I refused to get married at a young age and this changed my life. Tashrifa Mohamed.

True humility is indeed thinking less of yourself and more of others. Tashrifa Abubakar Mohamed exudes such modesty that cannot go unnoticed.

She founded Lamu Archepelego University Student Association, a community based organisation whose aim is to empower and offer education opportunities to the girl child in Lamu, Kenya.

The organization has directly reached tens of schools and hundreds of girls.

She has previously worked as a director at Malindi Islamic Center for Orphans and as a mentor to many children.

I was very curious to know about her journey after she hit the headlines in 2011 for winning the Lamu cultural festival several times and getting a sponsorship to showcase her henna art at the Cincinnati museum in the U.S.

I grew up in extreme poverty in Pate Island. Girls were not allowed to go to school.

My mum, a single mother and my uncle paid attention to my plea and allowed me to join Primary school.

Everyone in the community expected me to go by the norm and get married at a young age. I refused.

I was the only girl to join High school from my community and had to do this in a different area. I moved to Lamu.

After High school, I moved to Mombasa and worked in beauty salons to save money for college. 

I got selected to join Pwani University where I pursued Archaeology and Sociology.

I get such deep satisfaction when training girls in my community through art and raising funds for their High school education.

My community now looks at me differently and every parent wants to take their girls to school.


Tashrifa got selected for the prestigious YALI program and admits that the skills she learned helped her secure a job as a probation officer with the Ministry of Interior & Co-ordination.

Her role is empowering and transforming the offenders’ lives.

Life has taught me to mentor others, to work very hard and smart and to always aim at disrupting the status quo.

I am very young and still rocking second floor and my vision is to empower thousands of young people.

Keep at it Tashrifa! If you happen to connect with this fearless young woman in Lamu Island, do surprise her with a meal of Tanduri and vegetable stew- It’s her favorite!

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