The light at the end of the tunnel with Marwan's MA Lighting project
"Being part of this programme brought out a talent hidden inside of me, a creativity I couldn’t express before due to my living conditions"
Marwan Agha is a refugee who came to Lebanon in 2013 with his mother and sister. He was 16 years old when he fled war-torn Syria fearing for his life after his father’s incarceration. Like many others with a similar fate, integrating a new society was no easy task, “I found great difficulty pursuing my education, and when I had finally managed to enroll at university as an Architecture and Design Engineering student I had to drop out a year later for financial reasons, which deeply saddened me and left me facing an uncertain future,” he said.
“I was taking on small income jobs as an electrician when a friend of mine also living in Almoun, North of Lebanon, told me about the Generation of Innovation Leaders (GIL) programme with INJAZ Lebanon and I did not hesitate to participate”. The Generation of Innovation Leaders is powered by UNICEFLebanon and funded by the Kingdom of Netherlands and the Andan Foundation, and it gives ambitious youth, through hands-on training, the chance to become entrepreneurs.
The startup idea, MA Lighting, Marwan had it all along. “I never really liked being an employee, I always dreamt of having my own business,” he said. “I gained my experience in the lighting domain by helping out at my grandfather’s shop in Syria. As for my first creative design, it was meant to be a birthday gift since I couldn’t afford to buy one, which I did with bamboo and wax, and it gained a lot of success amongst my friends!”
He noticed back then that the materials were not sustainable therefore when he started working on his project with his trainer at GIL they decided it was best to work with metal. “I was lost and wanted to use different materials, but my trainer showed me the importance of focusing on a certain approach in my designs,” he added.
“GIL uplifted my skills and prepared me for the market.” Marwan received his seed funding in April after being selected to go into the incubation phase and with it he was able to open his workshop. His pieces mainly consist of different geometrical designs done tastefully with a modern touch.
MA Lighting has competitive pricing and offers customers the opportunity to customize and create their own pieces. “People’s taste has changed,” explained Marwan, “nowadays they lean more towards simple and unique designs.” In his region, there are few places with a similar style, and the majority can’t afford the classical copper and crystal chandeliers that are usually sold at big lighting shops at exorbitant rates.
GIL enabled Marwan to realize his dream, “Being part of this programme brought out a talent hidden inside of me, a creativity I couldn’t express before due to my living conditions. Today I aim to sell my brand worldwide. I urge others to participate and share their ideas, if they want it enough, believe in it and work hard for it they can certainly achieve their goal with GIL’s precious help and continuous support,” he concluded.
Marwan’s inspiring story of resilience is a proof that in the midst of darkness one can still create their own light!Back to Blog