Yara Samad: Design, Social entrepreneurship, Networking, and more

Yara Samad is a 16 year old social entrepreneur, maker, actor, and musician from Palo Alto, Californa. She has founded an array of ventures ranging from a blog for creatives to a nonprofit that teaches technology, business, and design to people in Lebanon.

What is DesignpreneurZ?

DesignpreneurZ is an online instagram blog where I share my stories and lessons. It is also a blog and a youtube channel. Whenever I am allowed to talk about a venture or a project, I will post about it.

How did you Develop and grow your audience?

It takes a lot of following people to get those follow backs. First, you will be following more people than the amount of followers you have. But, with the whole community of creatives, it is really easy to gain followers because we are always following each other and connecting with each other in order to expand our networks. Just stick with it and be consistent when you post. If you are truly passionate, posting consistently comes really easily.

Make sure you are ready for that commitment or else it's not going to go anywhere.

What advice do you have for people who are too afraid to put themselves out there?

Just do it! At first, it's really scary for everybody. I’d always overthink but, nobody is going to care if i post this or that. When I post, I find myself reading into all of these details because I am the creator. People who are viewing it, won’t care about the little details because they are here for the content and the story that I am trying to convey.

What is the Amal Foundation?

I started the Amal foundation because I have always been thinking about the situation in Lebanon. Kids do not get access to the schooling they need and they live in inhumane conditions. It really changed my perspective on things. I remember when I was 11, it was the first time my parents took me to go volunteer in the poorest part of Lebanon. I met a girl my age and It was such a weird experience because her life was so different from mine. Our parents were born 10-15 minutes away from each other. It felt like such a close call because my parents were born in the same area. It was because of them, that I was able to have so many opportunities. There is a cycle of poverty in Lebanon. Essentially, I am trying to break that with the Amal foundation and give kids education and tools that will help them get out of their financial situations.

I named the Amal Foundation after my grandmother. She died before I was born, so I never got to meet her. My family always tells me how she would teach kids in the poor areas of Lebanon. When she would get a check, she would divide it amongst families. She did not need it because she was fortunate enough to have a husband that would provide for her. She taught these kids and she really invested herself in their education. She dedicated her life to those kids. So that’s why I wanted to dedicate this foundation to her.

This has been in the back of my mind for years! Everytime I volunteer in the US i’d feel an obligation to help people in this socio-economic situation in Lebanon. In the US, these people have government benefits, however, in Lebanon the government is corrupt. They have stolen billions of dollars from the people. A third of the population is comprised of Syrian refugees. The situation is much more extreme in Lebanon than it is in the US. Lebanon is my home country, it is my favorite place on this earth. It is where I want to die. I want to be around my family and help my people. I’m proud to be from Lebanon and I’m so proud of how far these people have come. Earlier this year, there was a revolution where people started to fight against the corrupt government. I was so proud because they are making change.

I want to help make that change even if it is remotely. I am able to pursue my dreams and I want them to pursue theirs as well.

What is it like starting a nonprofit?

It takes a lot of passion. It won’t be worth it if you aren’t because it requires so much time and effort. I didn’t know what the time commitment would look like before going into this. I never ever cared because it's not what i’m doing it for.

I poured my heart and soul into this and I can’t wait to see results. I am happy to just go along with the process and enjoy getting where we want to get. Once we do start making an impact, it still won’t be the end of my journey.

I want this foundation to outlive me (well if global warming doesn’t kill us) . It also takes patience, hard work, and grit. You need to be ready to not see results immediately and you need to take time doing your research. You want to tackle the problem in the best way possible and you need to remember that the first ideas you come up with aren’t going to be last. You need to be open to changing and adapting with the foundation.

How did you get into making accessories and clothing?