Who of you believes he or she is a role model? Raise your hand!
Who of you had a role model when you grew up? Raise your hand.
Who of you still has a role model in their life? Raise your hand.
It’s harder to say that we are role models about ourselves, then pointing out someone else.
Why a Rolmodellen Bureau? A Role Model Agency? Why do we need Role models?
I will tell you later.
Baris asked me if I wanted to give a speech today and I said yes without any doubt. Sometimes you know people for a very long time and you know if they ask you something like this, it’s for a better world. Then you just say Yes. So, Yes, thank you Baris for this opportunity.
It’s an honor to stand here for you all.
But why do I just trusted Baris blindly? I saw him from a distance growing in his career, as he started at the Haagse Jongeren Ambassadeurs as a teenager. I can see where he is going to. He is moving forward as young as he is. He is a role model to many of the youth that’s growing up now. I recognize myself in him as I started in the student council and I did like him many other volunteer work.
Soooo…here we are; The 12 Colors of The Hague; The Next Generation.
Do you know that each color stands for a theme? Baris told me his color stand for Empowerment and Education. Themes that fit me and the Rolmodellen Bureau perfectly.
But I was wondering what he and the organization are expecting from me, what are their goals for today? Which message do you want to hear?
Which message do I want to you to go home with?
Sometimes I am still wondering if what I belief, where I stand for, if this is something what the world wants to hear. I believe so, cause I believe it right? But I wonder if it’s not just my fantasy, my ideal world I try to create? I Ask myself more questions like, why do I want other people to hear what I belief? Do I want them to believe the same? Who says that I am right? Who says I can make a difference? Who doI think I am?! Is it not just my ego?
But then I realize, that these thoughts aren’t mine!!! These are words that I have heard from other people, my entire life. I can’t count how many people said that I am to idealistic, that I will never achieve my dreams ánd that I won’t make any difference anyway. I should find a regular job, do regular things and especially not say what I believe! All this while I was helping, supporting and empowering other people.
I grew up without role models close in my own inner circle. I had nobody I could look up to. There were a few farther, but no any female ones. I grew older by following my own path, but I had to create one first. You can say I just didn’t listen. I walked into many empty rooms, I bounced to many walls and people I call dreambreakers. The people who said I should give it a try, are just a few I can count them on one hand. I could be a bitt rebellious about my dreams, my ambitions. That is sometimes the best way to create your own path. That also meant I had to do a lot by myself, discover new ways I didn’t knew they even exist. The best lessons I have learned about following my own dreams and goals is that; if they are right to you and to your higher self, make them come out. Don’t bury them but bring them to life. No matter what. It’s worth it.
After a long path, full of struggles with school, in the last few years finding a job and people who are trying so send me to other directions, I can say; Never give up. Hold on to your dreams, because the results of your life is the mirror of your own efforts. Important in this is to find role models who had similar dreams, goals or path.
Let me tell you something…When I was just a young teenage girl I wanted to become the first female prime-minister of The Netherlands, with a bi-culture identity, or if that didn’t work out well, I had a back-up plan to become the CEO of Unicef. Both to serve for the people, to make the world a better place. I thought I could make a difference that way. But as you know I am not the prime-minister, neither am I the CEO of Unicef. But… I am the founder of the Rolmodellen Bureau now. A few years ago, I realized that I can do it my own way. It took me too long to realize that and I hope by telling you this you can make that turning point sooner than I did.
In the past I felt a force that hold me back. A lack of role models, a lack of good examples and a lack insights of how to. My turning point was the moment that I saw young people who were born here, grew up here who had no any vision of their future. That’s when I decided and said to myself; it is enough, it’s now or never. You must do something. I just started, without any plan. If you want to do something, just start, it doesn’t matter where you start, it only matters how you grow with it and to it. The path will unfold itself by trial and error. I started in 2014 and I am still starting, because, I have more goals. I am not there yet. We are not there yet.
While I walked my path, I had to fall many times. I had to stand up many more times, so I can fall again. I had to learn things. And that also meant, learning from all that voices who said that I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t make it and that I had to give up my dreams. Sometimes I still hear them, but I hear my own voice louder now.
Like this, it’s the first time I am giving a presentation in English, I was doubting, I was nervous but, hè if you’ve never try something new, how will you ever know if there’s any chance to succeed?
When you want to achieve something, then please remember this; try to keep falling forward. When you are falling, you are gone fall, everybody falls, try to stand up every time again. Every time! Even, when you fall in the deepest of the darkest moments. Believe me I have been there, and I still fall, but I keep standing up. Because only by believing in your dreams and goals, true commitment to them, trying over and over, you can bring your dreams to alive and achieve your goals. You need discipline in many ways, but the most important thing is; commit to your dreams and discipline your whole life to it. Learn new habits and throw away old useless habits. No matter what other people say. Living a dream isn’t easy, I can tell you that. It just isn’t. But it’s worth it. I Have never felt so satisfied as I feel since I choose to do it my way. Even when it’s still hard sometimes.
