Ashaba Faridah is a pilot in Uganda, East Africa. She is the Founder and the Chief Executive Officer of Bambino Life Foundation, an organization that focuses on promoting girl child education, creating awareness about children living with disabilities and providing a sustainable environment to children living in orphanages.
Ashaba was recently selected to be 1 of the 9 women innovators to represent the UN women “Impossible to Ignore” campaign that launched the she innovates global program on international womens’ day 2019. Some of the figures featured were Dr Christyl Johnson, the first female African-American deputy director of NASA.,Beatie Wolfe, a singer and innovator among others. The campaign appeared all across the world from places like The economist, Westfield, NASDAQ, Walgreens,New York Time square, the world trade center and across all digital platforms in UK
Ashaba believes in breaking stereotypes. Around September 2018, she became the Director of STEM Queens Uganda, an initiative that encourages young girls to participate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Her objective behind joining the initiative is to empower young girls mentally, prepare them to step into the male dominating world with confidence and to bring more significance to the idea of inclusion in STEM roles. In the same year, she also became the Chairperson of Global Goodwill Ambassadors (GGA), Uganda Chapter to promote great opportunities for those in need.
Recently, Ashaba gave her first TEDx talk wherein she emphasized on why girls need relatable role models. As an inspiration to many, she strongly believes that girls should focus on who they want to be than what the society expects them.
Your recent TED Talk explores the need for relatable role models, especially for girls? Why is this important?
Young girls need to be able to see themselves in their role models, if I grew up poor and I see a person who went through the same circumstances or has the same background as me, thriving and being successful, it is very encouraging and also gives me hope knowing if it can happen for them, then it can happen for me. This is the importance of relatable role models and why we need African women who have made it, to come back to their countries or societies once in a while to inspire and encourage the young girls they left behind for I believe the children are our future, let us teach them well!
You are Director of STEM Queens Uganda and Chairperson, Global Goodwill Ambassadors- can you share some highlights you have experienced on the journey?
STEM Queens is an initiative under Bambino life foundation that encourages young girls to participate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This is to encourage them to participate in the African S.T.E.M economy. Being able to see young girls interested in this initiative is a step forward to getting more girls into STEMs
The global goodwill ambassadors is an organization that recognizes people doing humanitarian works across the world. I have made the most amazing connections with different people across the world through GGA, being able to work together as one for the betterment of mankind has been a humbling and learning experience for me.
And the challenges?
When you love what you do, you never see them as challenges but as experiences that make you better with time! What I have learnt is science, technology , engineering and mathematics have been seen as boy subjects for such a long time and it will take some time to change this mindset but we are patient and know its just a matter of time.
You also run Bambino life foundation, what’s the vision of the organization?
To enable the long term success of young women and children throughout Uganda by providing them access to basic human needs, education and knowledge.
The organization focuses on 3 core programs; Promoting girl child education and empowerment, creating awareness about children living with disabilities and creating a better life for orphans.
What are some of the works you have done with girls?
So many young girls have dropped out of school and due to factors that can be easily fixed, yet very few come forward to fix them. It breaks my heart to see girls as young as 13 years getting pregnant, being married off or even dropping out of school because they can’t afford sanitary pads. If I can even help two girls to stay in school, that is enough for me because those same girls will do everything in their might to educate their future children and it is a continuous process.
There is an African saying that states, educate a girl child and you have educated an entire village. We are doing everything we can to keep young girls in school and give them a chance at following their dreams.
Can you share some milestones the organisation has recorded so far?
The organization has been able to impact more than 3000 girls through teaching them sustainable development skills like how to make reusable pads, liquid detergent soap, mosquito repellant soap etc. We have also donated school materials to 2000+ girls in rural schools.
We have also impacted 400+ children in different orphanages across Uganda.
What are some of the challenges you have faced running the organization?
The biggest challenge would be lack of stable funding; the organization mainly survives on the goodwill of different people who donate in kind towards all our outreaches, but because we are passionate about helping others, this has never stopped us from carrying out our activities.
What advice do you have for women who want to tow this same path?
Remember where you come from and who you are! With that in mind, no one will ever tell you what you can and can’t do, not even me! Believe in yourself and never limit the work of God in your life.
What would you like to be remembered for?
I would like to be remembered as someone who displayed God’s love on earth! Someone who impacted over a million children.
What counts as fun for Ashaba Faridah?
Hmmm ,Let’s see, Well I do love watching series/movies, listening to some slows and fine dining!
If you could have a lunch date with one woman you admire- who would it be and what would you ask her?
Hahaha, that would be Oprah! Honestly I wouldn’t want to ask her anything since I take eating my food seriously haha! I would probably ask her how it feels for the whole world to know her name. Must be a lot of pressure.
Ashaba Faridah’s TED Talk below.
The Leading Ladies Africa Series is a weekly interview series that focuses on women of African descent, showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa; an initiative that seeks to effectively mentor and inspire women, with particular emphasis on the African continent.
Do you know any woman of African descent doing phenomenal things? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we just might feature her.