Fadumo Dayib was born in Kenya to Somali parents in 1972. Her mother had travelled there for better medical treatment after devastatingly losing 11 (yes, 11!) children previously to preventable diseases. Fadumo, the 12th, survived, as did subsequent siblings. The family was deported from Kenya back to Somalia in 1989 when Fadumo was 17, around the time that civil war broke out. Her parents sold what they could to raise enough money to send Fadumo and her younger siblings abroad for their own safety. They arrived in Finland as refugees where they were offered sanctuary and stability.
Since then, she has accomplished extraordinary things. She studied a nursing degree and masters in Finland, received a masters degree in Public Administration from Harvard University, is a PhD fellow at the University of Helsinki and has worked for the UN.
As well as being a dedicated mother to four children, Fadumo has been instigating social change and cultivating skills to turn her vision for Somalia into action. Speaking on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, she describes waiting 26 years for strong leadership to bring an end to the unrest and bloodshed in Somalia. Eventually, she decided that she was the leader that she was waiting for, and decided to step forward as a Presidential candidate.
She states that currently, an administration is in charge in Somalia, but it has not been democratically elected, it’s been chosen by clan leaders. The Presidential Selections are supposed to take place on 30 November 2016, having already been postponed once.
“What they don’t understand is that when a people want change, and ideology is born, you cannot eliminate or kill that.”
Fadumo wants to challenge the system. Over 80% of the people have indicated a desire for a democratic process, but she believes they’re being held to ransom by the 1% of people in charge. She is fighting for the rights of women and girls in Somalia, many of whom die from complications of female genital mutilation (FGM), childbirth, sexual violence and terrorism.
Fadumo believes that she has the support of the Somali people. But she does not have the support of the clans, religious groups or businesses because she undermines their hold on power. The risks are high – she receives death threats, not only from the militant group al-Shabaab but from the political elite and the business sector. In response she states “What they don’t understand is that when a people want change, and ideology is born, you cannot eliminate or kill that.” She accepts that when there is a drive for social change, there will be casualties – but she is not afraid.
She believes the system for the upcoming Presidential selections in Somalia is already rigged, and predicts that the current incumbent, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud will be re-elected. Fadumo is accused of being a ‘Puppet of the West’. But she honestly believes that one day, she will become the President of Somalia – not through bribes or corruption, but through a democratic process. We wish her all the very best of luck!
To read more about this extraordinary woman, check out her blog here.
Such an inspiring woman!