At the age of 10, Ahlaa wrote to the Government of Maldives asking them for help in reaching her goal of becoming a chef. Back then, Ahlaa had dreams of becoming a restaurant owner, and benefiting the community as someone who provides hearty, pleasant meals. Now, at age 13, Ahlaa has a broader perspective.
“Becoming a chef and owning a restaurant is something that I still want to do, but I have decided to become a doctor,” she said, adding, “as a neurosurgeon, specifically.”
In the field of medicine, the gender pay gap is at 11% even after occupation and work hours are accounted for. Following the theme of “My Voice, our Equal Future” of the International Day of the Girl Child of 2020, it becomes an urgent need for review and corrective action on the previous models of remuneration.
“My dream is to become something that not many women do,” says Ahlaa. Always active in her pursuits, Ahlaa spent her time during the COVID-19 pandemic baking and learning new techniques of making dishes, while also catching up with studies.
“I do spend time socializing with my friends online,” she says. It is important to have a strong support network not only during a pandemic, but also in the course of normal human development. Empowering girls not only with knowledge and support, but also through necessary social connections is part of the advocacy around the IDG.
“Studying online is harder now, but it is a challenge that I am going through in order to reach my dreams,” said Ahlaa, reflecting on the changes in the way we interact in the New Normal after the pandemic.
Ever hopeful, the future generations of the world are being trained in resilience through practical means at the moment through the pandemic, and it is up to the world to ensure that they are nurtured well, in order to take on the challenges of the modern world.