Hafizah Khan, 15

Born and raised in London, England, Hafizah Khan has grown up around all races, religions, and cultures, and has always been encouraged to embrace her British-Bengali Muslim heritage. Khan has spoken in Parliament, has shadowed Meg Hillier MP (Member of Parliament), and works with charities including Islamic Relief and MuslimAid to build homes and shelters for those affected by the Rohingya crisis. Khan notes that regardless of who we are, or where we are from, we should all be bonded together by humanity because we all bleed the same. She points out that the world we live in is for future generations so it is everyone’s duty to be stewards of peace and community.

Khan is an avid poet because it is an outlet for her to express her individuality in a free structure. The medium encourages her to voice her opinions and thoughts and gives her a way to visualize her thoughts through a creative process. After writing a speech for an academic assignment, Khan says she realized that, as a young woman, she has an opportunity to change and influence people for the better. Khan frequently reminds her relatives from older generations that the role of women has changed: women now have more choices and independence through education and financial security.

Khan plans to pursue a career in politics and charitable work, perhaps with the United Nations.


Speak Up

by Hafizah Khan


I am standing here today in front of a group of very diverse people. I am standing here as a brown female who wants to see change. I am standing here knowing I am flawed. I am told I cannot be successful because of my ethnicity and my gender. I am told that because of my circumstances, I am merely not good enough.

Education has given me hope to believe I can be something, but I have to earn it. Education has taught me that we are all equal and I can achieve just as much as anyone else. Society has told me I am nothing and that I do not belong. I am imperfect. I have been broken by society only to stand up again and then be knocked down. I will fall and rise, I will fall and rise. I will rebuild.

I am not defined by the words in which you say or the numbers in which you give me. I am human and I strive to erase this ‘image of perfection’ we have created amongst us and instead, embrace flaws. For if we don’t, I am fearful of what society may become.