Serene Dardari is a Syrian social change maker and a civil society communication advisor. She did her first internship with the UN World Food Program in Damascus when she was only fifteen years old; during which she worked with Palestinian and Iraqi refugees in Syria, little did she know that this was the beginning of a long, life changing mission: the fight for human dignity and security. Serene has been in Lebanon for seven years, and she has been working with refugee communities here for the past six.
She holds a B.A. in Communication Arts from the Lebanese American University, a diploma in Care Economy from the U.N. Women Training Centre, and is completing her M.A. in Conflictology with the University of Catalonia and UNITAR. In 2014, she founded her social enterprise called “Shams Network”; Shams (The Sun, in Arabic) develops initiatives, social services and safe spaces to promote sustainable livelihoods for those in need, through quality products & services that engage customers in social responsibility. Shams operates on two distinct pillars: the first being the social business, through which it supports humanitarian non-profits and social initiatives, by providing them with communication services, helping them acquire funds and receive exposure and support from local and international communities, and through the second pillar, she mobilizes her team, her friends, relatives and networks to assist in the provision of monetary and in-kind donations; linking well-off people to refugee families for sponsorships and creates small scale relief campaigns such as winter-drives and medical emergency response. “When I help my Syrian brothers and sisters in Lebanon, I am also helping Lebanon as a whole, in fact, I am helping humanity as a whole. Why? Because I truly believe that we are not well unless we are all well”.