Coding Girls in Mozambique: role modelling session with Simone Masri
“Keep moving forward and stay focused on your dreams”. Believing in your dreams is a very complex ability that requires determination and perseverance to protect and nourish them. However, it is also what allows us to go beyond disappointments, face difficulties and keep moving forward towards achieving our goals.
This is the main message of Simone Masri, Health Inequalities Implementation Manager NHS England and USA Health Tech Consultant, to young students aged 15-20, in the Province of Niassa, Mozambique, during the virtual meeting held last Friday, as part of the Coding Girls in Mozambique Programme.
After telling the girls her story between Lebanon, the United States, and England, Simone delved into the many difficulties encountered along her route, including discrimination and the constant fear of losing the visa that allowed her to remain first in the United States and then in England. Successes, despite obstacles. She has never given up on her dreams and was determined to work in the field of public health to fight inequality in the health sector from within, both in the United Kingdom (where she works today) and in her Country, Lebanon (in the future). Finally, the lesson she has learned to date: the importance of continuing to believe in one's abilities and having confidence in one's decisions. All to make your dreams come true.
“Simone's sincere story and, in some respects, one that is close to the reality of many Mozambican students, helped the young girls from the province of Niassa to feel free to share their stories and experiences”, explains Elisabetta Gramatica, who coordinates the project for the Fondazione Mondo Digitale. “Eusebia, for example, told us that many people in her community continually tried to convince her family not to invest in her education and her future, because they would never have the money needed to cover her studies. Eusebia, however, did not give up because by her own admission: 'when someone tells me that I can't do something, I want to prove them wrong at all costs. And, thanks to her determination, she managed to finish high school. Another student, Flora, shared the health problems she has suffered since she was a child and the idea of selling small cakes at school to pay for the necessary medicine."
In closing, another aspect that Simone shared with the students was the concept of empowerment, or self-determination, which, in many cases, also means having the right to pursue one's goals, to make conscious choices, and to challenge social expectations that can limit their opportunities, especially in contexts such as Mozambique or Lebanon. However, the empowerment of women, which undoubtedly contributes to building more equal and inclusive societies, in which everyone has the opportunity to develop their potential and contribute to social and economic progress, leaving - why not - their footprints, small or as big.
"Let's be inspired by girls who demonstrate what it means to be authentically resilient, whatever happens!" Tullia Romanelli, a young intern who has been working alongside Elisabetta for a few months, is already fully involved in the project experience and is a passionate supporter of the enthralling effect of role modelling sessions.