Rihab, TechGirls 2015, Morocco
At a young age, I had the chance to take part in the TechGirls 2015 program. I was one of the lucky girls to be selected among hundreds of Moroccan applicants. I flew to Washington, D.C. for one of the most life-changing experiences. Between the TechCamp, the job shadow experience, the site visits at tech companies, the community service, the leadership training, and the meetings with high-achieving and ambitious women, I found myself believing more in who I am and who I want to be. I gained the self-confidence I needed to make my own way through the world. I came to the conclusion that there is no such thing as “magical dust”; there’s only hard work, devotion and commitment that can take you wherever you want in life.
During the TechGirls experience, I wasn’t only given the opportunity to grow at a professional level, but I was also fortunate enough to explore other cultures from the MENA region as well as American cultures closely. I was introduced to the true and real meaning of “diversity”, “acceptance”, and “respect”, which reshaped my thoughts and personality to eventually be a more tolerant and broad-minded person. I gained long-lasting and meaningful friendships. I made friends who still cheer me up and support my decisions up to the present day, because the bond that connects us is solid. Once a TechGirl, always a TechGirl.
A year after TechGirls, during summer 2016, I was invited by the US Embassy to do a round table with US First Lady Michelle Obama and two girls’ education advocates Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto to discuss marginalized girls who are struggling against all odds to get an education, as part of the documentary “We Will Rise”. The exchange was as fruitful and meaningful as it was enjoyable. It led to the conclusion that every penny invested in a girl’s education drastically multiplies, thus benefiting any girl’s country and contributing to its development. In late 2016, I flew back to Washington, D.C. once again, for the premiere of “We Will Rise” at the White House. It was another occasion for me to expand my network and get to know new outstanding ladies from all around Morocco, Liberia, and the United States of America.
I graduated from high school with honors and pursued my higher education at one of the best universities in Morocco. I chose veterinary medicine because of the passion I have for both the medical field and animal welfare. At the age of 24, I am now a doctor of veterinary medicine and thriving in life. Surrounded by all the inspiring people I met from TechGirls, the “We Will Rise” experience, and other exchange programs, I know that I have whatever it takes to continue reaching my milestones and helping others from my community reach theirs.
Thanks to the TechGirls program, my vision totally shifted and I refused to shrink to fit in places and mindsets that I had outgrown. I will always be grateful to the TechGirls program for this, because such a thing is never taught at school but learnt through significant and eye-opening adventures.