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A Shared Strength

A Shared Strength

Issue 73 October 2010

Best friends Ifrah and Asia discuss how good humour, a passion for debating, and a shared childhood history is the very foundation of their friendship.



Ifrah or Herbi, as I like to call her, and I first met 10 years ago at our local mosque. We also attended the same school, but while I was the stereotypical school delinquent, Ifrah was the ideal student, so it was a while before we formed our friendship.
Towards the last few years of school, we became a lot closer, with a shared fondness for long winded discussions in the school canteen. But this was only laying the foundations for something far more solid; when we started the same college, it was as if someone had literally stuck us together.
We have a very similar upbringing as we were both born in Somalia, and were brought to England by our parents to leave a war ridden country. Ifrah came to the UK when she was four and grew up with her mum and sisters after her dad was left behind in Somalia, but they were reunited some seven years later. I myself came to England with my mother and eight siblings, but my father unfortunately passed away before we left Somalia. Herbi and I may have had to endure a tough start in life, but we’re lucky and happy to be where we are now.
In July 2009, Herbi and I got involved in the Young Muslim Talent Search. I was initially only there to discuss the arrangements for the events, when suddenly somebody suggested that I should audition and take part as a comic. I dismissed the idea, but Herbi was there persuading me otherwise, encouraging me to take part. I went along with it and it had to have been a blessing in disguise, as I went on to winning the North West regionals, as well as the Nationals in London. Throughout my success, I have always been grateful to have had Herbi behind me every step of
the way.
Herbi’s strength is something I most admire about her, she is one of the strongest people I know, even when everything around her might be falling apart. Herbi has been my rock over the years, her support and love has cemented our friendship.



Asia and I first met in our local mosque, although we didn’t get to know each other properly until we crossed paths in high school. My first impression of Asia was that she was a loud, vivacious character, completely opposite to my somewhat reserved demeanour.
I think the main thing that connects us is the fact that we were both born in Somalia, but left due to the ravages of the civil war that was breaking out. Asia and I know of the struggles our parents faced, having to leave their home and family behind to give us a better chance at life, and are thankful for where we are now.
Asia and I share the same sense of humour- she always has me giggling at her witty comments.I consider Asia to be the most generous of people with her time; she gives it selflessly, even if it’s detrimental to her.
I think one of the greatest challenges and experiences Asia and I have shared is the 10-week voluntary trip that we made to Ghana with Platform 2, a global volunteering scheme. We would be up at 6am every day, and would work for hours on end building a market place for the village Nkaseim, which is where we were located. Asia and I were making breeze block sized bricks from scratch, digging up foundations with nothing but a pickaxe, a tool I could hardly lift at first. That said, this was probably one of the greatest things we’ve ever done, and knowing that we contributed to building a means for the women of Nkaseim to fulfil their ambitions and look for jobs that we sometimes take for granted in the UK, gives me great joy.
The love that we have for each other is the driving force behind our friendship, in that I don’t just consider her a friend, but a sister. We have had our fair share of turbulent times but the endearing moments and memories we have shared surpass any hardships that have come our way. 

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