Meet Amina Mohamed: Innovator, inspiration, 'simple girl'
'I want to be ... an example of someone who has followed her dreams and made a difference': U of M student
This is one of nine profiles on outstanding Manitoba women in honour of International Women's Day. The CBC Creator Network project was written by Carmen Ponto and illustrated by artist Joanna Turner. Some answers have been edited for space and clarity.
Amina Mohamed, 23, is a self-proclaimed "simple girl" and a social work student at the University of Manitoba. In 2017, she gained recognition for adapting a hijab design for her own high school sports uniform, logo and all. It was the first of its kind in Canada.
How do you want to be seen by your community?
I want to be seen as an inspiration. When I see others from my community doing important work, I clap for them and celebrate their success. I want to be that for others.
I want to be a symbol, an example of someone who has followed her dreams and made a difference.
What I don't want is for people to see me as a symbol of the challenges I've overcome. That's so common in immigrant communities — you need to have this big story of struggle to just be seen as relevant.
Me, and other women from immigrant families, are so much more than a culmination of our struggles.- Amina Mohamed
Me, and other women from immigrant families, are so much more than a culmination of our struggles. More than anything else, we are our successes and our achievements.
What do you want to accomplish that you haven't yet?
I broke the family mould by going into social work. I started out in science, but I finally settled on social work because I wanted to help families like mine.
My parents are immigrants from Kenya. They had to start fresh and it was tough.
I've seen a complete lack of services for mental health in the newcomer community, and I want to change that. The topic of mental health in general for immigrant communities is simply not talked about in Winnipeg.
There's this mentality, for example, that children come first, and for mothers especially, their own needs tend to take a back seat.
I want to work with these communities to bring awareness to mental health issues — to remind them that their needs matter too.
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