Fatoumatta Joof | DIHGLA Cohort 3 | IBWPPI

Fatoumatta Joof

My name is Fatoumatta Joof. I was born and raised in The Gambia, a small country on the west side of Africa. I am from the “Serer” and “Wolof” tribe. I grew up loving the art of reading and writing, leading me to choose English in literature as my favorite subject in school. My exposure to the literal world enabled me to understand the world around me and connect with other people. I never had the opportunity to travel outside of my country, but through the countless number of books I read, I have felt my presence in many communities.

After finishing high school, I got enrolled into nursing school. During this period, I tried to find who I was as a person. The state of our healthcare system had me questioning my stance on being a nurse. I have always had it in me to speak against injustice. Being in that position, I made the decision to work better to improve the conditions of the healthcare system.

Realizing the state of our health, justice and governing system made me decide I cannot be at the wrong side of everything if I want to make the world a better place for everyone. Like Desmond Tutu said “If  you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”. After finishing my degree program and waiting to sit for the board exams to be certified as a nurse, I volunteered with an NGO as a program officer to develop my skills as a writer and be an advocate for women rights. Those few months exposed me to a whole different world. I was aware of the inequalities in our communities, especially for the poor, women, and children, but working closely with these marginalized communities
made me realize how blind I was to their struggles.

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