My "Sense of Community" Led to My Progress
By Farah Mohamed, Founder & CEO, G(irls)20 March 13, 2015 12:00 PM
To celebrate International Women’s Day, Farah Mohamed, Founder & CEO, G(irls)20, shares her story about the defining moment in time that led to her progress.
It is hard to believe that an event that took place when you are 2 years old can shape your entire approach to life and, indeed, your progress.
In 1972, the Ugandan President Idi Amin ordered 80,000 Asian Ugandans to leave that country within 90 days. My family is Asian Ugandan. Many people in our community were initially optimistic, certain the tide would turn and they could stay in their homes, raise their children and run their business. Instead, horrific stories of cannibalism, murder and rape motivated most to flee their homes, businesses and the life they knew.
Mine was one of the lucky families. Thanks to the friendship of two world leaders, we moved to Canada where my parents rebuilt our lives.
From a very young age my parents taught me the meaning of giving back, being part of a community, and the importance of education as a way to ensure having choices in life. They didn’t talk too much about our exodus, but I understood that life would have been very different if we were not thrown out of our country. The combination of my parents’ gratitude to Canada, hard work and optimism was hugely influential in shaping me to become a social entrepreneur and a political strategist.
My proudest professional achievement is the creation of G(irls)20, a non-profit that works to put women at the center of economic decision-making processes globally. Consistent with what my childhood hardships taught me, the organization is built on three things you cannot take away once acquired: education, entrepreneurial spirit and experiences.
G(irls)20 places the voices of girls and women at the heart of what is the most preeminent political platform to discuss economic issues. G(irls)20 chooses strategic investments in individuals over charity. It instills the belief that it is only with economic and political prowess that communities are protected. And, it teaches that strong communities lead to strong countries.
Just as my parents invested in me, I invest in others. Just as volunteerism was part of my upbringing, I encourage the recipients of our program to help others. And just as the entrepreneurial gene seems to be part of my DNA, I hope that the young women involved in G(irls)20 will build socially conscious enterprises.
I used to think I came by my progress because I was in the right place at the right time with the right skills. I now know that it was also the events of 42 years ago that shaped my path and led me to my progress.
To learn more about G(irls)20 please visit girls20.org