Who Run the World? Girls!
Nudžejma Softić Runs With Penny Appeal
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we would like to shine a spotlight on an empowering, strong female runner from Bosnia and Herzegovina who’s decided to run the iconic London Marathon with us, Nudžejma Softić.
Nudžejma Softić is a marathoner and triathlete, and her many medals are just the tip of the iceberg of her inspirational story. As a child of war, she lost her father early in her life and grew up a refugee living in a state neighbouring Bosnia. Upon returning back to her home country, she focused on her education and then on her work. In 2015, Nudžejma took up running and her world changed forever.
Nudžejma told us, “Running changed my life. My life, in a qualitative sense, got a whole new dimension and definitely kept me in running. So far, I have run about 70 races, founded the largest racing club in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I’ve included triathlon in my activities and enjoy every day, whether I achieve my results or can help others achieve theirs.”
Nudžejma’s determination and drive has inspired other hijabi runners in her country, and throughout Europe, and now more and more women are taking up the starting line. When she moved to London, Nudžejma became a member of the Muslim Runners and continues to go the extra mile for those in need.
A Race for Women’s Welfare
As a covered woman, she has experienced a lot of injustice in her journey to the finish line, so this year, Nudžejma has decided to run the London Marathon with Penny Appeal to raise money for our Women’s Welfare appeal. Worldwide, women face daily struggles for equality, with hurdles such as poverty, disaster, displacement, lack of education and gender-based violence. Penny Appeal’s Women’s Welfare programs have aided in breaking down the poverty cycle for thousands of women and girls around the world, and have played an important part in putting an end to discrimination, eliminating harmful practices and promoting women’s equality.
When talking about why she chose to run for Women’s Welfare, Nudžejma said, “I am from Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country where many women still depend on the goodwill of their fathers, husbands or brothers. I am one of those who was lucky enough to have the support of their parents to develop and gain their independence both financially and in every other sense. However, many of my acquaintances and friends were not so lucky, so after divorce and leaving their parents, they face huge problems, unprepared to support themselves and their children.
That is why I believe that women should be empowered, that they should be shown what they can do, that their self-confidence should be strengthened and they should be encouraged to learn, to work, to start companies and to be the ones to support others. I was always annoyed by the story that a woman is a wolf to a woman. I believe that no one can understand a woman better than another woman and in London I will run for all of them, with sincere wishes that the money I raise will help in all of the above.”
Run, Sweat, Change the World
Nudžejma is a passionate young woman who has used running as an outlet to push herself further than she ever thought possible. Her persistence and ability to persevere in the face of adversity is a true testament to female strength and bold spirit.
Nudžejma’s inspiration to keep hitting the pavement comes from a number of female figures in her life and the public eye, including her mother, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and other hijabi runners!
Nudžejma told us a bit about the women who’ve inspired her running and determination, saying, “The greatest inspiration is my mother, who survived the terrible war of 1992-1995 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was in a camp, as a young woman with three children she lost her husband and did not give up or stop encouraging us, her children to develop, learn and be independent of all other people.
The definition of a leader and a woman as it should be in relation to society and work for me is Jacinda Ardern. Having a measure of everything, respecting other people and their choices without condemnation is the path I want to take as well.
In sports, I am inspired by every woman who finds the time and strength to be disciplined in achieving a certain sports goal. I especially admire women with hijab who are into sports because they struggle with double stereotypes, in addition to being women, they are also covered women.”
A Croatian production company, Wolfgang & Dolly, have made a feature-length documentary about Nudžejma’s inspirational story, "Little Star Rising", which will soon be coming to cinemas worldwide. Hopefully, her story will touch your hearts as it has ours and inspire even more of our sisters to get into the exciting world of running!
Celebrate Success on International Women’s Day
Nudžejma runs with more than just her two legs, she runs with her whole heart. Running has become her strength and has brought much satisfaction to her life. She shared, “Running strengthened me, strengthened my self-confidence. After each completed cycle of preparations and running a marathon, I say to myself: If I could do this, I can do everything.”
International Women’s Day is celebration of our sisters and all the strong women of this world. On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the achievements of women and look to continue closing the gender gap, take action for equality and empower women and girls worldwide.
Today, we celebrate Nudžejma Softić and all the other amazing female runners out there who are making a difference in our world with every step they take towards the finish line!
If you’d like to support Nudžejma in her efforts to run the London Marathon, and help women all over the world through Women’s Welfare, please click the button below to donate to her JustGiving page, HAVE HER BACK.
MONDAY 8 MAR 2021