Somali Teenager Defies Odds to Become First Female Mechanic in the Country

Fredrick Ngugi September 13, 2017

Nasra the mechanic - Somalia's first virtual reality film from What Took You So Long? on Vimeo.

In Somalia, where Islamic terrorists have been fighting to establish a caliphate which prohibits women from engaging in various activities, a teenage girl has defied all odds to become the first female mechanic in the country.

Nasra Haji Hussain Ibrahim, who is only 18 years old, is the first female mechanic in Somalia, where unemployment continues to force young people to join the region’s terror group Al-shabaab.

Ms. Ibrahim was selected as one of the speakers at TedxMogadishu, a conference held in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, in April this year, where talented and ambitious Somalis came together to share their inspiring stories, according to Okay Africa.

She recently sat down with Okay Africa to share her experience as the only female in a male-dominated profession in a conservative society.

“I work as a mechanic to change the life of my family and my own. I see myself as a role model to other girls in Somalia and the whole world,” Ibrahim said, insisting that she is a hardworking girl.

Despite the conservative nature of the society she lives in and the ongoing civil war in the country, Ibrahim is happy because her family has always supported her work, always encouraging her to continue with her good work.

But she admits that initially some of her neighbors were surprised to learn that she works as a mechanic. She attributes their surprise to the society’s general backwardness and the war.

Nasra Haji Hussain Ibrahim

Nasra Haji Hussain Ibrahim at work. Photo credit: Into The Chic

Her message to women in Somalia and around the world is to believe in their strength and leave behind their fears, as well as to ignore anyone who is against their development.

“I tell them that they have all the energy, dreams and goals and they can achieve everything,” said Ms. Ibrahim.

Her dream is to become a well-known and respected person in Somalia and across the world, and hopes to play an integral part in helping her country get back on its feet.

She is certain that the young generation in Somalia has the capability to restore the lost glory to Somalia, which has been engulfed in a deadly civil war since 1993.

“I am very ready to do what it takes to partake in that movement to seek peace and justice to all Somalis,” she said.

In her spare time, Ms. Ibrahim likes to read inspirational stories, “write stuff” and listen to patriotic songs by local musicians. She is a big fan of the renowned Somali poet Hadrawii.

Current statistics show that the rate of unemployment among the people aged between 15 and 64 in Somalia stands at 54 percent, with women being the most affected.  At least 74 percent of women in Somalia are unemployed, with 40 percent of youths in the country actively looking for work.

Last Edited by:Sandra Appiah Updated: September 13, 2017


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