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Swimming Against the Tide: Young Women Defying the Odds

defying odds impossible is nothing

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”

– Albert Einstein


They say the only constant thing in life is change,  everything, everyone, times and season are all prisoners of change,  just as the world revolves, so does change catch up with us. It is remarkable that we have created a world where the girl child is very much undermined in many societies. However, despite the handicap, many young women are making big impact, defying the odds they face to come out on top. They have given our society a reason to rethink how much opportunity we should give the girl child.

In our reviews today, we will be looking at some of the young women in the news who are taking giant strides despite how much the odds were stacked against them.


In a country such as Somalia where the terrorist group, Al Shabaab, are trying to establish a caliphate that will prohibit females from diverse activities, 18-year-old Nasra Haji Hussain Ibrahim has broken through the odds of civil war, terrorism and negative belief system to do something different and impactful. She refused to listen to her fears and has emerged as Somalia’s first female mechanic. Adding to her incredible feat, she was selected as one of the speakers at TEDx Mogadishu, a conference held in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, and she also serves as a source of inspiration to other young Somali girls, encouraging them to dream big and aim higher no matter what conservative society they find themselves in.


Africa is beginning to witness the rise of young entrepreneurs who are set to rewrite the development story of its nations and the continent at large.  At the seventh annual Anzisha  Prize – Africa’s premier award for young entrepreneurs, supported by African Leadership Academy (ALA)  in partnership with MasterCard – 15 young African entrepreneurs have emerged as finalists. The finalists, out of which nearly half are young women representing sectors as diverse as clean energy, agriculture, waste recycling and youth empowerment, were selected from 14 countries and they distinguished themselves from a field of more than 800 candidates. The Anzisha Prize serves as a weapon of transformation that celebrates and cultivates the next generation of young African entrepreneurial leaders who are creating job opportunities, solving local development problems and driving economies.


Now in a global position as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Girls in Tech, a non-profit based in Silicon Valley, 25-year-old Sophia Mahfooze’s success story is an encouraging piece that reminds us that tables always turn and dark days always give way to brighter and colourful ones.  Sophia who now holds a position where she can change the lives of young women around the world started out as a refugee who was denied the right to education alongside her brothers. But she persisted and was schooled by her parents and fellow refugee academics, while in college she began to enter in for tech-based competitions such as the Global Pitch,  the Mega Brainstorm challenge, London Entrepreneur challenge etc. Sophia turned her disadvantages as a motivation for greatness and she’s helping female entrepreneurs kick-start their ideas.


If you’re a young woman facing a lot of challenges presently to break through in whatever field you’re in, these achievers should encourage you to never give up. Make sure you stand out in whatever you do, never be afraid to swim against the tide and success will be yours.


Image from FanPop.

Khemmie Ray
A passionate writer whose world revolves around arts and aesthetics.

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