Salimatou Fatty was born to her Muslim parents - Aja Jarra Ceesay and Late Alhajie Saikou Fatty in Kerewan Village, North Bank Division of The Gambia. Growing up as the 7th of her mother's 9 children, Salimatou experienced early in life, the ordeal of struggling to earn a honest living. While other children played in their free time, she was responsible for supporting her mum in petty trading. From as little as 6 years old, Salimatou would wake up between 5-6am everyday to accompany her sisters to the farm in order to harvest items for morning sales, before heading to school. Indeed, these early lessons on hard work formed the pillar of her upbringing. Salimatou also recognizes her mother as her greatest inspiration, for her resilience in ensuring that all her children had access to quality education.
Our Super Girl is an uwnwavering champion for quality education and gender equality. In 2015, she founded the “Salimatou Foundation for Education” in order to promote and advocate for quality education through the involvement of both state and non-state actors. Salimatou is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, where she leads an inspiring team of mentors, fellows and volunteers.
Through Salimatou Foundation for Education, close to 40 underprivileged nursery school children in Fufor (a border village around Southern Senegal) benefit from the donation of educational materials. In addition, hundreds of students benefit from the civic education and mentoring sessions facilitated by the Foundation.
Between November 2015 and April 2016, the team visited different primary schools to sensitize the students about early/forced marriage, the importance of education, and career counseling; targeting the primary six students who are the most vulnerable victims of school drop-outs and child marriage. Driven by the desire to sustain quality education with particular focus on developing reading, writing and critical thinking skills of students, the Foundation is also set to host the first ever regional/national spelling bee in The Gambia.
Ms Fatty seamlessly combines her role as CEO of the Foundation with ambassadorial roles across several international organizations. In 2014, she was appointed as a Global Youth Ambassador by "A World at School" - the global initiative by Sarah Brown, Gordon Brown and Ban Ki Moon to deliver education and learning to children missing out on education all over the world. Currently, Salimatou serves as the country ambassador for Centre for Learning Education and Advocacy. She is also the National Coordinator for the Sustainable Development Goals Awareness Campaign Tour - An initiative by African youth to explore SDGs in Africa.
For her immense contribution in leading change as a young leader, Salimatou Fatty has been recognized across several platforms. She was named the young personality of the month by Young People of the Media and was selected to represent her region at the National Youth Conference and Festival (NAYCONF) in December 2014, where she clinched the trophy for the academic challenge alongside her counterpart. In March 2015, Ms. Fatty was nominated as the Gambian delegate to the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York by the office of the Vice President in The Gambia. On the 5th December 2015 (International Volunteers Day 2015), Salimatou was also recognized by Global Education Magazine, for her outstanding volunteerism efforts.
In August 2016, she was invited by the African Union to represent her region (West Africa) at West Africa Regional Youth Consultation in Ghana. Later this month, Salimatou will also receive the African Leadership Award from the Independent Pan African Youth Parliament. Fueled by her passion for securing the rights of girls and women in the society, Ms Fatty is currently studying Gender and Development at the Management Development Institute in The Gambia. As always, she stands firmly by her commitment to establish an equal society, towards redefining and developing her community and nation at large.
We are inspired by Salimatou's strong voice for Education and Gender Equality. We wish her the best, going forward.