“As a University student from the middle class, I had to look for a job to cover my tuition fees and needs during the four years of college. My constant search for jobs and opportunities brought my attention to the gap between university students and fresh graduates and Palestinian companies in search for interns or part time employees. That is how the idea of Cerati came to life”.
Yafa Abdel Rahim is a 23-year-old Palestinian entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Cerati, a Palestinian start-up that works to connect university students and fresh graduates with companies in search for young talent.
“After launching Cerati, I started connecting my friends and colleagues with Palestinian companies. Many experiences led me to realize that it is not just job opportunities youth need, it is the opportunity to enhance their skills as well. That is when I decided to add trainings and learning resources to Cerati, and to also look for programmes and opportunities to develop my own skills”.
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, youth constitute about 23 percent of the Palestinian population. The unemployment rate among Palestinian youth reached 45 percent in 2019, and approximately 52% among youth graduates.
In 2018, Yafa participated in the Youth Leadership Programme (YLP). After attending a number of sessions and participating in trainings and the national competition, she was selected to represent Palestinian youth in the regional forum that took place in Tunisia that year. “That experience helped me open a number of doors as it was my first time presenting Cerati to an international audience. It also provided me with lots of connections from around the Arab world, expanded my knowledge on the Sustainable Development Goals and thinking skills and inspired me to use my energy and expertise to support my community and make real change,” said Yafa. After participating in the YLP, Yafa was invited by the UN to participate in the ECOSOC in New York. She became a youth representative in a number of conferences and forums, and her last participation was in the presence of 66 international ministers.
UNDP’s Youth Leadership Programme (YLP) aims to support and provide innovative young women and men changemakers with the needed tools to make a real impact, and to help them face challenges related to their economic, political and social integration in their societies. YLP’s mission is to invest in young women and men across the region to unleash their potential to become social innovators, leaders, thinkers and a powerful force for change in their communities, countries and the region at large.