At first it’s Zaitoon Shah’s beauty and striking green eyes that draw you in, and then she starts to speak and suddenly it’s not just her beauty that makes her interesting. Back home in Amsterdam Zaitoon works for Deloitte as a consultant in strategy and operations, enjoying the structure and professionalism the job brings.
In her spare time Zaitoon runs a youth group for girls called Teen Girls Club which tackles gender equality. This group gathers girls from all different cultures and backgrounds between the ages of 13 and 18 to teach various topics such as identity and professionalism.
Teen Girls Club first started when Zaitoon was giving a conflict resolution training lesson in Amsterdam and met a young girl who felt lonely and disconnected. It’s unsurprising she decided to give something back and start her own group. Talking to Zaitoon it’s easy to see how much she cares about others.
She said: “We teach girls basic professionalism and educate them in various topics to inform them about what’s happening in the world. It’s so rewarding to see these girls grow over a period of time, it makes me so proud. They really make me feel alive.”
Zaitoon’s all about striking a balance in life, whether it’s socially, professionally or religiously.
“Religion is a conscious choice you have to make and if you don’t make it for the right reasons then there’s no point. I think it’s important to be open about religion and never be defensive about it, always be open to other people’s opinion.”