“It feels good to have rights and access to education and I want all women (and men) to have that as they are not less deserving than I am.”
Tell us about yourself?
I am the co-founder and executive director of Nutrition 4 Education & Development. It’s an Ethiopian non-profit with a mission to improve infants’ nutrition during their first 1000 days. This is in order to ensure their full cognitive and physical development. The goal of this organization is to give every child the opportunity to be an asset to society. I am a mother of two and I know the crucial role a mother plays in the early development of a child’s life. By using my social and managerial skills, I’m working with one community at a time to empower mothers.
What inspires you?
What inspires me is the potential of Africa and its people. Our potential of doing better than the current situation. I’m convinced that all our issues are solvable and that we need to act, each and every one of us, towards the betterment of our situation whether it is in social, business or governance. Everyone needs to play a role so that we remove Africa from its stigma and scars. We have to work towards this so that our children won’t need to flee and won’t look up to the West for solutions. I grew up seeing adults celebrating someone’s departure to the West and to Asia, and I want that to stop!
Why are you passionate about human rights specifically girls’ right and access to education?
When there are equal human rights, there is a society where everybody feels respected and valued and enables the society as a whole to work towards the common good. I feel privileged for having a life free of illiteracy, free of abduction, free of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), free of rape and all the things that happen to the girls who are born just a few kilometres away from where I grew up. So I deeply understand that I didn’t do anything special to deserve being in a better place, I just so happened to be born at good coordinates. I chose who to marry, how many kids to have, what to study, where to study and where to work and when to change careers. It feels good to have rights and access to education and I want all women (and men) to have that as they are not less deserving than I am.
Tell us about one woman who inspires you and why she inspired you?
Bruktawit Tigabu inspires me the most. She is an Ethiopian television producer who is at the head of WHiz Kids Workshop, a social enterprise created about 10 years ago. She’s now working on the animated children series “Tibeb Girls” profiling African super-hero girls so that our kids are inspired by people who look like them. She inspires me because she makes me feel like anything is possible. I remember how small she started 10 years ago. When I see how far she has come since then it makes me feel like I can also achieve my goals. Her journey taught me that with determination and hard work, you can achieve so much. It makes me feel like it could be me, like my dreams are within my reach. She has the guts to try things and we need loads of women like her in Africa.