Somali teen’s venture in rare field attracts support of international firm – Dahabshiil
April 27, 2017 - Written by wariye999

Teenager Nasra Haji has ventured into a world most female Somalis
would dare not, mechanics.

She wakes up every morning and goes to her garage in Mogadishu where
she has attracted many clients thanks to her hard work.

“This has always been my passion. I love cars and I have always wanted
to know about them. That is why I decided to become a mechanic,” says

“This is not an ordinary job for ladies, but it is what I have always
wanted to do. I am happy I have made my dream into a reality,” she

A youths’ leader, Suaad Raage, has drawn her inspiration from Nasra.
“This gem is the first female mechanic in Somalia and is an
inspiration to all,” she tweeted.

Nasra is among the youths in Somalia who have reason to believe in
empowerment following the fourth TEDxMogadishu, which was held this
month. Nasra Haji, was one of the inspirational speakers at the event.


Money transfer company, Dahabshiil was one of the main sponsors of the
event which is aimed at creating opportunities for the youths, giving
them a platform to express their creativity and courage and boosting
their chances of being self-reliant.

Nasra’s story touched Dahabshiil’s Chief Executive Officer, Abdirashid
Duale, who attended TEDx.

Dahabshiil has promised to help her, enabling her to develop her
career as a mechanic.

“She is part of our vision of helping youths achieve their goals in
life,” said Mr Duale.

Nasra is just one of many young Somalis and others across the region
who have become empowered due to support from the money transfer firm.

Dahabshiil, through remittances from the diaspora, has ensured that
the Somali youths, women and the elderly continue to build their
economy back home.

The remittances are particularly important at this time of devastating
drought, the worst in at least two decades.


Dahabshiil’s services also help rebuild the country, and provide
investment for its development.

It provides financial services, including banking, as well as
telecommunications across the region.

TEDxMogadishu offered proof that the war-weary capital is on the path
to recovery and even normalcy.

It is organised by the inspirational young activist, Ilwad Elman, of
the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre in Mogadishu.

Her role in TEDx was central as she not only brought together all
these young Somalis, but presented the event with great eloquence.

TEDx is a spin-off of the popular TED (Technology, Entertainment, and
Design) talks in California, with one major caveat — the participants
must organize the event.


The aim of any TED talk is to “spread ideas” in the form of short,
powerful talks.

There have been TEDx events in Baghdad, Kabul, Tripoli and Hanoi,
cities that have been brought to their knees by the ravages of war and
are in the process of rebuilding.

This year’s event was held in Mogadishu’s Peace Hotel owned by Somali
businessman, Bashir Osman Yusuf.

The theme was “Iska Wax U Qabso” which translates as “Do it for
yourself”, a message to Somalis to get actively involved in creating a
better life for themselves and future generations. It emphasises
self-reliance but also cooperation with one another.

Social media users used the hashtag #iskaawaxuqabso to relay the
TEDxMogadishu message to thousands of people who watched the event
live via internet stream. It was even live-streamed to the Ifo Camp in
Dadaab with the help of Film Aid Kenya.

This year’s speakers included Samira Mohamed Abdirahman, a trained
chef and baker who learned to make cheese from scratch in Sweden.


She returned to Somalia to find that there was only imported cheese
and butter. Samira took it upon herself to fill the void and began
working with local farmers to source for the milk that she uses to
make her cheese, butter and cream products.

Recently, she built a production facility in Mogadishu and a
distribution network that provides cheese to many of the local
restaurants. She told the crowd that one of the greatest benefits of
her business venture is that she is a job-creator.

“It is so encouraging to see Somalis from the diaspora and those who
never left the country coming together at TEDx to talk about their
experiences and to inspire others to work to promote peace,
development and hope,” said Mr Duale.

Vik Sohonie, one of the two non-Somali speakers at the event is a
musical historian.

As the founder of Ostinato Records, he searches the world for the
“music of misunderstood cultures” and then digitises the music in
order to preserve it forever.

His work has taken him to Haiti, Cape Verde and now Somalia.

After digitalising close to 10,000 original recordings from the 70s
and 80s, Vik has created the largest anthology of Somali music.


“The classical tapes have been dispatched to Djibouti and Somaliland
to preserve them,” he says.

Medical doctors, Mohamed Yusuf and Lul Mohamed, spoke vividly of what
it feels like to be on the front lines of war and disease.

The talks hosted a number of creative minds who spoke of how, through
their individual feats and efforts, they are changing the landscape of
Mogadishu and Somalia.

Make-up artist, Maryan Ahmedey, who stopped receiving formal education
at the age of 10, is now the leading make-up artist in Mogadishu with
a long list of clients and a full schedule.

Abbas Siraji, the youngest member of the Somali cabinet as Minister of
Public Works, detailed his rise from a student in the largest refugee
camp in the world, Dadaab in Kenya, to becoming a Member of Parliament
and now a Minister.

Although the security situation in Mogadishu remains precarious,
gatherings such as TEDx reveal a glimmer of hope and spreads
inspiration, ideas and shows the world another picture of Somalia than
what usually dominates news headlines.

Sacad Muse Abdi
Head of Advertisement
DMT Public Relation & Media
M: +252 65 9111010
T: +476 705 9893
E: saad.muse@dahabshiil.com
A: Dahabshiil Operations Center
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Hargeisa, Somaliland
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