BUILDx: Meet the Social Entrepreneurs at Birzeit University!

We held this month’s BUILDx event at Birzeit University.  Check out the brilliant minds we met there!

Alaa’ Sabbagh - Pal Moda

Alaa’ works as a manager in Al Bireh Municipality, but she doesn’t just do that. She’s also a student and a social entrepreneur.

Alaa’ told the story of how upon finishing Tawjeehi (Palestinian final high school exam) with honors, she was pressured by society and her family to study medicine or engineering.”It’s this stereotypical idea - if someone gets a high grade, they should only go into medicine or engineering.” commented Alaa’. Alaa’ defied everyone and went into finance. She is now a master’s student at Birzeit University studying Law and Economics.

“I had a talent for painting, but I couldn’t convince my parents to study art. But the idea stayed in my mind. I wanted to go into fashion design.” 

Alaa’ began to sketch designs, and finally turned one of the sketches into a design of her own, and wore it to an occasion. After receiving praise on her work, she began to design products and post them on her Facebook page under the brand Pal Mode.  

“I wanted to do what I liked.”

Alaa’ later went to several women’s and youth organizations, and saw that many people, upon graduating, are left jobless. She went into these organizations, and recruited women who liked to work in embroidery, and hired them at Pal Mode. “I liked the idea of working on Palestinian embroidery. It gave me the opportunity to look into the different stories behind the stitches, and translated that into stories for each of our products. So when someone buys an item, they’re becoming part of a story.” 

This way, Alaa’ helped spread cultural awareness about our heritage. As Alaa’ expanded her work, she moved to Jordan where she hired Syrian refugees, as well as Palestinian women in Turkey, where she opened her second branch. Talk about social impact!