Fatima Ezzahra Daif
Fatima Ezzahra Daif
Morocco World News
Johannesburg, February 16, 2013
Just a year ago, I would never have imagined my life to be the way it is today. Yet, I am tremendously glad it is. Why? My school is the reason.
African Leadership Academy (ALA) is a world class institution that has as a mission to transform the African continent by developing the next generation of African leaders.
From the first time I heard about ALA, I knew it was a great fit for me and for my ambitions, being a young achiever and an eternal dreamer.
I applied to the school while my family and friends were still skeptic about it, and still questioning how safe that path would be.
The idea of a seventeen year old girl, going all the way to South Africa, leaving her mathematical sciences branch for a program unknown to the Moroccan educational system was far from being the usual path to follow, and definitely not the easiest to convince about.
Five months later, I am writing from Johannesburg, and I am proud to say that coming here is by far the best decision I could ever have made.
Between regular courses combined with Leadership and Entrepreneurship classes, African Studies and community service, I am having the experience of a lifetime.
It is absolutely fascinating that I am in classes with people from all around Africa, and the world actually. Every day, I gain an exposure to wider perspectives of life, brought from Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, the United Kingdom. As students, we still find a common ground, a certain form of unity.
I must admit that it is extremely humbling to be part of a community where changing Africa is not only a dream that may come true, but rather a goal that shall become a reality.
At the same time, it is extremely sad to say that in my beloved home country, Morocco, we hardly believe in the power of youth, in the change this generation can make if we were to provide the right tools and the right development space.
But what if our youth were the change makers we are waiting for? What if they deserve to be trusted and counted on to alleviate the problems of this continent? What if our educational system was to go beyond academics to develop the students’ interpersonal skills and leadership abilities in a way that makes them ready to face life, the real life?
What if our youth were to go beyond borders, in terms of life perspectives, experiences and exposure? What if our youth went beyond the borders drawn by the status quo and did what is right instead of what has always been done? What if changing Africa was not a mirage, but an achievable goal, one young African at a time?
Too many what ifs are colonizing my mind at this moment, and I honestly hope you will take some time to think about the answers. The power is in our hands. Or let me say, the power is in our minds. As youth, we are the change-makers, and we shall go beyond borders to make this world a better place.
Fatima Ezzahra Daif is Morocco World News’ correspondent in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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