MEET THE PIPPI OF TODAY AMBASSADOR SUAD ALI
Photography: Mustafa Sarwar
We’re proud to announce Suad Ali as the HOPE ambassador for the Pippi of Today initiative. Suad’s soon to be released debut novel “Dina händer var fulla av liv” portrays a woman before, during and after a conflict. What happens to a woman who grew up in a privileged environment and then loses everything?
Suad recently did HOPE Talks together with Paola Castro Niederstam, Head of Development Unit at Save the Children Unit. The talk revolved around girls on the move.
“Pippi of Today is an important initiative, and as talked about during HOPE Talks, not only to highlight the vulnerability of girls on the run but also to uplift their stories and give a different picture of what it is like to be on the run. The analogy to Pippi is great – despite losing her family, being alone and coming to a new place, she is a strong-minded girl and a true role model. Pippi is also a popular character and has something ageless about her which makes me think that many different people can relate to her. I grew up with Pippi myself, and I’ve always loved how she constantly questions current norms, has self-confidence and humor. She always assumes that she can do anything and won’t be limited by the surroundings.
What has Pippi and literature in general meant for me? It has made me travel. The reading itself can take us to places we would never otherwise visit and meet people we never otherwise would have met. Books can make you discover, feel and understand something that is far away from your own everyday life and reality. The Pippi of Today initiative draws attention to the new Pippis, which in turn can inspire young girls who arrive at new places to dare to fulfill their dreams and that it’s possible to create a better future for themselves.
The idea for my novel, ‘Dina händer var fulla av liv’ was born out of a frustration that women on the move are often portrayed as victims – as people who are nothing but their vulnerability.
I have met these women in refugee camps but they are also within my own family. My mom and my grandmothers – some of the most important people in my life. I want to show a bigger perspective that extends beyond exposure and vulnerability. The migration is an episode in one's life – there is always a before and an after. Who are these people? And what does their reality look like now?
‘Dina händer var fulla av liv’ is a fictional story, but I found inspiration when I was in Somalia for the first time in 2015 and from my thoughts and feelings I wrote down during the trip.
I’ve also worked with migration issues for over eight years and the novel has been influenced by all the strong-minded women I’ve met. They’ve really inspired me to try to make the world a better place.”
Suad Ali's debut novel "Dina händer var fulla av liv" will be released on September 14 on Norstedts Förlag.
Read more about the Pippi of Today initiative HERE.