A chance encounter changed my career

A chance encounter changed my career - Natasha Baranowski, Cosmopolitan Cosmopolitan - December 2010
By Natasha Baranowski, 24

didn't know what direction her life was going in - until she met a stranger who changed everything.

‘I’d been invited to a 21st birthday party in December 2007, but it was for a friend of a friend, and I really wasn’t sure whether to go. I was studying history at the University of Edinburgh. and the party was at a local club, so eventually, I decided I might as well. After I got there, I was queuing at the bar when I started chatting to a girl. I didn’t know her, but for some reason she mentioned a book she was reading, called Hidden in Plain Sight, which was about a girl who had grown up in Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s regime. We didn’t talk for long, and I didn’t see her again for the rest of the night, so I didn’t think much about it. But then two months later, when I was looking for something to read, memories of the party popped into my head. The book was incredibly inspiring. The author, Zanib Salbi, had dedicated her life to supporting women’s rights through a charity called Women For Women International, and it made me realise that was something I wanted to do, too. I started working for the charity, and last year helped coordinate its 2010 ‘Join me on the bridge campaign’ in the UK, which gathers women together as part of a global pro-peace movement.

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