By Julia Ismail
Tuesday February 13, 2018
“Ball is life” isn’t only applicable to hoop heads of America, it’s a lifestyle reaching basketball fans who’ve made the same commitment until the final buzzer of every game across the entire world.
Women In the World recently featured Suad Glow, founder of the Somali Women Foundation. Suad has been openly addressing the unjust treatment of countries like UAE and Somalia where women are prevented from participating sports by extremist militant groups, like Al-Shabab, who have taken the country into their own reigns and forced it to play by their rules.
Growing up in Mogadishu, Somalia, Suad found her love for basketball at a young age. During the 1980s, she was captain of the Somali Women’s National Basketball Team. This granted her a scholarship (which would later turn out to be a one way ticket) to the University of the District of Columbia in Washington D.C.
She would not return to Somalia for 20 years.
In 1991, the Somali Civil war broke, leading to the collapse of the central government.
Needless to say, very few women were willing to risk their lives over a sport.
But Suad wasn’t having it. Visiting her home country two decades later, she began working on developing the first “Somali Federal Women’s Basketball Tournament,” bringing together different team members from different Somalian cities and states, as well as the United States and Canada.
The project involved 192 employed girls and young women to come on board. A year later, Suad wanted to bump it up a notch recruiting Somali natives for the All Arab Games.
But religious fanatics decided that it wasn’t feasible for women to compete, regardless of whether or not they were wearing the hijab.
But, as we discussed, ball is life. This wasn’t enough to stop some athletes from fulfilling their heart’s desires.
Suad’s project has been received quite positively, with an increase in the number of young girls between the ages 8-18 expressing interest in the sport.
Now, Suad is aiming to get the Somali Women’s National Basketball Team into the international league by winning the “4th Arab Women’s Sports Tournament in Dubai.”
The simple act of competing is a gain for the Somali Women National Basketball Team, but their wins will keep coming as long as they let their passion guide them and their love of the sport.
We’re rooting for these brave ladies!