Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Ashaba Faridah and I was born and raised in Uganda in Kampala city , in a family of two; myself and my younger brother raised by a single mother. I have a diploma in flight operations and management and currently a pilot .
How was growing up like? Especially being in the city with your mum.
I wouldn’t say growing up was easy because with a single parent trying to struggle to put you through school wasn’t easy. I grew up from a humble background so it was more of understanding the situation and not been selfish and asking for things that are not available, that’s the kind of situation I grew up in. And it wasn’t in the city but outskirt which is not doing so well. It was challenging but at the same time I learnt a lot from my background. Also the way I was raised made me stronger. At the same time I looked at my mother from a different light because she was so strong for both of us. She put us through various good schools through her struggles.
Wow,that’s great to know. What influenced your career path ?
I didn’t always think I was going to be a pilot. I didn’t even know that they trained lady pilots in Uganda, in fact pilot general because I had no idea about it. Although at some point when I was a child I thought it would be cool to sit in a plane, so I just thought about it in a perspective of a passenger. When ever a plane will pass, I’ll tell my mum at home and say I’ll sit in a plane one day. But I never in a million times imagined myself sitting in the cockpit flying a plane.
When I finished my high school, I went to a flight school to do my diploma in flight operations and management. It was mandatory for everyone to be oriented.
On orientation day , you go down to see the planes and where they are kept. I recall seeing a plane landing and suddenly saw a lady walking out of it, I was inspired seeing for the first time a lady landing a flight. That was very empowering, it changed my narrative from that day and i knew i will become a pilot. So I did all I could to become one which I am now.
It took me seeing someone else in that particular position doing it and made me realise that I could also do it. That’s how my path to becoming a pilot began.
From the moment when your perspective changed towards just studying in the aviation to becoming a pilot, How was that journey like. Was it so easy to embrace your new narrative?
Now that I saw what I wanted, I knew that I had to do it because there was a love that was ignited within me and I’ve always believed that if you love something then it just comes easily. Why; because you wouldn’t be tired or bored doing it.
However it did come with a bit of challenges because as a woman there are not so many women pilot training, so as a lady training amongst male counterparts wasn’t that easy. Because you are seen as a weaker sex from the very beginning. Many may think you aren’t smart enough to doing what you are doing. You will be seen as someone who has been given things freely.
Most of the challenges was centered around gender which is ridiculous. But now I think it’s down in a lesser extent compared to previous happenings.
Kudos to changing the status quo. Share with us your first experience in the airplane , that moment you were about to take off.
My first experience was as a passenger because that’s the first practice for every flight operator in the flying school. As a passenger , you’ve got to have a feel of the aircraft.
My first experience as a passenger was not so nice, because the plane was small and it’s non-pressurised. When I was going on it and it took off I almost puked on myself.
Nevertheless my experience as a pilot in the cockpit was amazing, it was incredible because I was able to move the plane, seeing different angles and experiencing the world from a very different perspective and the perspective of freedom being up there feeling free like a bird was very incredible especially knowing that you are in charge. I think that was the most amazing experience thus the flying experience.
What are some of your greatest fears and how have you dealt with pitfalls and setbacks?
You know, I don’t think I have a specific fear because I’m deeply spiritual and I’ve always been the kind of person that naturally know there is nothing that God can’t handle in my life.
I’ve always said that
when you fear something you give it so much life and sooner or later you become a slave to your fear
and I try to avoid that.So I really don’t have any specific fear to-say, however, what i would not like to end up doing probably to say is the fear of settling for Lo ess when there is so much more to achieve and just been so comfortable at where you are. Also, when you rely on God so much you will realise that there is nothing to fear because at the end of the day you know He can help you out with anything.
Moreover, I will say my best way of dealing with anything or any situation that is contrary to what I had wanted is to not giving it so much power over me. I always know such things will pass no matter what. I try not to focus on the negative and I try to focus mainly on the positives, so that way, I’m able to combat anything that I find myself in. I intend to make sure I do not give it so much attention /power because I don’t want it to occupy all the space in my mind. And if it is to do with people , thus what people may feel about me, which will be their problem and not mine , I ignore them.
…not settling for less when there is much to achieve amazing !.Apart from what you do as a pilot , what are some of the projects you are working on?
I have other projects that I’m very passionate about. I have a charity organisation called Bambino life foundation and what we do is to promote girl child education and empowerment among other programs including creating awareness for children living with disabilities also helping to better the life for children living in orphanages. I’m really passionate about charity and I started this organisation straight out of high school because this is something that has always been close to my heart and I’ve really been passionate about.
And when I became a pilot, I wanted to use it to inspire young girls . Because with my background I’ve always said if I’ve been able to do it then every other person can. I thought if I could stand before these girls and show them that I’ve gone through the same challenges as they have been through and yet I did not give up dreaming big and here I am a Pilot ,then they can also do same. They can stay in school and have bigger dreams. They do not necessarily have to be a pilot but they could be anything they want to be just believe in yourself and that is how we have been going with Bambino Life.
