Friday, April 10, 2020
ADVT 
Darpan Salutes

Manal Rostom, The Surviving Hijab Story

BY GARIMA GOSWAMI, 21 Nov, 2019
  • Manal Rostom, The Surviving Hijab Story

In 2014, Rostom created a women-only online community called Surviving Hijab, a strong group of hijab wearing women that share their struggles, insecurities and hardships, and support one another to hold on to their veil.

Manal Rostom, the 40-year-old Egyptian athlete is the first hijabi woman to be featured by Nike to promote their sports hijab line. In 2014, Rostom created a women-only online community called Surviving Hijab, a strong group of hijab wearing women that share their struggles, insecurities and hardships, and support one another to hold on to their veil. As the community expanded, Rostom propelled on her mission to build representation of hijabi women in non-conventional spaces such as sports gear.

In an interview with The Student Newspaper, Rostom mentions, “So, my email to Nike was after I founded Surviving Hijab, which was August 2014, and it gave me a voice and the confidence to reach out and tell bigger brands: “Hey look, we exist, there is not enough Muslim woman representation currently on the sports front, and the question is ‘Why’?”. There are so many beautiful women out there changing the sport of their relative countries, and I was lucky enough that my email hit the right person at the right time, and the rest is history.”

In a short period of time, Surviving Hijab grew into a strong 622,000-member community, urging Facebook to invite Rosom to give a talk at their headquarters in Dubai. Speaking about her group’s sudden shot to fame, Rostom mentions to Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, “It came from a very dark and desperate place. I was bullied by a society that was making me feel uncomfortable because of my personal choices to exercise faith by covering up.”

Later in 2018, Rostom won the Facebook Community Leadership Award and won $50,000 USD to enhance the activities of her group and lead her Facebook community efficiently through the required resources. “The first time I stood on stage I was so emotional I cried. I honestly don’t know how I did it, but I received a standing ovation from the 5,000 people in the audience. I was so honoured to be there amongst people who didn’t necessarily know anything about me or my religion, yet still really got behind me,” Rostom told Harper’s Bazaar Arabia.

A major milestone for this trailblazer was the climb to Everest Base Camp this year. She invited members from Surviving Hijab to join her in this expedition and the response was phenomenal. Women of different age-groups from all over the world joined Rostom in the two-week adventure. “People don’t get it, they don’t understand. I want to change the false perceptions that assume hijabi women are boring and uneducated, women who don’t play sport or travel. I am hoping by reaching base camp of the highest mountain in the world that my message will make a lot of noise and echo for years to come,” Rostom adds as she narrates her Everest Base Camp vision to Harper’s Bazaar Arabia.

Rostom is on a mission to become the first Egyptian woman to climb the Seven Summits and complete all six major marathons by 2020. She is regularly seen running local and international marathons with the recent ones being Dubai Marathon, the China Wall Marathon, and the New York City Marathon. She is already making great strides with her unwavering zeal. “I hope that every woman who gets inspired by me uses that energy to not let anyone stop her from achieving her dreams, goals, anything you’ve thought about that’s really crazy and people have thought that ‘she’s crazy’, whatever. Just go after it with all your heart and soul. There will be loads of roadblocks, but if I can do it, you can,” she tells The Student Newspaper.

Photos: Manal A Rostom/Facebook

MORE Darpan Salutes ARTICLES

Floating Schools of Bangladesh

Floating Schools of Bangladesh
“All roads went under water. It becomes very difficult for children to go to school and many of my relatives and friends could not attend school at that time.” Rezwan’s solar-powered floating school, launched in 2002, aims to resolve struggles of flood-prone communities by bringing education, healthcare clinics, agriculture, and training centres directly to their homes. 

The Million Donor Project

The Million Donor Project

Regardless of whether you are in India, or abroad, you can transform multiple lives by supporting Srivatsa and his multiple efforts by signing up for organ donation. To do more than just knowing, visit GiftofLifeAdventure.com/signup, download the app, and trigger a conversation within your family. 

Dishonouring the Silence in Honour Killing

Dishonouring the Silence in Honour Killing

Khalida Brohi was 16 when her cousin was killed in an honour killing case. In that phase of shock and trauma, Brohi decided to take her first step confronting honour killing, challenging the social infrastructure controlling lives and choices of women. 

Adarsh Alphons:“Art Saved My Life”

Adarsh Alphons:“Art Saved My Life”
The goal is to get people to get in touch with their creative side because we believe creativity is in the heart of innovation and innovation is important to every industry.

Ghulam Sughra Solangi: Child Bride to Woman of Courage

Ghulam Sughra Solangi: Child Bride to Woman of Courage

There is nothing unusual about what Ghulam Sughra Solangi experienced during the foundational years of her life- child marriage, early pregnancies and divorce are events that females and families hear or experience in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. 

Ajeet Singh: Fighting Trafficking Head-On

Ajeet Singh:  Fighting Trafficking Head-On

For nearly three decades, Guria has been waging a war against trafficking by rescuing minors and second generation prostitutes from trafficking, rehabilitating them and fighting cases against pimps and brokers so they do not integrate back into society as repeat offenders.