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Solafa Batterjee: Pioneer of Emotional Intelligence

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Directing education and business with EQ.


 She is the CEO of Doroob, a non-profit organization, and the face of emotional intelligence (EQ) in the Kingdom.

Tell us about yourself.
I am a mother and an educator. I’m a teacher and the whole world is my classroom. Education has always been my passion.

What led you to Doroob?
I never thought I’d be an executive officer because I was focused teaching. When this position was proposed to me I realized I would be able to reach more children. I combined my passion for education with business. I upgraded my vision into touching the lives of 2.2 billion children through compassionate empathy. It’s still about kids, but the scope is bigger.

How would you define emotional intelligence?
EQ is the capability of using the energy of emotions to make better choices and wiser decisions without harming yourself or others.

How did you get started with emotional intelligence?
It started with a personal journey inspired by my children. Life is a blend of empathy and frustrations; I wanted to be a better mother and woman. I searched for change and found emotional intelligence. In 2009, I started EQ training at Six Seconds and my life completely changed.DSC_5204

What’s your view on the way EQ is perceived in the Kingdom?
At first, we were afraid people would relate emotional intelligence with the female tendency of being emotional, but that has not been the case. We’ve discovered that there is a certain level of awareness and we’re trying to build on that. Saudis feel the need and see the value in EQ.

How is the Kingdom different to countries abroad?
State of the Heart is a yearly report published by Six Seconds. This year’s report sheds lights on some very interesting facts. First, the level of EQ in the world is decreasing; this is alarming considering the conflicts. The great news is the level of EQ is on the rise in the Middle East – something to think about.

How are you bringing EQ to the Kingdom?
In 2015, I told the regional manager of Six Seconds we need to bring EQ to Saudi Arabia. We started with workshops directed at executives and change-makers. However, as an educator I believe that education is the tool of change, so I’ve been targeting EQ in education.

What are the various campaigns?
We’ve been doing EQ Cafes, and global campaigns like Talent for Tolerance and the recent Seeking Refuge campaign. Through these campaigns we aim to create awareness by engaging various age groups and sections of the society. The participant gets a taste of what EQ means on a personal level.

What’s the role of Six Seconds in this?
Six Seconds has formed a global community of trained and certified EQ professionals. This network comprises of 60 officials that represent various countries. Six Seconds provides us with proper material, tools and assessments needed for workshops and sessions.DSC_5211

How can EQ enhance education?
The State of the Heart report highlights imagination, risk tolerance, and entrepreneurship as main EQ tools for success in education. Further, creating the right environment requires empathy, the school and students having goals and emotional literacy. EQ is involved in every step including teacher recruitment, student placements around the classroom and the curricula. I really encourage universities to use EQ as a tool or a subject of study. This can tackle issues like bullying and train students to become conscious individuals in society.

Can you tell us about Doroob’s projects?
We start partnerships to bring ideas and projects that support the education systems. Very recently we signed a partnership with Design for Change in India, an organization that values empathy. The Sudan Youth Project provides scholarships and housing to smart children who come from financially difficult backgrounds. We have upcoming plans in various countries in Africa.

It’s healthy to talk about fears and disappointments. You have to go through unpleasant emotions in order to accomplish your dreams.” – Solafa Batterjee

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