Born Amal Mohammed, her journey has been an enthralling experience meant to show just how much your past does not define who you are to become. She swims in a pool of trades: a certified henna artist, freelance hijab model, certified yoga instructor, designer and not forgetting she oversees the Community Experience Docket at Swahilipot Hub.
She expresses no remorse when answering my question on how far her educational background runs. It may come as a surprise to learn that she is a primary six dropout due to her family’s lack of financial capability to pay for her fees. Selflessly putting the education of her siblings before her own, Amal says, “I always felt my level of education
will pull me back because of not being a graduate but it did not. The person I am today is equal to or even much better than the graduates.”
The power of volunteerism
Choosing the path of volunteering stems from her profound need to learn more and give back tenfold what knowledge she acquires. In her words, “Being a volunteer is like earning money, it pays me with knowledge and that’s more than I could ask for.”
Amal relishes fashion, sharpening her tech skills, diving headfirst into the world of novels, cooking for loved ones, and being a “clean freak”. Even though she seems to be caught up in the realm of social circles and communal servitude, she admits that she would rather stay cooped up in her house than be out and about.
Peer and family pressures
Being a youth means she is subjected to the similar pressures that come with societal prejudice. One such has been a constant reminder that as a female her biological clock is said to be ticking. “The pressure is there about marriage and all but I always try to tell and make them (family) understand that I need to make a living; be my own boss. Before I
actually settle down for marriage and kids.” She says.
Mental health advocate
I was prompted to ask whether as a mental health advocate with so much on her plate, she ever felt like up and quitting it all? To which she replied that at moments like those she holds herself back and thinks of just how far she has come and that does the trick for her to keep moving on.
Amal looks up to Mahmoud Noor, fondly known as Mentor 001, and sights one of his favorite sayings as a source of her inspiration; “ Tenda wema nenda zako ” which can loosely be translated to ” do good and be on your way.” Despite being haunted by the possibility of unfulfilled and unachieved dreams, she concluded our session by sending a message of hope to the youth. “I urge all youth to cease in their ways of self-doubt and inferiority but rather to embrace hope, for now, the future”, she concludes.
Amal serves as one of the Youth Advisory Group Members supporting GOYN Mombasa