June 14, 2023

BETA Camp Alum Addresses World Leaders at Geneva Summit

Salman Sohani
Program Director
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At 16 years old, BETA Camp alumna Nila Ibrahimi had already experienced more hardship than most people do in a lifetime. She recently spoke at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, sharing her story of escaping the Taliban and fleeing her home. In her speech, she also advocated for the rights of girls in Afghanistan, who are forbidden from going to secondary school, and of women, who have had all of their freedoms stripped away.

In spite of her hardships, however, Nila has only leaned into her passions further. “I feel this responsibility in me that I have to speak up for everyone who doesn’t have a voice, who doesn’t have that right to speak up,” says Nila. 

Given Nila’s passion for changing the world, it makes sense that she also fell in love with entrepreneurship: “Having a business feels like being your own boss,” she says. Entrepreneurship is the key to leveling up your confidence and skill set, unlocking freedom to set your own rules, carve your own path, and guide and lead others.

Nila learned so much from starting her own business at BETA Camp and from taking on the challenge of advocating for the rights of others. 

Here are four things you (or your kids!) can learn from her story:

  1. Don’t discount your impact

At every opportunity, Nila has made sure she’s used her platform to fight for the causes she believes in. “There are so many people who have large audiences who are silent about this,” she says. “I want to stand up and talk about this so that people who have the power and the influence can take action.”

Whether your child has a large platform or not, everyone can make a difference on issues they care about within their own circle of influence. 

How does your child want to change the world? How can they raise awareness for that issue among their friends, classmates, or community? What solution can they build as an entrepreneur to make the world a better place?

When your child sees that they have the power to make even a small impact, they’ll feel empowered to continue creating the change they wish to see in the world.

  1. Push your comfort zone

One of the biggest challenges Nila believes that kids face in both entrepreneurship and advocacy? Not believing in themselves.

But, you won’t magically wake up one day and have incredible confidence. It comes from starting to get outside your comfort zone, challenge yourself and see yourself succeed.

During BETA Camp, Nila was meeting amazing people every week (in business, impact, technology, medicine, and beyond!) and feeling inspired — even though she’d come from a different background, she could see that there were opportunities waiting for her.

“BETA Camp opened doors for me. I’ve entered a world of so many smart people. It changed my perspective and let me be myself and stand up for what I believe in. It helped me boost my confidence and follow my passion.”
  1. Learn to face rejection.

The answer will always be “no” if you’re too afraid to ask.

One of the most valuable workshops Nila experienced at BETA Camp was the rejection training. “I’m self-conscious of what I say and ask for, but when I had that training, I realized I shouldn’t take things so seriously,” she says. “You just have to ask for the opportunities you want. Yes, no, it doesn’t matter.”

  1. Find a community that inspires you — or create your own!

Nila says that the most valuable aspect of her time at BETA Camp was connecting to a community of like-minded individuals. 

When asked what advice she’d have for kids who’d gone through similar hardships, Nila says, “Many times, you’re going to think that you’ve experienced too much hardship for your age. You’re going to feel hopeless because you’re gonna think that no one is gonna understand you and you’re not the same as people your age, but there is hope.”

“Many times, you’re going to think that you’ve experienced too much hardship for your age. You’re going to feel hopeless because you’re gonna think that no one is gonna understand you and you’re not the same as people your age, but there is hope.”

Nila was not only able to find her tribe at BETA Camp, but she was also able to create her own community for herself. Nila felt overwhelmed by culture shock upon her arrival in Canada — and one of the biggest changes was in how kids her age dressed. She had questions, but she didn’t want to be judged for them. So, she started a community called U-Drobe, a fashion community for Gen-Zers to share their outfits.

If you or your child can’t find the community they need, encourage them to create it! As Nila says, “You’ve just gotta present yourself to the world.” Otherwise, how will you ever find the people you’ll truly connect with?

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