Fatumata is completing conjoint Bachelor of Health Science (Psychology) and Bachelor of Business (Management) student at AUT, where she is also the Stakeholder & Liaison Executive for the African Students Club.
Originally from Mecca, Saudi Arabia, her family fled to New Zealand from the Sierra Leone civil war, and she was a toddler when her parents arrived here as refugees. Fatumata was born with sickle-cell anaemia, a severe hereditary form of anaemia in which a mutated form of haemoglobin distorts the red blood cells into a crescent shape at low oxygen levels. She strives to make every day count, and is passionate about supporting migrants and refugee youth to fully participate in society – at the local and national level, as well being engaged in global issues. Inspired by last year’s national youth event Festival for the Future, Fatumata set up Mana Wahine, an initiative to empower young women at AUT’s South Auckland Campus to build their confidence and leadership skills for the workforce.
Key steps in the journey
Her extensive involvement in extra-curricular activities including Oxfam, Amnesty International and women’s rights activism led to her award of the Zonta Club of Auckland, Young Women in Public Affairs award in 2011. Fatumata was also selected as 1 of 10 young leaders for the Office of Ethnic Community‘s inaugural Young Leaders Programme from 2012-2013. In April 2016 Fatumata represented New Zealand at the 33Sixty Commonwealth Young Leaders Programme in Glasgow, Scotland.