Fadumo Dayib, lliterate Until The Age Of 14, Is Now Studying At Harvard University

Fadumo Dayib, lliterate Until The Age Of 14,  Is Now Studying At Harvard University Fadumo Dayib, lliterate Until The Age Of 14, Is Now Studying At Harvard University

When Fadumo Dayib announced her bid to run for President of Somalia on national TV last year, people thought she was crazy. Somalia’s violent history and the life-threatening conditions that the country’s politicians and activists face on a daily basis makes Dayib’s choice to run for office— especially as a woman in a patriarchal culture—a brave one. “People just can’t understand why I would do such a thing,” Dayib says.

Somalia’s 2016 elections will be the first democratic elections held since 1967, when President Abdirashid Ali Shermarke rose to power. He was assassinated two years later and the Somali Army quickly took control, declaring a military coup d’état. A civil war followed in the early 1990s, as well as severe famine and political upheaval. A federal, democratic president was finally elected by the Parliament in 2012 to replace a series of transitional governments. And if all goes according to Vision 2016, Somalia’s citizens will officially elect its first democratic President next year.

If anyone can become Somalia’s first female president, it is this articulate, highly successful Finnish woman of Somali origin. Born to illiterate Somali parents in the mid-1970s, Dayib had a turbulent childhood full of financial difficulties. Her single mother, who often had to go to great lengths to make ends meet, mainly raised her. But despite the disadvantages she faced early on in life, her résumé boasts an impressive list of credentials: After receiving several degrees in international public health, Dayib is currently a MC/MPA Mason fellow at Harvard and a doctoral candidate with a focus on women, peace, and security at the University of Helsinki. She also has over a decade of experience working for the UN. An especially notable feat considering Dayib didn’t become fully literate until about the age of 14.


“Throughout my childhood, I was constantly moving back and forth between Kenya and Somalia. At the age of 11, I really started to concentrate on my studies and I fully became literate at 14, having less than five years of primary schooling,” she says.

At around 17 years old, she and her two younger siblings moved to Finland as refugees, and there Dayib was able to build take advantage of academic opportunities and build a successful career. Dayib’s husband and four children are still based in Finland today.

Dayib was deemed resilient from the moment she entered the world. She is her mother’s first surviving child after the loss of eleven children to treatable diseases. Perhaps that’s why, despite not having an extensive political background, connections, or a privileged upbringing, Dayib truly believes she can lead her homeland to a better future.

“I’ve been waiting for 25 years, and nobody is taking that responsibility seriously, and I have decided to do it,” Dayib says.

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Latest news, Politics, UK News, Fadumo Dayib, Harvard University, Abdirashid Ali Shermarke, University of Helsinki


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