A few months ago my inspiration Sagal, from Sage Foundation, and I collaborated to fundraise for Wheels for Women; A campaign we launched on GoFundMe. Sagal, whom I had the pleasure of working with, was moved by one woman's journey-Willo Ali Haganeh, a Djibouti national and former business lady. In 2000, Willow was struck by a car during her commute to work. As a result of the accident, Willo was diagnosed with dorsal spine trauma and paraplegia. When Sagal Abdi visited her and many others, she stated, "I have not a mother or father left. I am suffering alone". Thanks to support from the Global Somali community, we were able to reach our goal and provided Wiilow with a wheelchair. (Willow, standing Left- Pink garment).
Like many, Sagal Abdi is passionate about giving back. But, what distinguishes her from many individuals I have come across is her determination to see ALL women thrive! Honestly speaking, not many individuals are willing to sacrifice their youth, time, or wealth to see others prosper. We all share the responsibility of supporting our communities but, support goes far beyond raising money; it is reminding each other there's hope.
We asked Sagal for an interview to better portray her dreams, vision, and mission.
What ignited this passion of yours?
I quit my job at Extra Energy ( Gas and Electricity call centre) because I was tired of wasting my motivation in an already well established company. I felt that my skills and ambitious attributes were needed elsewhere. I lost my grandmother in the past year or so due to Cancer and ever since then I have been disappointed in the healthcare in Africa. I mean I know it was qadr Allah but the misdiagnosis was out of order and she could have had more time to ask for forgiveness if she knew the illness. I also volunteered with International Citizen Service, VSO for three months where I was exposed to another culture, way of life and an intense education project. From this volunteering experience I developed greatly on a personal note and I haven't stopped being an active citizen ever since.
What Does Hope Mean To You?
Ah, Hope is a very broad word. Personally, hope to me is that we will as a diaspora return to the motherland. I hope we all use our education , knowledge and power in order to empower home. I hope that we make Somalia greater again, a land free of tribalism, war, and poverty. I hope that we unite as young men and women to create a better world for generations to come. I hope that we show our current political leaders that we hold enough credentials to govern the future of the horn. I hope as women we liberate each other and will be able to expose our belligerent personas so we can also abolish gender based discrimination. I hope that Somalia will be great again, because of us.
What Role Do Youth Play in the Development of Somalia?
I think youth play a fair bit in the development of Somalia. However, I don't think enough are engaged in it. It's great attending national independence days, reminding the community of our culture and celebrating the motherland but how sustainable is that? More youth need to be actively involved and I mean just beyond social media and hashtags in the development of Somalia. It's a bit like McDonalisation we are missing the one who flips the burgers and the cashier. The most important roles ( analogy could have been better, I know). Anyway, Development work needs a team , a team with a division of labour to help complete the task effectively!
It must be challenging to express your concerns on issues like FGM (Female Genital Mutilation), Gender Equality, and Mental Health. Do you ever felt limited while pursuing your dream?
I do feel limited in some areas of my work due to my gender and age of course. There is the common perception that I'm this 'white Washed' diaspora girl who thinks she can change the world instantly. Also, on some occasions I've been told I am far too young to even try to tackle some of the 'overdue' social issues in Djibouti. I don't let this stop me because the Sage Foundation represents the Young Women in Djibouti and I won't let a narrow minded individual stop those girls from achieving their dreams!
What can we hope to see as you expand and further develop Sage Foundation?
There are many things that will be coming from the Sage Foundation. We are in planning of the Sage Foundation centre for Young Women in Djibouti. We believe every woman has a right to absolute privacy and freedom. This centre will allow young women to freely talk about any difficulties they face within their communities. In confidence, they will attend the centre to receive advice on sexual health, employability skills , micro finance schemes and how to fight illiteracy etc. We will remain determined to continue in partnership with the handicap 'living stronger ' women's association and the women of the national HIV/AIDS prevention program. We will cooperatively work alongside these organisations in order to create more successful campaigns like our current one #WHEELSFORWOMEN. We plan on creating an army of empowered young women so they can contribute to their world.
Get connected with Sagal Abdi via Twiiter- https://twitter.com/Beautsin Visit Sage Foundaton's site here! https://sagalabdi.wordpress.com/