Ilwad Elman returned to Somalia in 2009, a time of significant conflict. She returned with the aim to continue the work of her father who was assassinated for his efforts to remove weapons from the hands of Somali children in Mogadishu.
In his honour, Ilwad alongside her mother and siblings created the Elman Peace Centre in Mogadishu. It is the country’s first program to assist the victims of gander based violence. The centre also provides counselling and health support for women in need.
Ms Elman currently runs a program to rehabilitate child soldiers and integrate them back into the society. Through the Elman Peace Centre, she provides shelter for the victims of abuse and educates against the stigma and silence surrounding sexual violence.
Ms Elman was a speaker at the first ever TEDx conference in Mogadishu in 2012, she featured in the documentary, Through the Fire in 2013, and in 2014, she was appointed a Young African Leader Initiative (YALI) fellow by the US Department of State.
She is making a difference in Somalia by directly impacting lives and teaching others to fully live.