In the elections that took place in Belgium on Sunday, a 21-year-old woman made history for becoming the first person of Somali-origin to win a seat in the council.
Sarah Mohamed Khalif, who is also the first ever Somali woman to take political office in the country, was voted to represent Belgium Socialist Party (SPA) as the newest council member of Leuven city. She garnered 772 votes.
The second year student at Leuven University has been referred to as a hardworking woman with ambition and determination in politics. The news of her win has warmed the hearts of many including her parents, who are proud of her achievements.
Among her priorities as the new council member, Khalif hopes to help the youth “use their creativity and create space where they can realize their projects.”
She was inspired to run for elections by her need to create a change in her community. “I commit myself to the elections because I want to mean something for the community in Leuven, and want to make a difference in the future. Like many others have ever inspired me, I now want to do the same for others,” her statement said.
Khalif joins the increasing number of people of Somali origin to take political posts across the world. Just recently, Leila Ali Elmi made history as the first Somali and East African woman to be voted into the Swedish parliament on a Green Party ticket. She represents the Angered District in Gothenburg, where she was a member of the Angered district council since 2014.
Others are America’s Ilhan Omar, who is hoping to represent Minnesota in the Congress and UK’s Magid Magid, the youngest person to become the mayor of Sheffield.
In the same Belgian elections, Congolese-born Belgian Pierre Kompany became the first black mayor of Ganshoren district and in Belgium.