Through the girl program what we usually do is to teach girls hand skills like how to make soap etc because we believe skills are things you will die with and you can always use them whenever you are in a fix and you need a way out. Also, so many girls drop out of school because they cannot afford simple things like sanitary pads , so we decided to teach them these things so that they can stay in school. the whole idea is to keep more girls in school to give them more dreams and better dreams at their future.
Also, other projects I’m involved in StemQueens, it’s for girls doing science , technology engineering and mathematics. This is to encourage young girls to be able to participate in science technology engineering and mathematics. There are not so many girls in these fields and we want to be able to help that initiative. It’s a partnership initiative between Bambino Life and another organisation called EmptyEnergy. What we wanted to do is to reach out and inspire young girls to participate in Science/Engineering /Technology and Mathematics. I’m also the chairperson for the Global Goodwill Ambassadors ( a humanitarian organisation who recognises people who are doing great things in their communities and gives the title of humanitarian. It’s in over 150 countries with over 10,000 ambassadors. It’s all about bringing all of us into one place together for the betterment of the world)
What are some of the principles, philosophies and values you ascribe to?
I believe in love and I believe every human being likes to be loved because we have been loved by God. I believe we should do the same for others. For me if I’m helping someone ,I do not look at colour/religion or anything. I just believe love should be unconditional especially if you are been loved that way by God. I believe that the solution to human problems is been able to love one another in the most difficult times.
I also believe that in this world what you put out is what you receive, so if you are reaching out or helping others it shall always come back to you and if you are this person who is mean/cutty/jealous/shady not wishing the best for others it’s exactly what the world is going to give you back. Do don’t be surprised when it returns to you. In this world you receive what you put out.
In one word ,how will you describe yourself?
When you fly in a higher altitude , what comes to your mind ,seeing yourself controlling an object above the earth and seeing nothing but clouds covering you.
I just have a sense of freedom. I just have all these space to just think and appreciate beauty at its fineness. When I’m flying I do have a different perspective of earth,how beautiful creation is. It also gives me a sense of freedom especially having the knowledge of traffic etc on the ground, that gives me a sense of serenity and freedom.
Can you mention three books you have read and how they changed your life?
I’ve read lots of books but one of the books I’ll recommend is TESTING THE POWERS OF AGES TO COME , it’s by Prophet Elvis Mbonye.its a purpose driven book.
What have been some of your greatest accomplishments?
My greatest achievement so far happened this year, on theinternational women’s day. I was 1 of the 9 women selected to feature in the“ impossible to ignore“ campaign that was displayed all over the world, alongside great figures like Dr Christy Johnson,the first female African American Deputy director at NASA, BeatieWolfe a renowned musician, song writer and innovator among otherladies, we were named by UN women as women innovators.
The experience was so surreal, seeing my face posted all over NewYork and UK! In places like Westfield World Trade Center, WallStreet, New York Times Square, London underground, all bus stopsin London. It was truly mind blowing to be the only Africanfeatured. As a foundation having impacted over 3000 Girls has beenan incredible fulfilling achievement.
What do you do for leisure and socialization?
I do like watching movies and series. I also like good food .
What will be your advice to others especially the youth about the effects of comfort zones and on the importance of entrepreneurship?If anyone wants to become like you, what advice will you give to such person.
I want to tap on something that I think has been neglected a lot especially in Africa . I think the youth or young boys and girls have the tendency of forgetting where they come from or forget who they are or even forget their route.
And people are also caught up in appearances especially the youth that they loose sight of what they want to be so instead of actually working or doing something with their life, they are so caught up in social media lying about what they have or posing in pictures etc and in the end they truly forget who they are because what they are doing is just pleasing people and keeping up appearances that they deviate from their actual dreams or what they actually want to be.
They loose themselves in trying to please people and this is a very very common thing in African countries . It happens here in Uganda, where you have youth forgetting where they come from. They forget their background and they forget their routes. And for me I believe for you to see the future you have to know where you come from.
Because when you remember where you coming from then you going to work towards your future with one goal and one dream because you will see where you are going.
My advise will be that , remember who you are,remember where you come from. If you come from a broken home,poverty ridden home a poor background do not forget that . Remember that and remember why you doing what you are doing.
You doing it so that people at home will get a better life. You become their hope. Even those who come from well to do families,you have to remember who you are and where you come from as an African.
When you remember who you are and where you come from then you going to face the future with absolute confidence because you know where you want to be and know what you want. Also do no let society limit you, If you want something go for it.
I do not see what others expect of you, when you want something and you absolutely love it go for it until you achieve it. Because when it’s something you truly love you will not loose interest even while you pursuing it. Doing something you love, you will always love it.
My advise to any youth out there is believe in yourself ,believe that you can do it, dream big and leave the rest to God because at the end of the day He ‘s able to achieve the impossible.
My name is Ashaba Faridah and this is my story.
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