tio every day”.

Space to develop talent

Jihad says she has learned a lot from the programmes, and maybe even more from the lecturers. “The lecturers at Tio all have extensive practical experience. In the lessons, many times they shared their professional experiences and I have learned so much from that. The small classes make lessons very interactive. Before Tio, I didn’t have ambitions to become an entrepreneur, but during my studies I realised more and more that this was what I wanted to do. At Tio, you get plenty of room to make your own choices and tailor your studies so that you can continue to develop on a professional and personal level”.

Keep your goal in mind

Jihad wants to inspire other students to work towards their dreams. “If you put your mind to it, everything is possible. Always keep your goals in mind and align your choices with what you want to achieve. Nothing else matters. There’s no better career than one where you manage to make your passion your job!”