Fadumo’s story of determination, courage and triumph in the face of adversity had inspired thousands. As a teenager with less than 5 years of primary and secondary school education, Fadumo persuaded her way onto one of the last planes leaving Mogadishu, Somalia when civil war erupted in the early 90’s. She led her siblings to settle in Finland and has never looked back.
In September 2014, she declared her ambitions to run for the Presidency of Somalia in the country’s first democratically-held election since 1967. While she calls herself a dreamer, history has show that important political and social change often begins with a dream and a vision for change. The path she has chosen has always been wrought with risk and danger. But her survival as a woman who like many others in Somalia endured displacement, genital mutilation and poverty – give her the confidence to soldier on in pursuit of her vision for a peaceful and prosperous Somalia.
Fadumo has been instigating social change and cultivating the skills to turn her vision for Somalia into action for decades. She has pioneered human rights activism in Africa with over 12 years experience as a healthcare practitioner focused on public health and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) in Somalia, Kenya, Liberia, Fiji and Finland. Further, her development experience within the UN and the Finnish public sector is extensive on issues of democracy, reproductive health, women’s and girls rights, inclusion and empowerment in all spheres of society.
She is a 2015 Mason Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University where she received her Masters in Public Administration and a PhD fellow at the University of Helsinki researching Women, Peace, and Security Issues in the Horn of Africa within the framework of UNSCR 1325. She is a 2013 recipient of the prestigious Kone Foundation Scholarship, and was awarded Feminist of the Year by the Feminist Association Union in 2014.
FROM CRADLE TO PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRANT
Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.
– Napoleon Hill
I would like to think of myself as a pioneer in the Somali community in Finland. I am the first Somali female refugee to gain employment as a critical care nurse in a Finnish university hospital, the first to graduate with a masters from a Finnish university, the first to work for the UN, and the first to gain admission to a doctoral program in Finland. But I am also the first of my mother’s children to live to adulthood: she lost eleven children to treatable medical conditions prior to my birth. To celebrate my survival, she nicknamed me Deeqo (“the sufficient”).
Due to poverty and family problems, I received less than five years of elementary and middle school education. But my parents, impressed with my hunger to learn, sold their possessions and put me in school as much as possible. I learned to read and write between the ages of eleven and fourteen years old, succeeding in moving from standard seven to form one.
Unfortunately, my schooling ended abruptly when our family was deported from Kenya to Somalia. Soon after, we had to flee Somalia because of the civil war, leaving our mother behind. Despite my youth, I was responsible for guiding my younger siblings to safety, traveling through Russia to Finland in 1990. Finland gave me sanctuary, stability, and the opportunity to dream – – the chance to pursue free education and gain complete emancipation.
I have come this far not only due to the support of my parents, numerous well-wishers, and luck, but also through determination to stay focused, resilient, and committed to my goals.
Let others lead small lives, but not you. Let others argue over small things, but not you. Let others cry over small hurts, but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands, but not you.
– Jim Rohn
My goal is to help rebuild post-conflict Somalia through informed political leadership and to spark social change in partnership with women’s and youth movements. I am passionate about youth, women and their children and their betterment. A country, nation or community that seeks to subjugate half of its population will never prosper. Has never prospered.
My vocational calling in life, other than being a dedicated mother to my four children, is the development of Somalia. It is to serve humanity. Although my body resides in Finland since 1990, my heart beats in Africa, specifically in Somalia. This passion is reflected in my writings, interviews, and PhD research which focuses on Women, Peace and Security in Somalia within the framework of UNSCR 1325.
This is a personal blog on my reflections and musings on running for the highest office in Somalia. As my journey from the Diaspora back home becomes nearer, I find that I’m constantly involved in an internal dialogue. One that is brutal but healthy. Please forgive if some of it is also dark. After all, what you’re reading is my personal journal. The journal of a African female presidential aspirant who aims to run for office in Somalia in 2016. However, this journey is not only about 2016, it is not about getting into office. It is about instigating social change decades and centuries down the line.
Don’t you dare shrink yourself for someone else’s comfort. Do not become small for people who refuse to grow.
My aim is to write authentically, unfiltered and to the point. These are my own opinions, reflections and lived experiences. Thus, they cannot and should be used to generalize. My writings, opinions and entries are under copyright. May I kindly request that they not be used without my permission and consent.
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