“The first girl at the first ever Karayu school, the Dandi Gudina Primary in Dhebiti village of Fantalle District, Aliya Hawas was the only girl in a class of forty-four boys. The struggle was not easy at all, in a society where neither men nor women ever attended school, in a culture where the common belief is that school girls end up becoming prostitutes, taking such a bold step meant rising above all societal reproaches and shunning the constant condescending remarks. With unflinching resolve, she pursued her education and studied Law in college. After serving GTF as a coordinator for education and women empowerment projects she studied Gastronomic Sciences at Gastronomic University in Turin, Italy.
Currently, Aliya is serving as a Senior Communication Officer at the Office of the Oromia Regional State President, coordinating and leading all communication related activities. Prior to that Aliya worked in Oromia Tourism Commission where she traveled extensively and had the opportunity to exercise her unique talent in photography, capturing the stunning beauty of Oromia’s forests and wildlife. This, of course, is not an easy achievement for a rural girl from Fantalle who had to endure oppositions from every side; being the only girl among forty-four boys, while constantly being told that a girl’s place is out in the field tending goats and cattle, taking care of the home chores and of course preparing for the traditional arranged marriage.”