Fatou is most known for simply existing. Beyond thought leader, Sexual Gender Based Violence status disruptor, and being a mirror for the stories of anyone who has known survival— Fatou is known for her presence. To understand Fatou is to understand power— that true power is truth. Fatou lives in her truth, fights for the truth, and makes you want to speak truth to power. Why? Because what is most important to her is that everybody, every single black and brown, old and young, rich and poor, fat and slim, non-binary person is seen. Fatou believes that when we are truly seen for who we are— and loved for it— that is true power. Because that is when everybody is free to shine in their truest and brightest light.
This comes from her own personal story. She was born in a second city in Sierra Leone, where most don’t live past age 2. She survived. As the eldest of three girls, from an African home, excellence and achievements were drilled into her DNA, but so was compassion and empathy, and the responsibility to tilt the world a little towards equality and a whole lot of joy. And so, she continued to survive. Across 15 countries, to work in 25, she survived. Fatou has survived displacement, migration, movement and inequality. So she built The Survivor Dream Project, in Sierra Leone during the 2014 Ebola Epidemic. It is an organization dedicated to the visual education and advocacy-driven stories of health and wellbeing to uplift black women and girls.
She doesn’t stop. She can’t stop. Sometimes she is barely standing, but she won’t stop. Her professional experience looks something like a master’s in public policy from the University of Oxford and over ten years of working at the intersection of public health, gender equality, technology in both development and emergency contexts. Serving multilateral, bilateral and national organizations managing and scaling large social development programs and building public-private sector partnerships. And being named one of 50 of Sierra Leone’s Most Influential people. Some know her as an activist, technologist, humanitarian actor and storyteller. I know her as a survivor, as truth, as power— and my greatest motivation for wanting to be the best version of myself.