Dr. Charo, the founder and CEO of Hottie Detox, has come a long way from teenager who grew up in the thick of inequality and gender disparity to become one of the most influential women in the Middle East.
Possibly the biggest turning point in Dr. Charo’s life was securing a full scholarship to do her PhD at 19 and to study at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, the premier cancer center in the USA, where she also won several awards including the AACR, American Pancreatic Association Awards and published several scientific articles.
Her medical background set her career and her life on a new trajectory to women empowerment. Aside from founding Hottie Detox, and creating her own line of natural health supplements, she is actively involved in philanthropic activities and has been a crusader for the rights of Arab women and single moms in the Middle East. She has created more than 50 jobs for single mothers in the Middle East to work from home. We asked Dr. Charo several questions about her mission at Hottie Detox to empower women and mothers in the Middle East
Why is it imperative that we have women’s education at the top of our global agenda?
When you offer a mother employment at any online company for her to be able to work from home, you change the trajectory of her life, and not just her life. You start to affect her family, her community, her nation. When you offer a mom a job, a career, that mom becomes a woman who understands the value of an education and educates her children, which is our mission at Hottie Detox.
What inspired you to start the Hottie Detox Leadership Fund for Women? Why in the Middle East?
The dream to build the fund began in 2014 when I got a chance to meet several women from the Kafa organisations who were highly educated and qualified to work but because they were moms, they were unable to find jobs and provide for the family.
It started with a conversation in 2014 with “Mariam” a domestic violence survivor, about how my team and I wanted to do something for the women in the Middle East. I wanted to give back to the community of women. Before long that idea evolved into my most cherished dream—the Hottie Detox Fund for single mothers who had the mental power, but not the means or privilege to find a job. I wanted to create a women empowerment fund because I feel strongly that women’s leadership can reshape the world.
Tell us about your most memorable moment with an individual
I assembled a group of women for a discussion about career choices. Each woman raised her hand to talk about her goal of becoming a business woman, or secretary, or teacher until they became moms and had to stay at home because of their inability to find a job. Only one woman out of 150 stood up and said, “I want to be a pediatrician.” Many of the other women began to snicker because I don’t think they heard of or understood how a 30-plus-year old woman can become a “pediatrician.”
Later I pulled her aside and told her about this great pediatrician I knew in the United States, Dr. Franklin. I then emailed Dr. Franklin to tell her how this woman felt ostracised about wanting to be a pediatrician. She sent a three-page reply. As I read her encouraging letter to her aloud, you could literally see her whole being transform from doubt to confidence, knowing that she too can become a great pediatrician.
What are your goals for the Hottie Detox Fund? What would you like it to accomplish in the next 10 years?
At Hottie Detox we support the development of a generation of women leaders who will lead the charge to transform themselves, their communities, and the larger world around them. The Hottie Detox Fund will nurture their potential to affect positive and enduring change, prepare them for higher education and help raise the next generation of transformative Arab leaders.
What advice can you offer readers who want to make a difference as well?
I believe that a career and health empowerment are the most important gifts you could ever give to anyone, which is why my team and I opened 50 jobs internationally and locally for women to work from home. I’ve made it my life’s mission to give back and believe that each of us can play a role in making a difference in the world through service to others.
Start with where you are and do what you’ve been empowered and blessed to do. Educate one girl or two or ten, offer a job to a single mother. Something as simple as paying for a training or workshop can make a world of difference. Be willing to ask the question “What can I do?” and the answer will show itself.