Hailing from Mali, Fatima Al Ansar is a graduate of the African Leadership Academy (ALA). After graduating from ALA in 2012, Fatima enrolled at Trinity College through the MasterCard Foundation and ALA scholarship program. There she is pursuing an undergraduate degree in International Human Rights Studies with a Minor in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.
Before ALA, Fatima founded Tilwalte School, an organization that seeks to educate, develop and assist Malian girls achieve a brighter future. The organization carries out its objectives by promoting girls’ education in rural areas through the construction of schools in nomad areas, organizing community campaigns and awareness programs on girls’ education, as well as providing scholarships for the girls after their completion of primary school.
Fatima’s motivation for starting Tilwalte stems from her own experience as a victim and survivor of the deplorable Northern Mali rebellion, which saw her rise from war camp resident to a Children’s Parliament representative. This later led her to start an association called Droit des Filles, which advocates for policies and initiatives that allow for education of girls in war-torn areas in Mali. Rising into national recognition, the Malian Education Minister appointed Fatima to be a temporary principal in the struggling “Espoir” primary school, becoming the youngest principal to transform a primary school in Mali.
In 2011, Fatima was chosen to meet Michelle Obama and selected for the Mrs. Obama’s Young African Women Leaders Initiative. In addition to her work in education advocacy, Fatima is the co-founder of the Students Stand for Justice in Palestine Organization at Trinity College, which seeks to create awareness on the Trinity College campus about the human rights violations occurring in Palestine.
Fatima also writes blog posts concerning girls’ education in Africa and enjoys African dance as a hobby. Having just completed a study abroad program in France, Fatima will work in Mali this summer with Tiwalte before returning to Trinity to start her final year of university in August.