Success story: How Samah from Palestine ended up getting a job at Google – ZAWYA

MENA career acceleration program by Manara secured 70 roles for computer scientists & engineers
San Francisco, USA: In the past months, engineers in the Middle East & North Africa have noticed a trend of people like them with pictures in front of companies like Google saying “I got my dream job!” This trend is about to get bigger.
Manara is a Silicon Valley startup that provides a platform for computer science students and software engineers from the Middle East & North Africa to get full-time remote and onsite jobs with top global tech companies and startups. It brings together a community of global tech professionals & alumni to provide career guidance, training, motivation, and job placement support.
In just the past two months, Meta, Google, and Amazon have made offers to ~20 Manara alumni from Palestine, Egypt, Morocco, and Jordan. In total, Manara has helped over 70 engineers get their dream jobs at European, North American, and UAE tech companies.
Samah Abu Shamma, now an engineer at Google in Germany, started her journey as a Manara participant after gaining 2 years of work experience at iConnect, an outsourcing company in the West Bank
“Before joining Manara I was thinking that going to Google was such a faraway dream. But Manara made it very clear that Palestine has talents who can perform as well as any other candidates in the world”, says Abu Shamma. Her story went viral. in Dubai has hired 6 engineers from Palestine through Manara, and allows them to work a hybrid model with some months in Dubai and others in Palestine.
"In just four years, has grown exponentially to become the Middle East's leading digital platform," says Hisham Zarka, CTO at noon. "We are deliberately focused on hiring exceptionally talented young people from the region with the goal of investing in them in the hope that they will become the leaders we will need in 5-10 years to help carry on this mission. This partnership with Manara is helping us to achieve this goal while supporting young talent in the Middle East.”
Backed by Y Combinator, Stripe, Reid Hoffman, and other top investors, Manara’s mission is to unlock human potential in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), with a focus on women, in order to uplift the region’s economies. This region has been historically overlooked by the global tech sector, but with aggressive hiring goals in Europe, they are also beginning to conduct outreach in MENA.
“Being from Gaza myself, I know how much talent the region has and the barriers we face to get these jobs. I designed the solution I wished I’d had when I was applying to jobs. It was just a passion project then, I never imagined how much impact it could have",  said Laila Abudahi co-founder and CTO. Prior to Manara, Laila worked as a senior software engineer in Silicon Valley building self-driving vehicles."
Her co-founder and CEO of Manara, Iliana Montauk, has worked at Google and Upwork, where she managed the largest talent marketplace in the world, in addition to working in Jordan and Gaza for 3 years..
“The MENA region faces an unprecedented opportunity to increase human capacity and salaries. A few years at a company like Google will accelerate our alumni’ careers trajectory dramatically. Engineers we place at companies like Google will be the backbone of MENA’s tech sector in the future”, explains Montauk.
Manara runs the career acceleration program twice a year with the program deadline for the latest round of applications closing on April 15th
Potential candidates can apply here:
Requirements for entry include under-graduate or post-graduate computer science or engineering degree candidates with strong English language skills.
For interview request or further inquiries, please reach out to:
Castleforbes Communications
About Noon:, the Middle East's leading digital platform, has hired six Palestinian engineers through Manara, allowing them to work in a hybrid model with some months in Dubai and others in Palestine.

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