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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Colby chapter.

Okay ladies, let’s be real. With all the recent political talk circling in the news, it can be difficult to find a female icon to follow. There’s an awful lot of testosterone in the media. Are you searching for a new inspiration? Well, here’s one that I found and I wanted to share with you: Jamila Bargach, the 2019 OAK Institute for Human Rights Fellow. She is the co-founder of Dar Si Hmad, a non-profit organization in Morocco that is working on a new project that involves harvesting fog for clean water. Not only does it provide a fresh drinking source to local people, but the organization is also employing local women, creating a new sense of empowerment in their lives. 


Ms. Bargach gave a talk at Colby on September 11, 2019. She spoke mainly about her projects– what they mean to her, how they are progressing, and how she got there in the first place. In fact, she spent a majority of her presentation speaking to how she got to where she is now: an all-impressive human rights activist who has a clear purpose and path to everything she does. I’m here to share with you a few key points from her speech that can help you if you are at all lost about what you want to do or, if you’re like me,  just looking for a few inspirational words.


  1. When you are doing something, you don’t do it because of the prize, but because of your principles. 


Ms. Bargach speaks very frankly about her line of work. She is within human rights because her principles lead her to stick up for those who couldn’t in a fight. She wanted to be there, not because her name would be in the news, but because of the voice in her head that told her it was a good idea. Moving forward in life, we should all aim to do things because we want to, and because we know it is right, rather than the end result we may get. 


  1. When speaking to how she got into her current occupation, Ms. Bargach said that she pulled on a thread and followed it, all the while taking and collecting stories. 


Our biggest resource is the people all around us. Everyone is different, and everyone is taking a different path to a different end goal. Because of this, people have different ways of approaching problems and different standpoints. It’s important to listen to others and hear what they have to say because they may provide an insight that you did not know you needed. 


  1. You have to be open to learning new things, including languages and changes in culture. 


Seems pretty obvious, right? Well, it’s still good to be reminded once in a while. 


  1. When trying to get her way or create her own path, she always had a certain stubbornness (and that brought her far in life).


Oftentimes, stubbornness is seen as a negative trait in women; however, it is important to stand strong for what you believe in, and to listen when you want to do something. Usually, your brain is telling you something important, and that means you should listen to it. It could wind up opening doors for opportunities you that you never even knew existed. 


  1. Growing up, her family had an ‘open door’ policy which fostered stronger connections with her neighbors and family and friends. 


It’s been said a thousand times, but it never hurts to hear it again. Your friends and your family are your strongest allies. There is nothing better than being able to turn to someone you trust when you’re stuck. Even if it is just to have someone relate to what you are saying, your friends and family are your backbone. Open your door once in a while! See who floats in!


  1. Coming to the US was coming into a world of possibility. 


That’s the same here at college. You are here because you want to learn and you want to get a degree, yes. But, you are also in one of the most opportunity-rich environments out there. This is a learning institution–it is a place built, literally, to further its students. Don’t forget that there are many resources out there. Take advantage of everything you can while you have the time (and don’t forget to make a couple connections!). 


  1. When you are facing a problem, you must have the determination to do something and to just keep moving forward. 


The hardest part about solving problems is getting started. There are so many things in the real adult world that can seem daunting. Even the homework load at college can seem to be too much. But, whenever you are facing a major challenge, the important point is to not back down and to just keep going forward. If you know something isn’t right, stand up for what you believe in. Make change happen, don’t just wish for it. 


Ms. Bargach is a wonderful speaker, and she carries a lot of wisdom with her. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her talk about her life’s story and her work. I’m sure that if we can all follow even a little bit of her advice, we can get to the same level of success and pride in our work that she did. Oh, and if you have the time, definitely check out her fog project. It’s awesome!


I'm an aspiring writer who sleeps a lot, eats a lot and reads a lot.