Lebanese Tattoo Artist Helps Breast Cancer Survivors to Heal

Lebanese tattoo artist Joa Antoun attends an interview with Reuters at her studio in Dekwaneh, Lebanon March 11, 2022. Picture taken March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Emilie Madi
Lebanese tattoo artist Joa Antoun attends an interview with Reuters at her studio in Dekwaneh, Lebanon March 11, 2022. Picture taken March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Emilie Madi
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Lebanese Tattoo Artist Helps Breast Cancer Survivors to Heal

Lebanese tattoo artist Joa Antoun attends an interview with Reuters at her studio in Dekwaneh, Lebanon March 11, 2022. Picture taken March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Emilie Madi
Lebanese tattoo artist Joa Antoun attends an interview with Reuters at her studio in Dekwaneh, Lebanon March 11, 2022. Picture taken March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Emilie Madi

For Lebanese breast cancer survivor Roula Saad, a decade-long struggle with the disease was not over until tattoo artist Joa Antoun concealed her surgical scars, helping her deal with the physical and psychological impact of a double mastectomy.

“I hated looking at myself in the mirror, I changed a lot. I felt I was forced to live in a state of grief, I was mourning my femininity and the loss of part of my body,” Reuters quoted Saad as saying. “I was not reconciled with myself at all, nor with my own image.”

The mother of two now proudly wears her tattoo designs as a testament to her victory over the disease. She described it as a therapeutic and life-changing experience, adding: “It was like being born again.”

In addition to offering tattoos to conceal surgical scars, tattoo artist Antoun, 31, has also been offering free tattoos.

Often in their 50s, many of the women she works with were reluctant at first, she said, reflecting social taboos in Lebanon.

“They thought that it was not worth it, that it was too late for them. But getting these tattoos is becoming more normalized and accepted,” added Antoun, who also helped survivors of the 2020 Beirut port explosion cover their scars with tattoos.

Marie-Therese Chamma, a 52-year-old who had treatment, said shedding her hair and losing weight was not as troubling for her as losing her breasts to the disease.

“I looked at myself and could see the scars … I could not fully accept what was happening to me, but told myself I can always change things after finishing (treatment),” she said.

After viewing Antoun’s website, she decided to seek her help: “I was very hesitant but I felt that she is aware of how we feel and of our fears so I called and took an appointment.”



Saudi Team Wins 6 Awards at 2024 International Mathematical Olympiad in UK

Saudi Team Wins 6 Awards at 2024 International Mathematical Olympiad in UK
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Saudi Team Wins 6 Awards at 2024 International Mathematical Olympiad in UK

Saudi Team Wins 6 Awards at 2024 International Mathematical Olympiad in UK

Under the auspices of the King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity "Mawhiba" and the Ministry of Education, the Saudi mathematics team won six awards at the 65th International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) 2024 held in the UK from July 15 to 21.

The event featured 603 talented students from 104 countries, with the Saudi team securing 1 silver medal, 4 bronze medals, and 1 certificate of appreciation.

Hadi Al-Aithan from the Al-Ahsa education department won the silver medal, while Youssef Bakheet (Yanbu education department), Mohammed Rabie (Madinah education department), Muath Al-Qahtani (Al-Sharqiyah education department), and Ahmed Al-Shehri (Riyadh education department) received bronze medals.

Mohammad Al-Ghamdi from the Al-Sharqiyah education department was honored with a certificate of appreciation.

Secretary-General of Mawhiba Amal Al-Hazzaa extended her congratulations to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, for this remarkable national achievement.

She also congratulated the students, their families, schools, teachers, and education departments for their outstanding accomplishment and wished them continued success.

Al-Hazzaa described this triumph in such a prestigious competition as a moment of immense pride for the entire nation.

Furthermore, she underlined her gratitude to Minister of Education Youssef Al-Benyan for his unwavering support of Mawhiba and the exceptionally talented students in public education.

She commended the minister's dedication in providing necessary resources and opportunities, which have contributed to the fruitful partnership between the ministry and Mawhiba.

Furthermore, she highlighted Al-Benyan’s efforts to empower Saudi talents and propel them to greater heights of achievement through this collaboration.

Saudi Arabia's participation in the IMO 2024 is part of the Mawhiba International Olympiad program, which operates under a strategic partnership with the Ministry of Education. The program is one of 20 different initiatives offered annually by Mawhiba and the ministry, providing advanced curricula and enriching programs.

The initiatives offer a multi-phase journey for gifted students, exploring, boosting, and empowering their ambitions, in collaboration with local and international partners.

Students enrolled in the Mawhiba International Olympiad program undergo rigorous training, over 1,000 hours a year, in cooperation with the ministry. The training, focused on their chosen scientific track, is delivered under the guidance of local trainers and international Olympiad experts.

With this latest achievement, Saudi Arabia's tally of IMO awards has risen to 77, including 12 silver medals, 46 bronze medals, and 19 certificates of appreciation.