My #MovementMonday today is Hafsah Dabiri the 17 year old founder of Colourful Success, a blog which narrates, promotes and explains the journeys of prominent people in the UK who were able to use their surroundings and experiences in a positive manner to allow themselves to grow, learn and achieve success.
The colourful element of the blog is that it celebrates and promotes the achievements and journeys of people of all races and ethnicities, especially the progress of people of colour. Linked to the blog is an Instagram page advertises opportunities and competitions for people to win work experience and mentoring.
Hafsah is also a presenter at Islam channel and has previously shadowed the deputy mayor of London Munira Mirza. A vocal activist and future politician, she is currently studying English Literature, History, Economics and Government and Politics at Townley Grammar School.
I decided to switch up the format of MovementMonday for this week and ask Hafsah four questions. Read the responses below.
What inspired you to set up Colourful Success?
After going through the process of looking for work experience and struggling to choose a career, I was so frustrated by the lack of an all-encompassing platform which would provide all the information need. We have sound cloud for music producers, Facebook to connect with all your friends, but no single platform to find inspiration, answers, mentors, experiences and opportunities which would help mould our futures.
I also wanted to be able to learn from other people’s mistakes and learn from their journey. It was so easy for me to complain with all of my peers, however after doing work experience with the Deputy Mayor of London and meeting so many different people involved in the field which I wanted to study, I realised that this opportunity needed to be something which everyone was able to experience.
So I created Colourful Success. The organisation is based around 3 main values. To Aspire, Acquire and Inspire. It pushes people to aspire to achieve their goals, then provides them with the resources that they need to acquire them. Finally it provides an outlet for them to inspire others through their own personal journeys.
What do you hope to achieve through Colourful Success?
I hope to lessen the fear and confusion cased by the expected jump from teenage years to adulthood. I remember being told in Year 9 and Year 11 to choose my subjects according to what I enjoyed and not what I thought I would be doing in the future. According to teachers, that was too far ahead to think about. Little did I know that these choices could prevent me from taking certain paths in life.
I also hope to provide information about alternatives to university education as that path has become extremely expensive for most working class families. I hope that through Colourful Success, those with creative dreams can allow their vision to become a living reality. I want to provide a platform for those who want to gain exposure of their art or skills and to connect people with helpful mentors, work experience and other opportunities that would be of benefit to their long term goals and careers.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea, do it now and do it well. Don’t depend on others to work on something which they are not passionate about. If you have a business idea, write it down and get started on it straight away. I have had so many ideas in the past which have failed because I lost faith in them. If you can’t believe in your idea, no one else will. And maybe my past projects were meant to fail for me to learn this lesson. And that’s another key tip.
“Failure is a part of the process.”
You determine whether or not your misfortune will be of benefit or not. You can decide to rise after a fall or you can keep falling. A growth mindset is key in starting your own business or project. Also try to be organised. As my mum always says, “Write everything down” because you never know when a small idea jotted down or a name of an interesting person may come in handy. This is an excuse to shop for a new, pretty notebook!
Finally, networking is key. Go to events with business cards ready and conversation starters practised. Be sure to connect with people who could help you down the line.
What advice do you have for Muslim women in general?
It’s a common belief in Muslim communities that entrepreneurship and women are incompatible. But when the wife our beloved Nabi, S.A.W was a business woman how can this be the case? Our dreams and aspirations are not forbidden in Islam as long as they are halal and do not prevent us from worshipping Allah SWT.
“If you put Allah at the forefront of any endeavour, you will be sure to succeed as long as you work hard and pray for success.”
Finally, it would be unnatural for me to not mention any advice surrounding the situation of the world and our society today.
“Be brave and be bold. The women of Islam fought to practice their religion and we are also facing trials in our deen.”
Be brave enough to wear the Hijab with pride and know that you are beautiful in the eyes of the many but most importantly in the eyes of the One who created the universe in all its beauty. Be bold in your faith and your goals. Never waive in your journey to achieve success in this life and the Hereafter.
I pray that Allah SWT blesses us with the highest ranking in Jannatul Firdaus!
The Prophet PBUH in a Hadith said, “The most beloved of people according to Allah is he who brings most benefit to people, and the most beloved of deeds according to Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent is that you bring happiness to a fellow Muslim or relieve him of distress, or pay off his debt or starve away hunger from him.”
Hafsah’s story is exemplary of what can be achieved with hard work and dedication and it also shows that we have all been gifted with talents that we can utilise to benefit those around us. It is amazing to see confident Muslim women using their faith as a vehicle to serve others in society. And I hope you join me in praying that May Allah continue to guide Hafsah in her journey, Ameen.