Refugee. Immigrant. Tech entrepreneur. One of BBC’s top 100 women. Presenting, Yasmine Mustafa who put herself through college and now has two socially motivated businesses and a blog advertising company, in America. She along with her co-founder, Anthony Gold, devised: ROAR for Good, the fashionable safety jewellery. She is also a board member for Coded by Kids, a space that provides free tech education, tech industry exposure, and career mentorship to children who lack access to these opportunities.
One week after I came back to Philadelphia, a woman was out feeding her parking meter when she was grabbed from behind, dragged into an alley, severely beaten, and brutally raped. It was at that moment when we made a commitment to leverage our skills, resources, and energy to make a difference.”
Could she get more interesting? Yes, she can. Growing up in Kuwait, the reminisces of the Persian Gulf War made her want to make the world a safer place and fight the injustice the innocent suffer. Her keen sense of entrepreneurship and the need to push against discriminations guided and paved her way to do just so. As a child she would take the sweets from her family’s convenience store, sell them with in her school. She travelled for four hours to learn coding to establish her first company, the blog advertising company, 123LinkIt.com. In turn, her strong initiative to grow led her to open a branch of the international coding organization, Girl Develop It (GDI), which empowers women of diverse backgrounds to learn web and software development in Philadelphia. Today, GDI Philadelphia has grown to be the most active in the U.S., with nearly 3,400 members. Then in some years it was the conception of safety jewellery – Athena.
After facing adverse situations in her life Yasmine has been able to prove that if you build relationships with people in the industry, listen and help others as much as you can, you can achieve the inconceivable. And perhaps it is inconceivable for degenerates and sexual assaulters far and wide to imagine that something as small as a piece of jewellery can give them the taste of their own cruelty. After listening to numerous incidents of sexual abuse during her travels across South America, Yasmine felt the situation for women around the world was taking blow after blow. But it was one particular incident that she recalls that strengthened her and her co-founder’s mind to finally take the much needed step for the safety of women, “One week after I came back to Philadelphia, a woman was out feeding her parking meter when she was grabbed from behind, dragged into an alley, severely beaten, and brutally raped. It was at that moment when we made a commitment to leverage our skills, resources, and energy to make a difference.” And it was at that moment ROAR for Good, and eventually Athena, was born.
Coded by Kids is specifically geared towards helping inner city youth – those most likely to be born into the cycle of poverty – learn how to code. The program also brings diversity into the tech industry.”
The success of Athena has been so massive that it is quite regularly sold out. The magic of Athena works in two ways, one in a silent mode and as an alarm for immediate risqué situations or as a silent mode for discreet situation. The small and lightweight piece sends an alert message immediately upon simple and particular taps on it. As this immigrant makes the world a safer place for women beyond their race, colour and creed, she also put in her heart and soul for her other social organization, Coded by Kids. Speaking the need for such an initiative, she says, “It’s specifically geared towards helping inner city youth – those most likely to be born into the cycle of poverty – learn how to code. The program also brings diversity into the tech industry.”
As an immigrant and refugee, she could have lived a much less aggravated life in America, but then she wouldn’t be the woman who sets an example for younger women all over the world to take charge of their own lives, would she? And neither would she be one of BBC’s top 100 women. The bold and brilliant Yasminee Mustafa, proves everyday with her work that in spite being a woman and an immigrant, she has been able to brake multiple glass ceilings. It is the way one makes a difference in the world that matters not one’s gender, race or creed.