How Hadija Halifa is grabbing opportunities

Hadija Halifa with some girls after interview. PHOTO | COURTESY

Once upon a short while back, a bold and confident 13-year-old came, saw and conquered.

She has proven to be a force in her own right, in this big and scary world.

Hadija Halifa, now in Form 1 at the Crown Secondary School also doubles as a presenter for the Msichana Jasiri program since last year at the Deutsche Welle (DW).

How she started

Her career journey started with an interview she was offered by DW on the International Girl Child day in 2020.

She was one of the participants present in the studio to discuss children’s rights.

Her mom, who is also a presenter at the same spot, saw how important it would have been to have a young voice on the show and presented the idea to Khadija who accepted with joy.

“I was amazed by how she was able to contribute to the interview and everyone at the studio liked her courage,” says Hadija’s mom.

On that particular day, her role was to moderate the roundtable conversation.

She was tasked with driving the conversation around reproductive health education for young girls.

At the round table, health experts, students, artists and parents were present to help young girls learn.

Hadija says, after she got an invitation which was accompanied by a set of questions for her and she was happy because she had an understanding and answers from what she had learned at school.

She was ready for the interview which went well.

Msichana Jasiri

After her debut on the International Girl Child Day, the studio decided to give her a little more work. She started with two programs of which the first was not as good as it should be.

The second program was good and it gave her more joy and so the Msichana Jasiri show was born.

“I always believe if someone gives you an opportunity know that you live in their hearts. This made me believe the DW management wanted the best for me and I am doing my best to continue growing, “says Hadija.

Msichana Jasiri is Swahili for brave girl.

The show gives you the opportunity to feel the girl’s courage and the great contribution she makes to society.

You will hear of ways parents can help girls discover their confidence as they raise her to recognize herself as an acceptable, lovable and a girl capable of achieving her wildest and biggest dreams.

Every girl has her own destiny and is created and empowered to fulfil her dream.

The key is good relations between parents and their daughters to give them a good upbringing.

The brave girl is open-minded, loving, and willing to give of herself for others. She is a hero and an inspiration.

“With Msichana Jasiri, I prepare the script on my own and then share it with my producer,” explains Hadija of her work. Her producer also helps her with booking interviews with news sources and potential guests but she does the questions herself.

“I was happy to get an opportunity to speak and be able to represent young girls in my country who have never had that opportunity. The DW head and other staff liked the program I was featured in and when an opportunity came I am glad I was considered to be the presenter for the Msichana Jasiri show,” says Khadija.

Nurturing her talents

Her experience at the DW has exposed her to other opportunities such as moderating at different events. At her tender age, she was seen moderating the roundtable conversation soon after the Young and Alive Initiative (YAI) press conference which aimed at announcing the official launch of the YAI Fellowship specifically for children and youth aged 15-24.

However, Hadija does not consider it as a career but an opportunity to nurture her talents.

This nurturing has awarded her honour and recognition through awards like the Excellence in Journalism Awards in Tanzania (EJAT) and a recognition award from the Wasafi Classic Baby (WCB) company during the celebration of the International Women’s Day March this year.

Balance with school

At school, all students are the same regardless of their family background. Weather one is from a rich or poor family is completely irrelevant. So when she is at school she is just a student.

She adds that her timetable from Monday to Friday is all about her studies, homework and any other related school work. On Saturday I spend time doing my personal things like laundry and taking care of her flock of over 500 chicken, a side business she also developed and runs.

Her mother says, despite the fact that Hadija has social media accounts she actually lives very far from it.

Her mother takes care of her accounts and she will be able to take it from her mother when the right time comes.

Lessons from Hadija

Hadija is proof of what a supportive and encouraging environment can do to help you boost your talent. However, it should e accompanied by hard work, dedication and determination, or it is all for nothing.