As Baris said, The Rolmodellen Bureau grew out from my citizen initiative. An initiative because I was worried about the future of the youth. I could not understand why so many of them had giving up a life in the Netherlands, why they couldn’t feel home here, here were they were born. In tears I wrote some words, a poem, and the summarize grew on me as a new second skin. It gave words to my dreams when I was younger, when I was rebellious and when I dreamed about achieving something big as some of my own role models. Yes, I had them, outside my inner circle. Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela were my role models. I still believe in peace, world peace. I believe that we are all one and that we are the ones who can navigate towards a better world
Martin Luther King had a dream and he also said that the people who loved peace should organize themselves as good as the ones who loved war. I believe we should give it at least a try. And Nelson Mandela stood up for equal rights, for education and he believed that education is a way to achieve peace.
I translated my poem for you and I need to say, it was in Dutch but only the last words two words were in English.
Only the Light of Love and Peace can overcome the darkness of the world. Pure Lights from pure hearts are powerful and strong enough to guide the world. Pure Lights must now unite better than ever. United Lights
So ‘United Lights’ is the name I gave to my initiative and it is still the ‘Why’ Of the Rolmodellen Bureau that drives us. We believe that by sharing stories, knowledge, the know-hows of our role models, their expertise, their wisdom it will be easier to follow, to learn and discover other ways to achieve a better world and society. That we can make a difference when we unite us. And we welcome everybody to our community
Our home and place is the world and everybody should have positive role models that encourage them to follow, to add something good to the world. United Lights means to us that we focus on the positive. We think in possibilities, in can’s instead of cant’s. We also believe that what we do today influences tomorrow, that it will influence next year and even the next century. Our thoughts, our decisions and our moves have a ripple effect through times and the way our world, our future world, would be shaped. We ARE the Creators of the future world. You are not only the Creator of your own world, but also the Creator of the world you are effecting around you. Together we create the future world. That’s why we believe in the unity of strength of all small deeds. Together they make a difference. That’s where the Rolmodellen Bureau stands for. We all can make a difference.
Many people ask me; but Fatima, what is a role model then?
The answer is simple, everybody can be a role model. We all, are role models. If we are aware of it, or not. We always inspire someone.
A role model to us is a lightening example in a positive way. A role model is someone in who we recognize ourselves, or just a part of us. Someone who we look up to. A role model is someone who we admire. Someone who already has achieved something we like, who already has experience something and from who we want to learn from. But a role model can also be just on his way, who is still not there, but who is trying it.
Our role models share their knowledge, their path and their visions so others can follow, so others can get inspired and get motivated to come in action. When we empower role models by offering them a platform, we believe that the role model effect will grow and more people will be encouraged to make a positive move and add some more light to the world. They have knowledge that is gained in their work field or by life experience. Education is most of the times outside the school buildings, it’s in us, in our society. It’s everywhere. We want to inspire people, in businesses, in schools, in government. Everywhere, and everyone who likes to get inspired.
The decision is always yours, but let me tell you this: There is a shifting going on. Many movements are affecting each other, many transitions are affecting us and on the world around us. Globalization, climate change, plant based food, the plastic soup, the way we behave, the way we consume, the youth that’s growing up and their future world.
We are the ones, who decide how things grow into the future. Even by not deciding we are deciding. The time to stand up all, is now. NOW! For our self, for the future world and for the next generations.
At the Rolmodellen Bureau we designed a circle of role models with many circles ad layers of role models. If you can’t find a role model in your inner circle, find someone out of your inner circle, out of your comfort zone. There are many layers of role models. People always like to help or give some advice. Many people helped me, when I started speaking out louder and many are still helping me these days. Just speak out and ask for help.
I made the decision that I wanted to have a positive effect on the world. I believe that we are the force who can push the world positive way. I know all the role models of the Rolmodellen Bureau made this decision, each one of them is standing up for a better world, a better society and a better environment to life in. They made the decision not to wait, but to do it by their self.
From the Rolmodellen Bureau we invite you to make a positive contribution. However small, every contribution counts!
Even if it’s just separating your garbage, saying hello to your neighbors, inviting your colleagues to go to that vegan restaurant. Every small good deed makes a difference and we shouldn’t wait no more longer. We all can make a difference. I can tell you, different than what I had to hear;
You truly make a difference. Find the role model in yourself. Be the one, you want to be! If you fall, stand up, learn and don’t give up. Just keep trying, till you have mastered it yourself. Master yourself. Stand up for the next generations! #Now! THANK YOU.