Shaikha AlQatami’s journey with Girl Rising began just over a year ago, but she’s been a women’s rights activist long before she watched our film.
She remembers vividly when, at the young age of 10, she asked her grandfather, Jassim AlQatami, if she could be a policewoman one day.
“He looked at me and said ‘You could be anything you aspire to be, just believe in yourself and work hard in creating positive change in order to make this world a better place.’”
Inspired by her grandfather, then the President of the Arab Human Rights Organization in Kuwait, and driven by her own values, Shaikha remains determined to create positive change across the Middle East.
“I believe that every girl, no matter where she is born, deserves the right to reach her full potential.” Shaikha says. “I and many others remain committed to advancing this belief.”
The Middle East is a region that is witnessing rapid change and progress when it comes to the role of women. And we think Shaikha is doing an amazing job capitalizing on this momentum.
She works alongside an army of enthusiasts, proving that you don’t need fancy tools to make a difference. It’s passion, and surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals, that are key.
She keeps our film at the center of her advocacy work and leads by example: empowering local champions take charge of their own impact activities, helping students in Kuwait identify creative ways their community can give back to children in need and joining a fellow girls' empowerment champion on television in Bahrain to discuss the obstacles girls face.
Just to name a few.
These efforts, and more, have raised tens of thousands of dollars for girls' education causes and, we can guess, have inspired the hearts and minds of many.
Still, Shaikha is quick to admit that the work isn’t done yet. Overall, she has one clear goal: to see discrimination and gender inequality wiped out across the world.
“I am most interested in creating a sense of responsibility within the communities for girls’ rights and equality. I want the engagement to be interactive, personal, social, and fun! I find that such environments are most effective at encouraging others to help fuel the movement,“ she says. "We do rise by lifting others.”
And that is something we definitely agree with.
Shaikha is a Girl Rising Regional Ambassador. Among other things, she’s a contributor at WEORITU.org, an independent youth initiative based in the Gulf Region that promotes change through the medium of art, where she took part in project #WeCanDoIt. Her personal tools include digital media, her social network, and confidence in the community’s voices. You can join her story by following along on Instagram.